HC Nick Sirianni Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles

The Best and Worst Thing

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Do you know what the best thing to ever happen to the Philadelphia Eagles was? 

Seriously, this is not a trick question. 

The best thing to ever happen to the Philadelphia Eagles was winning the Super Bowl four years ago. We all know this to be true. 

But do you know what the worst thing was? 

Winning the Super Bowl four years ago.

Doesn’t seem to make sense does it? 

The best part is obvious but why would I say it was the worst? 

Because I believe that after the Eagles won the Super Bowl, Howie Roseman became untouchable and Jeffrey Lurie began to really meddle. Their egos took over because they had delivered the greatest moment in Philadelphia sports history.

This is from the RT on April 21, 2021 “Up to Date:”

One has to suspect that the above scenario was created because the Eagles won the Super Bowl a few years ago. What I mean by that is that with greater success comes greater ego. 

Maybe Doug Pederson was thinking, “hey, I won a Super Bowl in my second year with a back-up quarterback. I rallied the team when all hope was lost. I took down the Belicek Machine. Who the hell are you to tell me who I should start, who I should hire and who I should fire? I’m Doug Pederson and I built this house!”

Perhaps Howie Roseman is saying, “hey, I’m the guy who saved this franchise after Chip Kelly almost destroyed it and brought us a Super Bowl in my second year back at the top. I masterminded the trade-up for Carson Wentz and I was prescient enough to bring back Nick Foles. I drafted Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox and all of those guys! I brought in LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long! Who the hell are you to question me about my personnel decisions? I’m Howie Roseman and I built this house!”

Perchance Jeffrey Lurie is pushing his chest out and exclaiming, “Hey, I’m the guy who resurrected this moribund franchise from that cheapskate Norman Braman and turned it into one of the most successful NFL Franchises over the last quarter of a century. I shelled out the big bucks for free agents when we needed them. I took a chance on Doug Pederson when no one else even considered him and I brought this city it’s first Super Bowl Championship. I’m Jeffrey Lurie and I built this house!”

Would any of these men be any less insistent on their views if each if them was not wearing a Super Bowl ring? 

Ego is a powerful motivator. It can blind you from the facts. 

Here’s a fact that punches you right in the face, Howie:

The only Pro Bowler that the Eagles have drafted since the 2014 draft is Carson Wentz. Yes that Carson Wentz whose stock is rising in Indianapolis. 

Or this stat that I pulled from a Reuben Frank article from November of 2020:

During the 18 years from 1986 through 2002, the Eagles drafted 14 defensive Pro Bowlers. During the next 18 years, they drafted two (Trent Cole in 2005 and Cox in 2012).

It’s just not sustainable. And when the guy at the top protects his little protege from the press and tells his former coach who he can and can’t hire then that’s meddling. That’s ego.

I used to say to my friends who are Cowboys fans that as long as Jerry Jones was the GM of the Cowboys they would never get beyond the first round of the playoffs. Well, the tables have turned when you have an owner who insists that his team be a dynamic passing offense. Has Jeffrey Lurie influenced Nick Sirianni’s play calling? Is that ridiculous scenario even possible?

And isn’t that why many speculated that Nick Sirianni was hired in the first place? Because, like Pederson when he was initially hired, he is happy to just have a job as a head coach and does not want to be involved in personnel decisions. 

Now, at least it appears that Jeffrey and Howie allowed Sirianni to hire his own staff. The youngest staff in the NFL as we mentioned last week. 

Which brings us to defensive coordinator Johnathan Gannon. Again!

The Eagles defense looked great against Atalanta and in the first half of the San Francisco game. That was game one and two. First Jimmy Garoppolo adjusted and picked the Eagles apart. Since then, every quarterback that the Eagles have faced have put up career numbers. Well, except for Sam Darnold because Gannon actually went to more man-to-man coverage and confused the young quarterback into throwing three interceptions. Since then he’s been back to business as usual. 

Here is another great tidbit from Roob right after the Raiders game:

Here’s an absolutely insane stat: The Eagles have allowed four of the last five quarterbacks they’ve faced to complete at least 80 percent of their passes. Dak Prescott completed 81 percent, Pat Mahomes 80 percent, Tom Brady 81 percent and Carr 91 percent. Only one other team in NFL history has allowed four QBs to complete 80 percent of their passes in AN ENTIRE SEASON. That was the 2015 Buccaneers, who allowed five. The last five QBs the Eagles have faced threw 169 passes. Only 38 of them were incomplete. How is that even possible? From 1933 through 2020, only eight QBs completed 80 percent of their passes against the Eagles. In the last 27 days five have.

How can this guy still defend running the same defense on virtually every play? How can he still not blitz? How can he not make adjustments during the game? 

It is maddening to watch this. 

But it’s worse than that. There are so many things that go on during a game that the laymen just doesn’t know or understand. Technical stuff that football players have to be good at and that coaches have to coach. Seth Joyner, who is easily one of the best Eagles linebackers in their history, broke it down regarding the technical stuff. He specifically mentions Genard Avery and Derek Barnett. You can click on at about 12:30 in to hear his analysis. 

So not only is Gannon failing to adjust his game plan, he and his defensive staff are also failing to teach his players the basics. 

Can you even fix this at this point? 

And, unfortunately, every aspect of the team affects every aspect of the team. Meaning, if the defense plays like crap then the offense has to adjust it’s game plan to score more points. Which means more passing and less running. Which means Jalen Hurts is scrambling for his life behind his broken down offensive line. 

Quick stat that they flashed during the game:

The Eagles have had 18 different offensive line combinations since 2020. The most in the NFL.

Make no mistake, this season is a referendum on on whether Jalen Hurts can be a franchise quarterback. When he has to play from behind and Sirianni abandons the run we really don’t get a good look at what his skills are. Well, at least what his skills are when he’s not under duress which has doomed young quarterbacks for years. Then the losing piles up, everyone becomes impatient and a promising career is down the drain. 

Just look at how many quarterbacks the Jets have drafted in the first or second round over the last 20 years. 

I want to see Jalen Hurts play well enough to be the Eagles starter. With potentially three draft picks in the top ten the Eagles have a unique opportunity to set themselves up for a long time. They could easily trade down from one of those spots and accumulate more picks while still being able to draft a top tier defensive player. But this only happens if Hurts can be a franchise quarterback. 

Benching him after the Detroit game would be an epic mistake. He shows flashes and has the intangibles that you want in your quarterback. Let him play out the string and see how he looks after a full season. Sirianni has to do a better job coaching and play calling to give Hurts the best chance to succeed. They are clearly in rebuilding mode so there is nothing to lose. 

Howie is always trying to make headlines. And he has had a man crush on DeShaun Watson for some time now. My fear is that he will trade their first round draft picks for a guy who is a very good quarterback but is also probably a serial sex offender. I also don’t want them to trade those first round picks for a guy like Russell Wilson. Yes, he is a great quarterback but they have so many needs and they can restock and reload with all of the draft assets that they have accumulated. This team is definitely not one player away. 

Roseman is not the guy who should be making personnel decisions. His track record speaks for itself as we discussed earlier. But he is good at managing the actual draft picks themselves. Or, at least he was. And since he’s not going anywhere Lurie should bring in some top personnel guys to actually scout and draft players. Well, that’s if any of the best personnel guys can deal with the toxic environment that is unfortunately the Philadelphia Eagles.

But we have been saying this for years. 

Man. It’s like beating a dead horse. It is so frustrating.  

The Eagles are a 3.5 point favorite against the Lions in Detroit. This is another team with a rookie head coach who is struggling. The difference is that the Lions are getting close to pulling off some big victories against some good teams. They almost came back and beat the 49ers, hung tough with the Rams and lost on last second field goals to both Minnesota and Baltimore. In the case of the Baltimore loss it was the longest field goal in NFL history. 

Jared Goff is having a mediocre season but he always torches the Eagles for some unexplainable reason. Please, Please, PLEASE, mix up the coverages Jonathan Gannon! This guy is ripe to fall for any type of change-up. 

One more intangible in this game in my opinion is that Duce Staley is the Assistant Head Coach of the Detroit Lions. He held the position for the Eagles and was also the running backs coach. For the record, I was hoping that he would be the coach after Pederson was fired. I think that he has a lot of insight into some of the Eagles players and that gives Detroit a slight advantage. Obviously it’s a different coaching staff but Duce was with the organization for 11 years and some of that he takes with him. 

Miles Sanders is hurt and that makes me believe that Sirianni would be even less apt to run the ball than he already was. This is an opportunity for the Eagles to right their ship. Of course, I thought that would happen against the Raiders. 

I went all in on the Birds last week and placed a fat wager on them as well as taking them in Ivan’s Semi-Suicide-League. Part of my philosophy was in the broken thought process that since I had already experienced three tough losses during the weekend (The Sixers, Penn State and my son’s soccer team) I was bound to get one win out of the process. Intellectually I know this reasoning is flawed but I’ve always gone with emotion and enthusiasm when it comes to things like this. You can guess how it usually turns out, 

I won’t be fooled this Sunday as I think Detroit gets their first win of the season and the wheels of the wagon fall off on Philadelphia. I am not touching this game with a ten foot pole. 

Finally, the press was lighting Nick Sirianni up regarding a speech he gave his team where he compared their growth as a unit to a flower. Basically he was saying that the roots under ground cannot be seen but they are growing. All we can see is the flower. So, I guess what he’s trying to say is that the Eagles are getting better even if all we can see is a wilted, spoiled and aphid infested flower. 

Now, I don’t care what the coach says as long as his players don’t tune him out. If they buy in then that’s all that matters. But if they don’t then this story will be one of the footnotes in the shortest Eagles coaching tenure since Fred Bruney. 

In a Round Table exclusive, we have the footage of that flower speech right here:

That’s right, Jefe. You cannot force open the petals of a flower.

Happy Halloween!

And…

Go Birds!

Eric Written by: