It’s been a rollercoaster season for the Philadelphia Eagles, but we haven’t reached the end of the ride yet. The Eagles still have four more games and four more challenges to overcome. While a playoff charge may seem just out of reach, these games have become far more meaningful after last week’s events.
After an embarrassing loss to the Bengals, Doug Pederson questioned the effort of his players..a move that sparked a fair amount of backlash from the locker room. Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod were among those who defended their efforts during the loss, with Jenkins claiming that it “puts the players in a bad spot”..and it absolutely does. But that doesn’t shy away from the fact that the team looked like a shell of its former self when enduring their third consecutive loss.
It all started after the MNF loss to Green Bay. Pederson’s “one game at a time” mentality and firm belief in the team had been replaced by a longer term vision when talking about the Eagles to the media.
“Look at the effort,” said Pederson. “I think you might look at wins and losses. I got to look at the potential of the football team and the guys that we have. Are we there yet? No. Are we heading in the right direction? Yes.”
This didn’t go down well at all..and it showed against the Bengals. The Eagles looked to lack fight, inspiration and overall effort in certain places..and Doug Pederson only reaffirmed that in the days following the loss.
At the end of the day however, Doug Pederson is a rookie Head Coach with a rookie quarterback. The ceiling was only ever going to be so high, but the way he has handled adversity in recent weeks has been less than inspiring. Heads will most likely roll in Philadelphia this offseason, but none will belong to Pederson.
The former Chiefs Offensive Coordinator signed a five-year contract with the team for a reason. The front office believe that Pederson is the Head Coach who can successfully build the Eagles up to become a championship contender. It’s why all of the cornerstone contract extensions last for the duration of Pederson’s planned tenure.
The Eagles have an estimated $10.5M in cap space going into this offseason and ten players currently in their contract years, it’s not exactly the best time for the locker room to divide. Bennie Logan, Kenjon Barner, Trey Burton and Nolan Carroll are just some of the names hoping to play their way to an extension this year.
The likeliness is that it’s going to be another chaotic offseason for the Eagles as they try to manage their limited cap space and set the roster up for future success. If there are players who are now beginning to show signs of poor effort or causing a disconnect in the locker room, then it’s very likely that they’ll be looking for a new team to play for next year.
Doug Pederson has been far from perfect this season, but his future is far more secure than many of his players. If players are now beginning to look disinterested and embody a character that hurts the culture and productivity of the locker room, it would be absurd to think Howie Roseman won’t take action..just ask Josh Huff.
Accountability has been such a big focus for the Eagles this season, it was preached by Jeffery Lurie the moment that Pederson was announced as Head Coach and has been repeated from the top down ever since. The Eagles are now in a position where players are beginning to hurt the locker room..and that same rule simply has to apply, for more reasons than ever.
The Eagles have very much created an “all in” philosophy. If everybody is on the same page, good things happen. As we’ve seen at this point last year however, when things begin to wobble and visions questioned, the results can be catastrophic. It’s now up to the coaching staff to rally the troops for one final push to the end of the season..but if the lack of effort and discipline continues, it could come back to haunt those who “gave up”.
Playoffs may be out of reach for the birds, but each individual player can control their own destiny..and depending how they respond to adversity in this week’s divisional showdown with Washington, that destiny could result in being a part of Pederson’s long term vision..or Roseman’s wrath.