It’s been a messy fortnight for the Philadelphia Eagles. A pair of devastating losses have been accompanied by a flurry of problems off the field. Whether it’s veteran linebackers being cut after pre-game shots, or anonymous sources openly pushing the blame on Carson Wentz, the last two weeks have been absolutely abysmal.
It’s easy to understand where the frustration would come from. The Eagles went into week one with the expectation of steamrolling everyone who dared to stand before them. An early17-0 Redskins lead in week one quickly bought them back down to earth and it’s been a rollercoaster ever since…but now it’s just getting silly.
For anyone keeping track, here’s everything ‘out of character’ that’s happened in the last two weeks:
Sunday: Embarrassing loss to Vikings
Sunday: Malcolm Jenkins takes shots at Sidney Jones after Vikings loss
Monday: Zach Brown cut after poor play and comments on Cousins.
Tuesday: Pederson guarantees a win in Dallas…
Wednesday: Eagles lose Ramsey sweepstakes
Thursday: Annonymous source criticizes Carson Wentz
Sunday: Embarrassing loss to Cowboys ft. Agholor ‘effort’ question mark.
Sunday: Lane Johnson lets slip that players are late to meetings/practice and there’s a lack of accountability.
Monday: Malcolm Jenkins & Doug Pederson to Lane Johnson
Also Monday: Alshon outed as the ‘anonymous source’ by Howard Eskin
Oh, and it was reported that Fletcher Cox actually missed a practice last week because he had to defend his home with a shotgun the night before. Why? More, yes more, romance-related problems. An aggravated man came looking for his ex at Fletcher’s house armed with a Baseball bat. Now, this isn’t new behavior for Cox, but it couldn’t come at a worse time.
It’s not just complacency spilling out now, Cox, Jenkins, and Johnson, have all been cornerstones on this team for years and are widely regarded as leaders for younger players and some of the best at their respected positions. These are the players Pederson will turn to if he is to install a plan to right this ship…and that’s scary.
This is all getting ridiculous now. The Eagles have become one of the league’s more buttoned-up franchises and in the space of two weeks, that reputation has been ripped to pieces. But if there’s anyone that can save it, it’s their current Head Coach.
Pederson isn’t known for aggressive speeches, but instead for his empathy and understanding as a former player. It’s going to take all of that and everything experienced in the last three years to galvanize this locker room.
It’s easy to forget that when Pederson first arrived, Nigel Bradham was arrested for an altercation at a hotel over an Umbrella, there was a strip-club incident involving Nelson Agholor, and numerous holdouts over contracts. Over the next three years, he’d endure more cluster-injuries than you could possibly imagine, a recently-signed CB getting DUI’d within days of signing with the team, oh, and a Super Bowl win.
The problem with this Eagles team is that it seems to need its teeth kicked in before any signs of life are shown. ‘Targets on their back’ didn’t work. A blowout loss to New Orleans and frustrating losses to Tennessee and Carolina didn’t echo the performance of a Super Bowl champion. But when their backs were against the wall after a heartbreaking loss to Dallas, Pederson ignited a playoff run that many deemed impossible…and they were one tipped pass away from going even further.
Now, just one game away from the Cowboys, the second half of this season simply has to be a revenge tour. The defense is a hot mess, the receivers are struggling beyond redemption and all hopes now lie with a 32-year old veteran, the offensive line has been shoddy, and Carson Wentz, while not at fault the majority of struggles this season, is coming off his worst game since that dagger-in-the-heart loss to the Saints.
If the Eagles need to be pushed into the dirt in order to get back up and hit harder, then Pederson better have a thunderous right-hook up his sleeve. Galvanizing a locker room that’s seemingly fracturing in several places at once could be his toughest task as a Head Coach yet…but after all, isn’t that why Jeffery Lurie chose him to begin with, ‘Emotional Intelligence’?
Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports