Playoffs vs no payoff: Where do the Eagles go from here?

It’s hard to really summarize what happened yesterday afternoon. The Eagles entered a weekend where winning on the road was a must and the situation was perfect. The 2-9 Miami Dolphins averaged 14.8 points per game, and both their offense and defense ranked near enough rock bottom of the NFL. If there was ever a time for the Eagles to bully a lesser team into submission as a way of finding their identity before a playoff run, this was it.

Instead, they allowed a second-half comeback that only sends back memories of the losses to Tampa Bay (Hey Fitzy) and Tennessee. It was embarrassing on all fronts and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out just how damaging this could be for the team moving forward. But where do they go from here?

Playoffs?

Oh, how I wish I was joking. The Eagles can still technically make the playoffs. But in that same breath, they can still technically be caught by the Washington Redskins, who somehow also now have a very wild shot at going even further. Fun.

The Eagles remaining schedule couldn’t be any easier. It couldn’t physically get much better than this:

Week 14 – vs. New York Giants (2-10)
Week 15 – @ Washington (3-9)
Week 16 – vs. Dallas Cowboys (6-6)
Week 17 – @ New York Giants (2-10)

As for the Cowboys…

Week 14 – at Chicago Bears (6-6)
Week 15 – vs. Los Angeles Rams (6-5)
Week 16 – at Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
Week 17 – vs. Washington (3-9)

So whether it’s deserved or not, there’s every chance that the Eagles find themselves in the mix. It would be great for Carson Wentz to finally get some playoff experience under his belt, but the idea of this team doing anything of note when they arrive to the big dance is not a fun one to contemplate. At this stage however, jobs are on the line and the Eagles have no choice but to regroup and go again.

Jobs on the line

The offense may have finally clicked into gear against…one of the worst defenses in the NFL, but one trend remains. The Eagles continue to get away from running the ball when there’s no reason to.

I know they’re without Jordan Howard, but Miles Sanders averaged 4.9 YPC against this run defense and Jay Ajayi was the perfect secret weapon to unleash. The Eagles had a sizable lead going into halftime. They ended the game with 46 pass attempts and 19 rushing attempts.

It happened last week, it’s happened this week, and it’s not good enough. There is no justifiable reason to get away from running the ball, especially against the Dolphins and as if there wasn’t enough pressure on Mike Groh already, things really aren’t looking good right now.

Jim Schwartz will have a slightly larger lifeline, although this shocking loss will definitely cut into it. But when your corners are left on an Island and just don’t make plays, the DC can’t go out and punch the ball away for them…that’s more on execution.

The Seattle

After a potential second Super Bowl win slipped through the clutches of the Seahawks, they were met with unrest. Veteran players grew angry, many pointed the finger at Russell Wilson, and the Legion of Boom collapsed. Seattle simply had to remold, getting rid of anyone that didn’t buy in to what Carroll was selling, and rebuild their offense around their star quarterback.

A few years later, I think we can all say that was the right decision.

The Eagles have an attachment issue to older players who have spent time with the team. Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, DeSean Jackson, all fall under the same category. That line can no longer be blurred, and the team has to be built around the quarterback, not out of ‘thanks for your service’ deals that only hurt the team down the line.

Getting rid of anyone that’s not all-in on Wentz, the anonymous source, the players who lack effort. Cutting free agents on minimal deals just doesn’t set the tone. The Eagles have to gut this roster if they are to keep this five-year Super Bowl window alive…and that should start asap.

An intervention

I want to take you back to 2015. The Chip Kelly era was falling apart and Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie took it upon himself to deliver a speech to the team. Thus, the ’53-angry men’ sentiment was born.

The execution is sloppy on both sides of the ball right now. 10 penalties were committed yesterday, alongside drops, poor tackling, and everything else you could possibly imagine. The Eagles arguably grew complacent against a team out to spoil their party.

I don’t think Doug Pederson’s job is on the line, but a more senior and authoritative voice could be exactly what’s needed…especially if playoffs are still the goal.

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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