If you polled any fan, analyst, player, or coach before the season and you said that the Philadelphia Eagles would be 10-3 going into Monday Night’s clash with the Seattle Seahawks, almost everyone would be pleased with that.
Yet after two blowout losses that tell more about how fatigue during a tough stretch can hamper any roster, panic has flooded the streets and locker room of the Eagles.
Anonymous sources, calls for play-calling changes, whispers of a fraudulent team, and criticism over practices have been nonstop over the last few days. There’s only one main takeaway from all this ridiculous hoopla.
The city and some inside the organization need to grow up.
Philadelphia is not the only team or championship contender in NFL history to suffer a two-game losing streak where their play has been bad. They are not the only contending team this season to suffer blowout losses embarrassingly to other contenders.
The hysteria surrounding the 2023 Eagles is completely over the top and not what the city should be focusing on at this point in the season. To understand just how absurdly ridiculous the week has been, today, I break down all the main takeaways and why each one has been blown ridiculously out of proportion.
Does anyone remember how the Doug Pederson-Carson Wentz era collapsed in on itself due to anonymous sources calling out each other in the locker room? Well, this week we had what was maybe 1% of that and everyone seems to be losing their minds over it.
Following the Eagles getting embarrassingly blown out in Dallas 33-13, Derrick Gunn of JAKIB Sports heard from several anonymous sources in the locker room that they felt the offense was “very predictable.”
“Look at our pass routes compared to the Cowboys pass routes,” Gunn quoted the player on the postgame show. “Our pass routes take too long to develop. Dallas gets their s**t out real quick.”
Now this isn’t a knock on Gunn’s reporting. He is a reputable news source and there’s no indication to show he’s lying about any of that. But what exactly are we talking about here? Where is the context lining up?
The minute that clip went viral, everyone tried to play detective instead of understanding the context of the quote. People pointed fingers at A.J. Brown due to his past bravado or a disgruntled wide receiver who has not been targeted a lot this year. But a player voicing frustration after back-to-back blowout losses is not uncommon, nor should it be taken to heart immediately following a game.
The fact that Brown had to speak up on a Friday evening and say that he was not the leak in regards to the Gunn quote is absurd and a microcosm of the absolute fiery panic that has taken some in the media and the fanbase.
The team is 10-3 and has lost two in a row. The Eagles aren’t the only team to suffer a two-game losing streak in blowout fashion and then be frustrated after the game.
Going into the 2023 season the Eagles had two new play-callers on both offense and defense. There were always going to be growing pains and stretches where Sean Desai and Brian Johnson just didn’t look very good. It’s important in those moments to always remember that play-calling is a very difficult process and usually takes a few years to develop, hone a mindset and game plan.
For some reason, fans in the city have given both Johnson and Desai thirteen games to figure it out, are pissed at the recent results, and want both replaced. Let’s start with Desai first as we traverse why this kind of take is ludicrous and not becoming of a championship-caliber fanbase like Philadelphia.
First, Desai came in with a system that was different than his predecessor Jonathan Gannon. With early injuries in the secondary, it was always going to be hard to determine just how good the group actually would be. He had some good moments early in the year while holding top offenses like the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, and Los Angeles Rams to under 20 points.
His most recent stretch though has been alarming, to say the least. The Eagles’ defense is gassed, and Desai doesn’t look to be putting his players in a position to succeed. Never mind the fact that they have gone through six of the top-10 elite offenses in a row or the fact that the players could be simply worn out from this type of schedule – it’s Desai’s fault and he needs to be replaced.
In reality, it takes a couple of years for a defensive coach to get his system settled. Eagle fans should be patient here to see how the coach adjusts instead of taking things at face value immediately.
While I do think criticism towards Desai is warranted at times, what is being talked about in regards to Johnson is laughably stupid from some very prominent members in both the media, fanbase, and even PSN!
As of right now, the Eagles are eighth in total offense, eighth in rushing, 13th in passing, third in third-down percentage, and 10th in red-zone work.
Does that sound good or bad?
People have complained because of the lack of originality in the offensive system this year and have comfortably blamed it on Johnson or head coach Nick Sirianni. In reality, the reason for the lack of originality is that the team has something no other organization in football right now has:
Elite talent at every position.
It’s not wrong for Johnson and Sirianni to devise gameplans for the team’s top three targets and most of them are jump-ball, ‘go-get-em’ targets – they have the talent both inside and outside to be willing to make those plays.
The problem over the last few weeks is that the stars have been unable to make the plays. Simple as that. To think that the Eagles should replace their coordinators after one season is a sign of dysfunction and lack of understanding by the fans and media. These things take time and unless you give players and coaches chances to develop, there’s little hope anything productive is going to be done.
Get off X, and breathe people. This is nowhere near as bad as some of the other offenses or defenses in football.
In-Practice Critiques and Nick Sirianni
You would think that sporting a 33-14 record over three seasons would be enough to buy you some leeway and respect around your city.
Instead, for some ridiculous reason, Sirianni’s practice, locker room, and overall presence have been criticized in the media because the Eagles *checks notes* are 5-2 this season against teams over .500.
“Nick Sirianni in the last few years has created this thing where people think he is a great football coach. I don’t believe he is. I really never believed it,” Joe Giglio on WIP said this week.
Never mind the fact that just a year before this point Giglio was commending the job the Eagles head coach had done to get the team prepared as they earned the top seed in the NFC, and then reached the Super Bowl. Revisionist history always wins the day apparently in Philadelphia.
The latest big of hysteria that hasn’t made any sense is Sirianni’s methods in practice. Over the past week, the Eagles have refocused on protecting the football and limiting mistakes. Over his first three years, Sirianni’s staff has shown an excellent ability to focus on certain things during practice, and have those concerns solved on gameday.
But because a clip was shown of players like Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, and DeVonta Smith simulating a situation where they protect the football while going to the ground (all three had fumbles on said plays last Sunday), it’s suddenly an indication of a ridiculous drill and showing why Sirianni is over his head.
We shouldn’t be pleased that the Eagles are working on things they aren’t very good at this year I guess?
Now close your eyes.
Outside of the obvious Darius Slay comments (that are being taken out of context mind you), how many cornerbacks can you think of that would do the same thing? If your mind turned to all of them you would be correct!
This notion that Slay made comments saying that he was not at fault for the Eagles’ defense getting shredded in the last couple of weeks is bizarre for several reasons. First off, if people took the time to listen to his show, they would essentially hear a captain of the team saying that while he played great, the team did not and that’s all that matters. In this day and age of instant reactions, not listening to full quotes is quite consistent with some in the fanbase.
Second, the original comment from Slay came because fans were holding up trash can signs of Slay, James Bradberry, and Desai. As any outspoken cornerback (and that would be all of them) would do, the All-Pro took offense and defended himself.
The fact that this is becoming more than it is because people aren’t taking the time to listen to Slay’s podcast shows that fans and the Philadelphia media aren’t interested in wanting their team to succeed – they just want something to be upset about.
Franchise QB problems
Now I am nothing but objective here.
As much as I think fans and media inside Philadelphia are off their rocker after this week, the one constant I’ve seen is a general backing from Jalen Hurts as the franchise’s quarterback.
That’s good! Every top QB has gone through struggles and the fanbases that defend and support them are usually rewarded well.
That being said, there are still some ridiculous complaints that I think need to be mentioned, and then promptly thrown out as ridiculous overreactions. First off, the idea that Hurts would not be okay with participating in the fumble drill previously talked about doesn’t make sense as it goes against what everyone has heard and said of the young QB. Hurts wants to get better – he has a problem with fumbles – and is now doing everything he can to fix it.
Second, there’s seemingly some concern that Hurts is too laid back and quiet when things aren’t going well on the field. His regular quotes to the media may be boring, and that has frustrated some people who want the QB yelling after every question asked.
Not only is this a stupid complaint from people, but it goes against what franchise QBs are. Fanbases should want their franchise QB to be humble, consistent, and quiet to the media. They should want a guy that reacts the same way to things both good and bad. That way, they understand that the moment would never be too big for them and they can succeed in any environment.
Hurts is that kind of player. To think he isn’t because he doesn’t react to things is stupid, bizarre, and unbecoming of a football city.
Eagle fans have been clamoring for a franchise QB like this. Don’t get upset after two games and he is the same way as always – that’s what should happen.
Grow up Philadelphia! You are in good hands and there’s no reason for this kind of panic. If you, like me, are exhausted from how immature some in the media and fanbase have been over the last five days, just rest assured.
The team is full of professionals and there’s no reason to panic after their first black eye of the year.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum