Biggest takeaways from the Eagles 20-17 loss against the Seahawks

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Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, center, scores on a touchdown run as a host of Seattle Seahawks players try to stop him during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

It’s crazy to think that the Philadelphia Eagles were 10-1 just three weeks ago and considered a sure-fire bet to reach the Super Bowl for the second straight year.

A lot has changed though in those three weeks.

The end to Philadelphia’s gauntlet schedule ended in an embarrassing 20-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday that dropped the Birds to 10-4 and extended their losing streak to three games. There’s plenty of blame for a performance like that in a game the team needed to have.

As always though, we only go through the biggest of takeaways here. Let’s get started.

Jalen Hurts has regressed but the overreactions are absurd

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts runs with the ball against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Context always matters and overreactions will not be accepted in this workstation’s halls. The objective fact of the matter is that Jalen Hurts has regressed this season, and has looked progressively worse in recent weeks.

The Pro Bowl quarterback completed just 54% of his passes against a banged-up Seattle secondary and threw two interceptions that were poor throws and reads. Reading defenses has been a challenge in recent weeks, and it’s why an offense with at least five All-Pro players has failed to score over 20 points in their last three contests.

Hurts hasn’t played well, but the level of overreactions regarding the team’s franchise quarterback has been ridiculous. For starters, a part of Hurts’ regression has stemmed from first-year play-caller Brian Johnson. Because the offense is set up to fail on many plays, Hurts has had to play “hero ball” in many different scenarios.

The quarterback does have a measure of blame to him of course, but Hurts took the onus of that following the game. While many people point to his “commitment” response in the post-game presser, the quarterback also said that the responsibility was on him to fix his play – not anyone else.

People will want to say the quarterback hasn’t been accountable but that just hasn’t been the case. In the end, until Hurts fixes his issues, the Birds aren’t going anywhere. Luckily for them, the team is still going to the playoffs and Hurts is a better leader than any other quarterback the franchise has had in recent years.

Comparing his average play this year to someone like Carson Wentz is a disservice to how much of a leader Jalen Hurts is.

The Rookie class looked great on Monday Night

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat (94) and safety Sydney Brown (21) react after a tackle against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Everyone is panicking about the 2023 Eagles but there’s one main positive to look through at this point in the year: the 2023 rookie class had their best game on Monday.

Jalen Carter recorded a sack, Kelee Ringo did not give up a catch in coverage in his first start, Eli Ricks excelled in spurts, and Sydney Brown showed that the team has a raw, but physical safety. Even Nolan Smith showed more promise as a run defender!

Tyler Steen did not play, but this was a very encouraging night for the rookie class. People will get on Howie Roseman for his work in free agency, but he’s racked up multiple strong draft classes that should keep this team in contention for a while.

Yes, there’s little solace in that, but I feel with a good defensive coordinator next year, this group can be even better.

Eagles need new structure on offense

Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 29: Philadelphia Eagles coach Brian Johnson looks on during the NFC Championship Game between the San Fransisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles on January 29, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

It’s not outlandish to think that the Eagles could restart at both offensive and defensive coordinator. While there are those that think the team will retain Brian Johnson, the organization is in desperate need of a fresh mind coming in and making life easier for Nick Sirianni and Johnson. Looking at the tape, the offense runs three set plays and doesn’t have a feel for when to run them.

That’s the major difference between last year’s unit and this one.

It’s also a big reason why the team has seen some regression from their franchise quarterback.

No one would be surprised if this happened, but the offense needs a new structure based on taking what the defense gives them instead of forcing the big-play that has come. That would, in turn, force a reinforcement to the fundamentals for Hurts as well.

The good news is that this is all correctable and could even be done by the Eagles current coaching staff. They just need to make those moves immediately or start next year on a hot streak. If not, the concerns and calls for a change will only grow.

Defensive woes continue – won’t be getting better despite play-calling change

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) makes a touchdown catch in front of Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry (24) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 20-17. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Matt Patricia’s unit looked better on Monday night, but it certainly wasn’t good considering the opponent they played. The defensive line struggled to get any pressure against a bad offensive line, and an All-Pro cornerback in James Bradberry looked completely outmatched.

One thing that has been apparent has been the lack of a marriage between the pass rush and secondary. The entire unit seems to be out of sync when it comes to how they handle opponents, it’s been a far cry from the first eight weeks of the year when they overwhelmed a good Dolphins, Rams, and Chiefs offense.

The bigger problem here is that this is the identity of the team now. They don’t have the coaches to be able to wipe the board clean and start from scratch. That should lead to many more frustrated gamedays, but it also could be fixed as long as the stars on the unit step up.

They simply haven’t now.

No, Nick Sirianni and Hurts are not on the hot seat

Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 14: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) exits the field after the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 14, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

It is laughable to think that a coach that is about to lead his team to a third straight playoff appearance in as many years as taking over the head coaching job is on the hot seat. Nick Sirianni may be struggling to keep everyone together, but he absolutely deserves a chance to right the ship. He’s turned around a team that was 4-11-1 into an organization that sees a 10-4 record as unacceptable.

Stop being reactionary and understand that these problems can be fixed and not fixing them in a three-game stretch is not worthy of a removal.

The same goes for the quarterback. Has Jalen Hurts played as well as he did in 2022? Of course not. Does that mean the team made a mistake giving him a lucrative contract? No!

The Eagles have plenty of draft picks, cap space, and have ways to get out of the older contracts they have dished out. They have strong leadership at every level, and have a boatload of talent that are all locked up for a few more years.

To think that major changes need to be made is an overreaction and un-becoming of a contender. The team will be fine with Sirianni and Hurts leading the charge. They deserve the benefit of the doubt to fix it until their playoff window closes.

The Eagles absolutely need a win though to end the bad vibes surrounding them.

AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson