It might feel the sky is falling, and the clouds are definitely hanging low over NovaCare Way in South Philadelphia, but the 2023 season isn’t lost. The Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) are in the playoffs. That fact alone gives them a fighter’s chance to bring home the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy.
Following Sunday’s embarrassing 35-31 loss to Arizona (4-12), it might not feel that way in the streets and avenues around the stadium. Inside the locker room, there is a different feeling permeating the walls. The Eagles remain confident as guys look to move on from a forgettable stretch of football including an abysmal 1-4 record since December 3 and a defeat at the hands of the “worst team in the NFL.”
“There’s confidence there. I don’t think the confidence goes away,” safety Sydney Brown told Philly Sports Network. “I think it’s all about regrouping. We gotta get better. I know what we can do on defense. I know the guys we have on this defense. There’s no flight in any of us so one bad game can’t be a single story of what our defense has done. Fuck, we just lost to the worst team in the NFL … it’s not ideal but there are lessons to be learned.”
For the record, Carolina (2-14) is officially the worst team in the NFL but Brown’s point rings a broader bell. The Eagles are troughing, not peaking, as the postseason landscape crashes down around them. It’s not what anyone saw coming yet it’s on the players to take that rough patch and wear it on their chests as a green badge of courage. Chips on shoulders only take you so far.
“There’s going to be outside media that is going to try and tear us up, kind of pull us apart,” Brown said. “But we just need to respond and there should be nothing but confidence. It is what it is. We lost and we move on.”
James Bradberry has been here before with the Eagles
James Bradberry was calm and contemplative standing at his locker stall on New Year’s Eve. The Pro Bowl cornerback was part of an overmatched defense that blew a 21-6 halftime lead, one that got gashed on the ground and forgot how to cover. Tackling appeared to be optional at times. It was the complete opposite of the dominating juggernaut that Bradberry paced in 2023.
“We made mistakes at times throughout the year but at the end we found a way to rally and make a play,” Bradberry said, referring to last year’s team. “We just haven’t been able to do that right now and I think that’s what it is. We just gotta make a play when we need to. We haven’t been doing that.”
Bradberry, an accomplished veteran playing in his eighth NFL season, has been on teams that have failed to live up to expectations before. His most notable comparison was his rookie year in Carolina when the Panthers were coming off a Super Bowl appearance. They went 6-10 and missed the playoffs in 2016. The difference? The 2023 Eagles have a chance to make all the nay-sayers forget about everything with a lengthy postseason run.
“We were coming off a Super Bowl run. There was a lot of hopes and expectations, and we didn’t live up to those expectations,” Bradberry said. “Unlike that year we didn’t go to the playoffs at all.”
Nick Sirianni ‘Not Concerned’ About Losing Streak
Nick Sirianni has been feeling the heat during the most disappointing four weeks of his tenure as head coach. There have been calls for his head. There have been rumors he has lost the locker room. There has even been talk that he’s being micro-managed by the front office. With all that bubbling like Gruyere on French Onion soup, Sirianni wouldn’t admit to being worried or concerned.
“So, concerned? No, I don’t think we think that way,” Sirianni said. “All I think we think is how do we get these things fixed. How do we get these things fixed. How do we put the players in positions to succeed. How do we execute as a team. And so that’s what’s going to be on our minds is how do we get these things fixed.
“Worry and concern doesn’t get any problems fixed. It doesn’t fix anything. Getting in there, grinding, figuring out what the answers are, that’s what gets things fixed. Worry and concern does not.”
AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson