A couple of months ago, the world was at Nick Sirianni’s feet. The Chiefs, Bills, and Dolphins, had all fallen to Philadelphia. The Eagles had beaten the very best the AFC had to offer, tearing through the gauntlet and making it look easy. Then the next month happened…
Eagles fall at the final hurdle(s)
The Eagles now limp into the playoffs with a 1-5 record in their last 6 games. Most importantly they do so on the back of two frankly embarrassing defeats against lowly franchises. The finger-pointing only really picked up speed as the season spiraled further into chaos, but the man at the head of the table is Nick Sirianni.
Should he be on the hot seat? It’s a tough question to answer. On one hand, he’s made the playoffs in three consecutive years, won an NFC Championship, an NFC East title, and of course came up marginally short of a Super Bowl victory. On the other, that was kind of expected.
The problem with evaluating Nick Sirianni
Nick Sirianni inherited a roster that, while fresh off a breakup, had a very solid foundation. Howie Roseman foresaw a weaker schedule in 2022 and went all-in on acquiring impact free agents on one-year deals to ensure the team was good enough to make the postseason. Sprinkle in an MVP-level leap from Jalen Hurts, and the Eagles made it look easy, demonstrating just how good they really are.
The difficulty with such a brilliant run is that expectations arise along with it. Only compounding the newly-entrenched standard was arguably one of the best draft classes in recent memory. This is an elite team from top to bottom and one that, at the very least, should be making the NFC Championship game.
So, yeah, it’s great that Nick Sirianni made the playoffs this year…but wasn’t that the very minimum he should have been able to accomplish? A failure to make the playoffs with that team would result in absolute anarchy. The Head Coach shouldn’t be applauded for achieving the bare minimum with a team destined for greatness.
Would opinions change if Nick Sirianni could suddenly turn the ship around and embark on a Super Bowl adventure? Sure. But all he’s really been able to do in that scenario is dig himself out of a hole he dug himself into and blissfully ignored for weeks while the NFC East crown slipped away.
Because he refused to change things schematically or make an assertive transition as a play-caller, the Eagles ridiculously fumbled the NFC East. As a result, they now have to beat the Bucs before a likely path awaits. Anything can happen in the playoffs, but the plausible scenario is that the Eagles will be travelling on the road into Dallas, and then again into San Francisco should they survive the Cowboys.
The same gauntlet that broke this team in the first place is now placed in front of them again, only this time, with the stakes higher than ever. A huge chunk of that, (wild card round and home advantage) could have been avoided had they just been able to get out of their own way. That falls on the Head Coach.
There is no way that the Eagles’ front office can be looking at this season and feeling jubilated at the prospect of this playoff run. It’s like turning up for work and being happy you simply clocked in. It’s not enough. You turned up, congratulations.
When Nick Sirianni was first hired, making the playoffs was absolutely something to be proud of. This team has evolved a lot since then, as have our expectations. Going 1-5 after such a hot start without any signs of being able to stop the bleeding is absolutely worthy of being placed on the hot seat, because this team is too damn good to die of self-inflicted wounds.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum