The NFL offseason is upon us. The Philadelphia Eagles will be watching the Super Bowl like the rest of us, but it’s likely that Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman are already getting to work. The two have some huge decisions to make over the next few months, with 5 key questions that need answering.
Who takes the fall?
The pace of finger-pointing is only picking up as the days go by. How can a 10-1 team lose 5 of their last 6 and then get blown out in the playoffs without any signs of the bleeding coming to a stop? Someone has to be held accountable. After all, it’s what the Eagles have preached all year…
The problem is that it’s hard to know who takes the fall. Brian Johnson has been circled in red by many for months, but the counter to his firing is that this is Sirianni’s offense, and he did help Jalen Hurts become an elite QB as his coach last year. However, it was Sirianni’s offense last year too, and that one didn’t look like it was being dictated by a 5-year-old.
Them, there’s the defense. Sean Desai was sent to Howie Roseman’s old cupboard in favor of Matt Patricia, only for one of the leagues’ most chaotic coaches to do what he does best – make everything about ego. Patricia apparently changed the terminology of plays, which is exactly what a bottom-5 secondary needed, and it of course yielded negative returns.
If you do fire Nick Sirianni as he’s the head of the table, you are letting go a coach who has pushed the Eagles to three consecutive playoff appearances, an NFC East title, and a Super Bowl appearance. It would also beg the question, why didn’t ownership step in sooner?
Howie Roseman is even catching strays too, and that’s a conversation for another day. His ability to build a team is second-to-none, but when has a Roseman-built team ever fit the coach who was managing it? There is a clear conflict that continues to come up, and that should also be addressed.
Maybe this is for another article…
What happens at linebacker?
The Eagles have famously refused to invest at linebacker for a number of years now, and 2023 was no different. I don’t know if it’d a good thing or a bad thing, but the entire group of starters outside of Nakobe Dean are pending free agents, meaning a complete re-do is on the cards once again.
How many more years is this going to be an Achilles Heel while Roseman loads up on defensive line talent? How many more missed tackles, broken plays, and huge gains over the middle is it going to take for the team to invest substantially at the position?
Given how quickly Jalen Hurts’ contract is going to ramp up, this could be one of the last windows to do so before he’s forced to resort to the bargain bin.
Will Howie Roseman finally pay a running back?
on that note, the running back is in a very similar state. The only player currently not set to hit the open market is Kenny Gainwell, which is hardly going to instil confidence.
D’Andre Swift garnered All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors this year having razzled and dazzled his way over the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Will the Eagles keep him around, or will Swift bet on himself as Miles Sanders did, choosing a payday over a shot at winning a Super Bowl?
The concern here is that Swift’s injury history raises a few concerns as soon as huge pay-rise comes into the equation. Do the Eagles have enough confidence in him and his ability to stay healthy to warrant paying him $6M+ per season? Or is it going to be another year of misfit toys somehow being able to look like prime Marshawn Lynch behind such a great offensive front?
Is it time to abandon the Fangio way?
For some reason, the Eagles became obsessed with Vic Fangio last year. He was briefly brought into the team and was expected to replace Jonathan Gannon as defensive coordinator. But, because of all the shenanigans, he ended up taking a job in Miami. The Eagles were left with a Fangio disciple in Sean Desai, and it didn’t take long for the cracks to show.
Is it time for the Eagles to abandon this idolisation of Vic Fangio and understand that this defense just isn’t built to execute that kind of scheme? Or will Philadelphia double down and instead continue to accept ranking near the bottom of the league in pass-defense so long as they’re good at stopping the run?
How can the Eagles stop a total implosion?
This is perhaps the most important question of all. How close are the Eagles to a total implosion. They’ve walked this road before and we know where it ends. Anonymous sources, social media antics, and player frustrations are already coming to light…but what’s causing it?
It’s impossible to solve the problem without knowing what’s causing it. You’ve got leaders who don’t lead, captain’s too obsessed with their own image, cornerstones set to hit the open market, and an otherwise young team that doesn’t have a direction.
The cracks are visible. The Eagles need to work out what the root cause is, and fix it before it’s too late. If there are people who don’t want to play for the team, trade/cut them. If the coaches aren’t up to snuff, fire them. Whatever it is, the Eagles cannot afford to let history repeat itself…not when they have a golden quarterback in Jalen Hurts.
P Photo/Chris O’Meara