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January 08, 2024

What they're saying: The Eagles are a disaster

The Eagles got humiliated by the dead in the water Giants. Their defense can't cover, their offense is woefully predicatable, and there's no time left to fix it.

Eagles NFL
Nick-Sirianni-Eagles-Giants-Week-18-2023-NFL.jpg Kevin R. Wexler/USA TODAY NETWORK

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni is failing to stop his team from spiraling.

It's the day after, and belief in the Eagles has been decimated. 

After a humiliating collapse against a rebuilding, bottom-of-the-league Cardinals team, the Eagles spent the whole week insisting that they were close to snapping out of their late-season spiral, that they were in support of one another, that they were going to use the Week 18 finale against the Giants to get back on track and really get going heading into the playoffs. They were going to be OK. 

Then they came into MetLife Stadium and got pummeled 27-10 by an underachieving and banged-up Giants squad that already had their vacation plans booked. 

It was embarrassing, the Eagles are absolutely not OK, and with a rematch against the Buccaneers on deck in the Wild Card round Monday night, the common sentiment emerging among fans seems to be "just get it over with." 

They can still go on a run, sure, but go back to Sunday's tape and say that with a straight face. 

Everything's on fire. Here's what they're saying about the Eagles...

To the film

Haason Reddick is a phenomenal pass rusher, right?

So, naturally, the correct move is to have him in pass coverage (this is also sarcasm).

Dan Orlovsky breaking down the first defensive snap of the game:

It only gets worse. 

Brian Baldinger on the many, many breakdowns in pass coverage:

And the total mess of an offensive setup:

Repetitive with the week just starting? Maybe, but far from overstated. Sunday was bad, incredibly bad. And there's no way the Eagles are fixing all of this by Monday night.

Identity crisis

Brooks Kubena | The Athletic

Absolutely not when the regular season is over and yet the Eagles are still sitting here trying to figure out what kind of team they actually are. 

Wrote Brooks Kubena in the aftermath of Sunday's loss:

This is a team that once held the NFL’s best record, that seemed like it was primed for a second straight Super Bowl appearance, that could overcome the flaws that have eventually overpowered it. Instead, the Eagles are an offense that’s lost its way under coach Nick Sirianni and coordinator Brian Johnson, a defense that’s been consistently dreadful under demoted coordinator Sean Desai and senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia, and a team that’s somehow still searching for an identity after 17 games.

“I think that’s something that we’ve searched for,” quarterback Jalen Hurts said. “We haven’t really had the consistency we’ve desired as a team.”

Added linebacker Zach Cunningham: “We spent the whole season trying to find out exactly what identity we have as a team. So, I don’t know exactly what I can say for that.”

There may be no worse indictment of the team’s status under Sirianni, who, in his first year since losing former offensive coordinator Shane Steichen (Colts) and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon (Cardinals) to other head-coaching jobs, has failed to fix the schematic flaws that have derailed the Eagles on both sides of the ball. [The Athletic]

A Super Bowl run is the least of your concerns if you're at Week 18 and still wondering what your identity as a team is. 

Say the right thing, act the wrong way

Jeff McLane | The Philadelphia Inquirer

Feeding into that, the Eagles – from the players to the coaches – have been saying all the right things over the past week only to come out and completely lay an egg. 

And they'll do it again this week, shouldering the blame, stressing accountability, voicing support for one another. 

The problem is, what they say during the days in between compared to what they've been putting out on the field clearly isn't matching up, as Jeff McLane notes:

But actions speak louder. The Eagles had mixed results against Wink Martindale’s blitz-heavy defense two weeks ago. Hurts, Kelce & Co. found some ways to offset the Giants defensive coordinator’s pressures in that sloppy win.

But they looked almost unprepared two weeks later, which was shocking considering Martindale blitzes as often as anyone. The game plan lacked built-in answers for Hurts, but so has Sirianni’s scheme for years. The quarterback just hasn’t been as good at bailing his coach out this season.

“I just don’t think we executed it well enough,” Hurts said. [The Inquirer]

But go back to the clips up above. How well can you execute these long-developing, predictable plays that are seemingly doomed before the ball is even snapped?

Whiff punish

Reuben Frank | NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles' pass coverage is awful, but another reason this defense keeps hemorrhaging yards is that their tackling has been atrocious too. 

They're not just leaving guys open, they're failing to bring them down. 

Wrote Reuben Frank:

This team’s inability – or reluctance – to tackle is infuriating. The Eagles were actually a good tackling team much of the season, but it’s gotten progressively worse and the last two weeks in particular have been horrible. And it’s everybody. There was one play early in the second quarter where Tyrod Taylor completed a short pass to Wan’Dale Robinson and James Bradberry and Zach Cunningham both not only whiffed on the tackle but ran into each other, letting Robinson pick up an extra 18 yards for a 26-yard gain. But the missed tackles have been everybody. Cunningham. Bradberry. Reed Blankenship. Sydney Brown (who got hurt Sunday). Nicholas Morrow. Kevin Byard. Shaq Leonard. Bradley Roby. You name it, he’s guilty. Some of it is effort, some of it is bad technique, some of it is being out of position. But I think a lot of it is also related to the defensive coordinator changes and guys really not being comfortable in [Matt Patricia’s] scheme. If you’re not fully confident in what you’re doing – and how could they be? – you’re going to have a hard time playing fast and confident. I know one thing. We have all offseason to talk about the roster, but this team needs a completely new cast of linebackers next year. Nakobe Dean and Ben VanSumeren will be here, but everybody else? Bye. [NBCSP]

And oh man, will we be talking about this roster in the months to come.

An unprecedented hot seat?

Charles Robinson | Yahoo! Sports

Nick Sirianni just coached the Eagles to the Super Bowl less than a year ago. Things are heading south fast, but recent success should grant him some kind of leash to try and fix this, right? 

Well, no one's ever truly safe in the NFL, and looking at his track record, no one's ever truly untouchable under Jeffrey Lurie. 

Wrote Charles Robinson of Sirianni and the Eagles' spiral:

While most will point to his record — three straight years of making the playoffs and one Super Bowl appearance after the 2022 season — there is something else to consider. Or more to the point, someone else to consider: team owner Jeffrey Lurie. The guy who fired Andy Reid. Also the guy who fired Doug Pederson, only three seasons after Pederson won the Eagles a Super Bowl. It’s worth remembering that in the three years following that title, Pederson had only one losing season and a significant amount of quarterback chaos. Yet, when he finished 4-11-1 in 2020 and finally refused to make ownership-dictated changes to his coaching staff, Lurie threw up the deuces and Pederson was out.

Keep that in mind as we head into the first round of the playoffs. If there’s one thing Lurie cares about most with his head coaches, it’s that they have a plan and a strong concept of how to transform a team into a Super Bowl winner. In the absence of that — especially in the presence of a small regression of a franchise quarterback — no coach is really safe. Not even one with the résumé of Sirianni. [Yahoo! Sports]

Do you see the plan right now?

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