December 06, 2020
The Eagles season is rapidly spiraling out of control, and the team's outlook continues to get worse with each mounting loss. As of Sunday morning Week 13, the Birds are in third place in what is widely considered the worst division in the history of football. They have the sixth worst record in the entire NFL.
But it's even worst than that. They've now regressed for three straight seasons, have very little in terms of promising young players and will require a full rebuild to turn things around. Their quarterback is playing the worst football of his career. The play-calling is questionable and at times downright head-scratching. They've failed to develop talent through the draft and the players they have acquired via trade and free agency have more often than not been misses rather than hits.
It's been an entire organizational failure from top to bottom, and the only remedy might be an entire rebuild. But, at least for now, it appears that only one person is in line to shoulder the majority of the blame. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Doug Pederson is officially on the hot seat, with some inside the building now wondering what many on the outside have been publicly speculating about for weeks: Does the coach the brought the city its first Super Bowl title survive beyond 2020?
Despite winning a Super Bowl three years ago with a backup QB, advancing to the divisional round the following year and winning the division just last year, Pederson finds himself on the hot seat with his future in doubt, sources say. There is no guarantee he returns in 2021 despite his record, and the struggles of Wentz -- and the lack of answers -- would be part of that.
The public has begun speculating on Pederson's future, and some in the building have done the same, fearing that Pederson's job is on the line. They can sense the tension, the frustration, the disgust and the search for a resolution.
Pederson said this week he hasn't received any assurances about his future from owner Jeffrey Lurie, who is also frustrated and has been around far less this year than in years past (which could also be related to the COVID-19 protocols). [nfl.com]
The report also mentions that the Eagles leaders, including Carson Wentz, Brandon Graham and Jason Kelce, held a meeting in which they discussed taking responsibility for how bad things had gotten and how urgent it is that they right the ship. Pederson was also reportedly present for this meeting. But isn't it a bit concerning that it took to this point for team leadership to take ownership of what has been one of the worst Eagles seasons in memory?
Missing from Rapoport's report was any mention of general manager Howie Roseman, who has survived through the Andy Reid Era, the Chip Kelly Era (with a year spent in exile), and now the Doug Pederson Era. And when we say no mention, we don't mean a specific mention of Roseman's status and whether or not he's safe. We mean no mention at all. Not once.
Nothing about the poor free agent signings or trades. Nothing about the fact that he took Jalen Hurts in the second round when the team had other glaring needs. Nothing about the fact that the team has drafted just a handful of NFL-quality players in the last three to four years. And nothing about the fact that the team is going to be $80 million over the cap next season and will have little opportunity to improve any other way but the draft — you know, the thing they've been absolutely terrible about in recent years.
There's a reason Rapoport likely didn't mention Roseman, however. According to ESPN's Tim McManus, the architect of the Eagles roster is safe, as he continues to be Lurie's right hand man and appears to have positioned himself in a way that keeps him safe from any sort of regime changes.
The way I view it, there is not a lot of space between Howie and Lurie. It is set up that they are side by side and unless I am reading it wrong, I don't think it would happen. - @Tim_McManus on Howie possibly being let go— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) December 2, 2020
Instead, all the blame falls at the feet of the head coach. Don't be wrong, Pederson definitely deserves his fair share of the blame for how this thing has turned out. After all, the team is 3-7-1 and showing no signs of suddenly turning things around. But if he's the only head to roll at the end of this season, the Eagles would likely continue to set themselves back as Jimmy Kempski perfectly explained in his reason in his deep dive into why they need to clean house and rebuild from scratch — and why Roseman is the wrong man for the job.
Of course, "blowing it up" requires patience. Lurie will have to allow the general manager to formulate a plan to get out from under of a slew of albatross contracts, and then re-build a winner. Seeing as Roseman has had three consecutive bad seasons, as noted above, he does not deserve a multi-year commitment going forward. It's also probably worth pointing out that a multi-year rebuild can only be successfully accomplished if the team substantially increases their hit rate in the draft, which has been Roseman's biggest weakness.
So far, however, it appears that Pederson is going to be the one to take the fall.
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