The Philadelphia Eagles have had a long fall from grace just 1½ year removed from an impressive and dominating 2017 championship campaign. The country was in awe of a team coming out of nowhere with a backup quarterback going up against the big bad New England Patriots with who else but Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
Since winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles haven’t looked the same despite having much of the same roster — which is the problem. There are many sayings in football and one that stands out in particular in this situation is true: “If you stay the same, you’re getting worse.”
Seemingly overnight, Philadelphia’s roster has gotten old. There is no speed on the offensive side of the ball, so nobody can get separation for quarterback Carson Wentz to throw outside of Zach Ertz who is double — sometimes triple — covered. In free agency, Eagles’ general manager Howie Roseman really dropped the ball for the first time since regaining his title from Chip Kelly.
Roseman resigned 36-year-old running back Darren Sproles and 33-year-old wide receiver Desean Jackson. Both players have been hurt since Week 1 and have only just last week been placed on injured reserve, wasting cap money and roster spots that were much needed.
Lack of weapons is a real issue for Wentz right now and he is not getting any help from his head coach. Doug Pederson refuses to run the football to help out his quarterback who as of last week was throwing to Jordan Matthews, who hadn’t played football in a year, and Greg Ward Jr., who was a quarterback for University of Houston a couple years ago. The worst part of it all is when Philly’s $15 million wide and first-round wide receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Nelson Agholor are healthy, they drop everything and can’t do their only jobs of catching the football.
The Eagles’ struggles have not been only on offense but also defense. Since the Super Bowl game was played, the Eagle defense hadn’t been healthy until two weeks ago against the Patriots. Life has changed, but now with the offensive woes, the defense that is finally playing like one of the best in the league is being left to the wolves.
As an Eagles fan, I wear clothing almost daily that represents my team and I constantly get the “Nick Foles is better than Wentz” statement at least once a week and it’s just not true. Wentz was not only the best quarterback but the best player in football before he tore his knee against the Los Angeles Rams and was the clear MVP. The Eagles were also the best team and Foles’ job was to just not screw it up.
Last year Wentz was not fully healed from his knee injury and also suffered a fracture in his back before being sidelined. This year, prior to the Patriots game, Wentz could not have played better and put his team in a better position to win every football game. But dropped balls and injuries on defense prevented those wins.
The Eagles are not far from recapturing the magic from the Super Bowl year. They still have the best offense and defensive line combination in football which is where championship teams are built. They have a franchise quarterback that can make every throw and has potential to be an all-time great. Where Philadelphia needs help is speed. Philly could out-muscle any team in football, and I firmly believe that, but if all 32 teams lined up and raced, the Eagles would be near last.
In the coming draft, the Birds just need to draft speed and forget skill. The Eagles should take the fastest wide receiver they can find because names like DJ Chark, Tyreek Hill, and Terry Mclaurin have exploded on the scene and changed life for their offenses. Even if the person you draft is a bust like John Ross or Darrius Heyward Bey, his speed on fly routes can take the top off a defense and open things up underneath for Ertz and others.
Overall what everyone has witnessed this season with the Eagles winning when they are supposed to lose and vice versa, I would tell everyone welcome to the last 17 years of my life minus our Super Bowl year. This team is one of the most frustrating teams to root for because at least with teams like Cleveland and Detroit, you know you are going to be bad, but the Eagles will drag the disappointment along for as long as they can.
Despite my cynical feelings, I do believe this team is very well run and still in its championship window.