Who is to blame for the dumpster fire in Philadelphia?
The Philadelphia Eagles are honestly turning into a remake of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The Eagles organization is an absolute disaster. I started writing this article on Saturday and since then I have had to make changes 4 times, because the news about the team continues to change. This team is all out of sorts. Three years ago this team won a Super Bowl against the greatest dynasty in the history of the sport, and now they look like the worst managed team in all of sports. There are so many different issues on this team. Carson Wentz played absolutely horrible and was rightfully benched for rookie Jalen Hurts, Doug Pederson's play calling was atrocious, the injury bug hit the Eagles hard, and our aging roster is not the same players they were in 2017. But who is really to blame for this mess?
Carson vs. Jalen:
The QB controversy
Eagles fans have a hard time admitting a break up with Carson is the best thing for this franchise. Carson has proven once he was able to have a MVP caliber season back in 2017. However, he has not been able to even come close to putting up those same numbers. The Eagles won the Super Bowl that season, and Eagles fans have starved for that championship and they believe every member of that team should get a statue outside the stadium (I am in favor of that investment). Add in his community effort and the Dutch Destroyer story. He gave his absolute best to the franchise and the community. Nick Foles won all the playoff games in 2017 and the Super Bowl MVP, but without Carson Wentz the Eagles do not win the Super Bowl, and I will say that till the day I die.
He played absolutely horrible this season and was rightfully benched for Jalen Hurts. His 15 interceptions were #1 in the NFL at the time of his benching. He was sacked more than any other QB even though he played 4 less games. The list can go on about how bad his stats were this season. When you look at the big picture however you see how unreliable he is. His poor decision making was the reason for his struggles. Throwing into coverage to avoid a sack, trying to find an open window that is not there, and the list can go on. His decision making was some of the worst I have ever seen, but his inability to play a full season is the issue. He has played in all 16 games twice in his career (2016 and 2019). In 5 years, if you are only able to play 2 full seasons, there are issues with that. To be a solid franchise QB, you need to actually play all season.
Early reports say that with the firing of Doug Pederson, the chances of Carson Wentz staying in Philadelphia are much higher. I will way in on both scenarios. If he does stay, he needs a solid experienced QB's coach. Carson played so much better when he had John DeFilippo in 2017. Hire a guy that is a proven and respected QB's coach (or hire rookie coach Josh McCown). If they move on from Carson and roll with Jalen, you need to bring in a development style coach. Jalen is far from being a Pro Bowler. There are many areas he still needs to develop and improve. In either scenario, the correct framework and scheme need to happen to make sure the QB is set up for success. The new coaching staff in 2021 will be a good indication to who the starting QB is for the Eagles next season.
The coaching staff needs to be held accountable for Carson Wentz's play. He should have been benched much earlier in the season and the play calling should have changed to a run first scheme to get away from his passing struggles. I personally feel that Doug Pederson should have stayed as the Head Coach for one more season, he just needs to give up play-calling. He had a bad season, but you can not forget that in 5 seasons at the helm of the birds he won 3 NFC East Championships and a Super Bowl. Bad coaches do not win Super Bowls! I am not going to get into his decision making Week 17 or all season, but he was not at his best this season. I do not want to get into the debate of Doug's firing, but I would love to see how he coaches with competent coordinators and assistants.
The only offensive coaching staff member that should have total job security is running backs coach Duce Staley. Every RB that has been coached under Staley has said the same thing, he is the best running back coach they have ever had. Our RB's the past 5 years have been our strongest position. When utilized, any RB we have has put up good numbers. Losing Duce Staley would be the biggest mistake the Eagles could make. He should be considered for an OC position or even the head coaching vacancy with the organization. As I type this, Malcom Jenkins just endorsed him to replace Doug Pederson. Duce is an amazing coach, and honestly could be the best option for the job.
In order to put this dumpster fire out (or atleast make it smaller), the Eagles need to hit a home run on this head coaching hire. I would love the Eagles to go down the offensive minded coach road over a defensive minded coach, but both scenarios will work for me. The new head coach needs to hit a home run on his coordinator hires. Jim Schwartz was a fantastic DC while in Philadelphia and he will be hard to replace. The Eagles have not had a competent OC since 2017 with Frank Reich. Mike Groh lasted two seasons and our offense ranked in the bottom of the NFL both seasons. Press Taylor was our QB's coach and Passing Game Coordinator this past season. If you want to know how bad he was, scroll up and read about Carson. I would love to see a former head coach take a coordinator position that will provide either side of the ball with experience and the head coach with more expertise.
In a dream scenario the Eagles hire Joe Brady or Duce Staley as their head coach. Joe Brady has proven to be an excellent offensive minded coach for LSU and Carolina. He is a well respected coach and will be able to help whoever the QB is develop and succeed. I would love to see Mike Kafka from the Chiefs become the OC and Raheem Morris from Atlanta become the DC. There is no chance this scenario even happens. This is the type of framework that needs to be put into place. Coaches who will be able to develop the young players and also provide years of experiences.
Every team gets hit with injuries every season, it is apart of the game. This is not to blame for the Eagles struggles, but it is part of the problem. The entire offensive line except Jason Kelce missed time at some point this season. In 16 games, they had 14 different offensive line combinations. Some big name players missed multiple games this season due to injuries Miles Sanders, Derek Barnett, Dallas Goedert, Jalen Mills, Lane Johnson. This list goes on. Even at full strength, the Eagles were not a good football team. However, the injury list is long and full of Pro Bowl players. Injuries hit the Eagles very hard this season. Maybe the Eagles should address the the medical and training team this offseason.
Who is really to blame?
The only name I have not heard be blamed for the Eagles struggles, might be the biggest issue with this franchise. Howie Roseman has assembled an expensive aging football team. It starts with his draft picks since 2010. Lets start with his good picks, Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, Zach Ertz, and Fletcher Cox. Two of these players are future Hall of Famers ( Kelce and Cox.) Those picks are amazing and I applaud him for that, but he has drafted one Pro Bowler since 2016 (Wentz) and two defensive Pro Bowlers since 2012 (Cox and Graham). He started off very strong in some historically good drafts, and has been extremely poor ever since.
Howie Roseman's tenure in Philadelphia is divided into two eras. Pre-Chip Kelly and Post-Chip Kelly. Before Chip Kelly, Roseman drafted some great players and was one of the best in Draft Return and Draft Capital from 2010-2015. Since he took over for Chip Kelly in 2016, he has been one of the worst. The Eagles rank second to last in Draft Return in that time frame. The Eagles rank 24th in Draft Efficiency since 2016. Since Roseman gave up a haul for Carson and loves trading Day 2 picks away at the deadline, the Eagles rank dead last in Draft Capital since 2016. As you can see by the stats, Roseman and the Eagles have had some horrible drafts since 2016.
Roseman used to be one of the best GM's in football at building a cheap, young, solid football teams. However, here we are in 2020 with an expensive, old, and bad football team. Even if Jalen Hurts played all 16 games, this team still does not make the playoffs in a very bad NFC East. Our current roster is very old and not good. In the end, the Eagles need to make some major changes this offseason to the roster and coaching staff. However, the dynamic of the franchise will not change if Howie Roseman is the GM of this team. It does not matter who the Eagles hire as a coach, if Howie Roseman is still making decisions for this franchise, you will see absolutely no change in the dynamic.