A Dallas Cowboys loss in a wild card game that they entered as heavy favorites is not unusual, but the way the Philadelphia Eagles floundered down the stretch this season is highly alarming.
Philadelphia lost 42-23 to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13, going 1-6 in their final seven games. The team who made it to the Super Bowl last season and then dropped a record bag on their QB to get them back and finish the job this time, disintegrated right in front of our eyes. During the slide they averaged just 18.8 points per game.
Philadelphia Eagles Have Identity Problems
Following the Eagles’ 32-9 wild card game loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts said what everyone could clearly see.
“For us this year, I don’t think we played well,” said Hurts on Tuesday, Jan. 16. “Didn’t play well enough. The identity, the consistency, the execution for us, the turnovers — everything, all of those come into play when you talk about having the opportunity to win championships. Something we have to be able to learn from.”
It became increasingly clear that Philly wasn’t going to snap out of its slump. Hurts didn’t look anything like the confident, effective quarterback he was in the Super Bowl a season ago. His primary receiver, A.J. Brown, never seemed happy and had some public sideline battles with Hurts and the offensive coordinator.
It made you wonder if the locker room is as stable as it was last season. The chemistry just seemed off and there was nothing Sirianni, who was touted by many as the next genius head coach, could do to stop it.
The exchange between tight end Dallas Goedert and an unconcerned Hurts during the squad’s embarrassing playoff loss was telling.
The Nick Sirianni, Brian Johnson, Jalen Hurts Combo Isn’t Working
ESPN writer Tim McManus said in a Jan. 15 story that “A disconnect between the visions of Sirianni, Hurts and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson has affected the offense’s ability to land on an identity, the source said.”
Hurts repeated the word “identity”, which suggests that he doesn’t like the direction of the offense or how it is currently designed. If this is the case, that’s a major problem.
Gone are the days where coaches make exceptional talents fit into their game plans, without leaving some room for the quarterback to execute those plays that they are most comfortable running.
Hurts looked out of sync for that entire seven-game fizzle that ended about as miserably as possible for any Eagles fan.
The franchise will have to reevaluate the relationship between these three key figures in the organization and get everyone on the same page as quickly as possible.
Sirianni is locked in and probably won’t be leaving. He did make it to the Super Bowl last season, and that usually buys a head coach some time. Hurts signed a five-year, $255 million extension prior to the season so he’s locked in as the top dog for the foreseeable future.
That leaves Johnson who has to take the blame for the way the offense has sputtered despite the myriad weapons that the Eagles possess. Maybe he’s too rigid and isn’t as innovative as he should be. However you slice it, it’s not working and it’s deeper than guys not performing at the level they are accustomed too.
Jalen Hurts Needs To Take Accountability
Jalen Hurts has been vocal about the internal struggles his team has faced and he uses the word “we” often. It’s better than pointing fingers, but it does show a lack of accountability from a guy who received a record contract, is supposed to be a leader in the locker room and a superstar who won’t allow a team that’s so talented to go into such a vicious mental and physical slump on his watch.
Hurts can refuse to say what he personally could have done to save this season, but that’s where he needs to start. Sending veiled shots at the head coach and offensive coordinator and other teammates isn’t really what franchise QBs do.
If you’re an All-Pro QB with All-Pro weapons readily available and entered the season as Super Bowl favorites, there’s no way you can allow your team to go 1-6 down the stretch and then get embarrassed by Baker Mayfield in the playoffs.
Many believe Hurts has lost the locker room. Has the money finally gone to his head? Hurts was always known for being a team guy and then he became a “superstar” — or at least that’s what he was anointed once his $179 million in guaranteed money hit the bank.
The Eagles have much to work out in the offseason, and it’s less about personnel and more about personalities.