I understand how Eagles fans feel. I hear it every day. I answer the Twitter questions (@DaveSpadaro, a good follow) and I jump on the Discussion Boards on the web site and I know what many of you are thinking: This season is over, I'm crushed and disappointed, what are the Eagles going to do for 2016?
Got it. Understood. Except that from this perspective, there are six games to play in the season and six chances to turn the year around. The Eagles are one game behind New York in the NFC East and blah, blah, blah.
The Eagles play in Detroit on Thanksgiving (Happy Thanksgiving to all) and MarkSanchezSamBradford is playing quarterback and the offense will again look to get on track and find some footing in what has been a most disappointing year of point production thus far. The defense will try to rebound from its embarrassing performance against Tampa Bay against a Detroit offense that features the Hall of Fame talents of wide receiver Calvin Johnson, a good No. 2 receiver in Golden Tate, an emerging tight end in Eric Ebron and running backs who don't run the ball particularly well, but who can catch it and move the sticks and cause some problems.
In other words, the Eagles have their hands full.
And in more other words, this is a must-win afternoon for Philadelphia, which has a tough down-the-stretch schedule including games at New England and the Giants and home against Buffalo, Arizona and Washington. The Eagles failed to generate any momentum from that win in Dallas, that overtime thrillah, and instead lost to Miami and Tampa Bay and, well, here we are.
So what does this game mean? The standings, for one. That's the obvious. But there's more from this vantage point. A team culture has been called into question in the latest losses as reporters have asked head coach Chip Kelly and other coaches and the players about "effort." And the response has been that the coaches are satisfied with the effort provided by the players and the players, the veterans who have won in this league, feel the effort is there.
I want to see more than effort from the Eagles. I want to see desperation. Urgency. Fight. That's what is needed every week in this league. That's what Thursday is about for me? With a season on the line - and a team should treat every week like it's on the line - the Eagles have to overcome a short work week, travel, and the lousy taste in their mouths from Sunday's loss.
A win is what we want to see on Thursday. That's what this game is all about, no doubt. But it goes beyond that now, if that makes any sense. What's done in these first 10 games isn't satisfactory, isn't pleasant for anyone. Everyone is disappointed.
But if the Eagles have any hope of turning it around, Thursday is when it must begin. For whatever reason, they're 4-6. The offense hasn't been up to snuff. The defense has shown serious leaks. The special teams aren't up to the standard established last season.
The gift of NFC East mediocrity has given the Eagles a continued playoff pulse with a 4-6 record. In this must-win moment, how do the Eagles react?