The Philadelphia Eagles are now 6-9 on the 2015 NFL regular season schedule after being defeated by the Washington Redskins on Saturday by a final score of 38 to 24. Here are 10 things we learned from this game.
1) The season is over
For the second year in a row, the Eagles will not be headed to the NFL playoffs. The Birds were officially eliminated by losing to Washington on Saturday night. The Eagles haven't made the playoffs since 2013, which was Chip Kelly's first season as head coach. The Eagles haven't actually won a playoff game since Jan. 2009. So it's been nearly seven years and counting. Not great.
2) The Eagles lost in the most 2015 Eagles fashion
Dropped touchdown. Dropped interceptions. Fumbled pitch. Sam Bradford overthrowing wide open receivers. Offensive line getting destroyed. Running game being completely ineffective. The Eagles simply made too many mistakes to win this game, which is basically how the Birds have operated way too often this season. Plain and simple, the Eagles are a bad team. A lack of talent is a big issue (more on that later), but it's not the only one. It's hard to say that this team was well-coached this season.
3) Chip Kelly deserves all the blame
Kelly said it himself during his postgame presser. 100% of the blame is on him. He's the general manager and the coach. He picks the players. He calls the plays. It all falls on him. Kelly made a lot of moves in the offseason and they didn't pay off. Instead of going from "good to great" the Eagles went from "good to bad." He set this team up to fail.
4) Changes need to be made
This season was unacceptable. Significant changes need to be made. The Eagles need more talent. In order to acquire that talent, the Eagles might need a new general manager. Getting rid of Chip Kelly the GM might not be so simple because he might not want to give that kind of power up. If that's the case, the Eagles should look to hire an experienced personnel executive who can guide Kelly, similar to how the Sixers hired Jerry Colangelo to assist Sam Hinkie. Maybe Kelly won't return at all, but I don't think that's likely.
At the very least, the Eagles could look to shake up the coaching staff under Kelly. Philadelphia's defense showed promise for a good portion of this season but they collapsed down the stretch. They allowed 38 points in three home games for the first time in franchise history. Bill Davis will be on the hot seat. But if Davis is on the hot seat, it's only fair that the offense should see some changes, because they've even worse than the defense. I don't think Pat Shurmur really even does anything but he should be gone anyway. Some of the position coaches can be dumped as well.
5) I'm already tired of the Sam Bradford debate
The offseason isn't here yet and the Sam Bradford debate is already tiring. "He sucks!" "It's not his fault!" Of course, the truth lies in the middle. Bradford is the same guy he was in St. Louis. He wasn't the only reason the Rams were bad. He was hurt by bad receivers and poor offensive talent surrounding him. But it's also true Bradford didn't elevate the talent around him. The same thing happened in Philly this season.
Bradford showed improvement this season. But it wasn't enough to where the Eagles are a legitimate championship contender with him at the helm. I think the Eagles are going to bring Bradford back, and that's probably one of their best options. In an ideal world, the Eagles should bring Bradford back on a deal that doesn't commit a lot of money and years to him. He hasn't earned that type of long-term security. It might not be that simple, though, because Bradford has the leverage. The Eagles need him more than he needs them.
And even if the Eagles DO bring Bradford back, their quarterback search shouldn't end there. The Eagles thought they were set with Nick Foles after he went 27-2. They were wrong. They passed on guys like Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr in the NFL Draft. The Eagles can't make that kind of mistake again. They need to put their eggs into multiple quarterback baskets until one hits big.
6) The run game needs to be revamped again
Prior to this season, I wrote about how Philadelphia's run game would be key to their success in 2015. It's no coincidence that the Eagles had one of their best stretches of the season (3-1 from mid October to early November) when they were running the ball well. The Eagles tried fixing their run game last offseason, which was the right idea, but the execution wasn't right. They spent big money on DeMarco Murray and that wasn't good. They didn't address their offensive line. The Eagles need to fix their offseason line this offseason and find some better running backs. More difficult than it sounds, of course.
7) The Eagles are getting nothing out of their investments at wide receiver
I'd say the Eagles need new wide receivers too, because they do, but they've already invested a lot in that position! They spent a first round pick on Nelson Agholor. He's been the worst rated receiver by Pro Football Focus this season. He has 19 receptions for 225 yards and one touchdown on the season. 2014 third round pick Josh Huff has 26 receptions for 304 yards and three touchdowns this season. He hasn't been much of a threat. Jordan Matthews has been productive and is easily the best of the trio, but he's hardly a dominating talent.
While we're on the topic of pass catchers, Zach Ertz has been a disappointment too. His fumble against Washington was huge. He's still struggling with drops as well. Ertz isn't awful or anything, but he still hasn't taken the leap many expected him to take.
8) This team has a lot of needs
I already addressed a few needs above, but I can't get to all of them here because there are a lot. There are so many question marks on this team moving forward. It's going to be another interesting offseason. The Eagles have a lot of work to do in order to be good again. You can't just point to one thing.
9) Washington has won the NFC Least
Congratulations to Washington for winning one of the worst divisions in football. They now have the honor of getting smoked by the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the 2016 NFL playoffs.
10) One more meaningless game to go
Another season, another meaningless Week 17 finale against the New York Giants. The Eagles will probably find a way to win again and hurt their draft position instead of losing and getting the better pick. Right?