Did you see that story about a man in India who was declared dead but the ambulance transporting him hit a pothole and it woke him up? I was thinking about that when trying to do an autopsy of the Eagles season. We can’t examine the body because we aren’t even sure if it is dead.
Is the head coach safe? Eagles ownership and front office can be prone to overreactions, and the panic button they slammed after back-to-back bad losses this season shows that patience is thin in the building this year. And patience is not something that has been in large supply for Jeffrey Lurie lately to begin with. Chip Kelly got fired after one bad year, annoying the hell out of everyone in and out of the building along the way. Doug Pederson got fired after one miserable year when his postseason debriefing went wrong. Lurie is 72, one of the older owners in the league. He wants another ring, and the core of the team is Super Bowl caliber. What can Nick Sirianni say to give confidence to leadership that he can regain the confidence of the team after a miserable end that annoyed the hell out of people inside and outside the building? What if his proposed changes, or lack thereof, are deemed unacceptable by the owner? Neither will be the first time it cost an Eagles coach their job.
Is the offensive coordinator safe? The offense scored 14 TDs over their last 7 games, half of them in two games against the Cardinals and Giants. Firing Brian Johnson would give Jalen Hurts his third play caller in as many years, which typically results in a stagnant offense. But the Eagles offense was already stagnant. Johnson’s playbook is limited, he had play designs openly and deservedly mocked by announcers. He also has a strong relationship with the franchise QB, one of the reasons he was promoted to the job rather than bring in an experienced play caller, or one with a different perspective. Every vacancy on the offensive coaching staff a year ago was filled internally, the team hasn’t brought in an outside voice since Nick Sirianni was hired.
Is the defensive coordinator definitely gone? He has to be. Has to be. Cleaning out the defensive staff is the only option. But there is an argument–a bad one–that Matt Patricia was put into an impossible spot when he took over in-season, unable to properly install his own defense and with players that don’t suit what he wants to do. He tried to install a new defense during the season, only to create embarrassing confusion among his players. There is no reason that Matt Patricia should have a position of authority on a team, but this is a team that gave him a position of authority.
What players are gone? Haason Reddick is entering the final year of his contract, one that sees him with the highest current cap hit on the team for next year. The James Bradberry contract is now a dead weight, the best the Eagles can do is cut him with a post-June 1 designation that saves them nothing in 2024. The same goes for Darius Slay and his social media accounts. AJ Brown’s social media is already gone. Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and D’Andre Swift are not under contract for next year.
The end of the season was gruesome for the Eagles. The beginning of the offseason might be equally morbid. Hopefully there’s a pothole to hit.