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Eagles Rantbag: Passion and pain

No pressure this year Nick, just win or else!

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

I asked you for your Eagles questions, and you delivered, and I asked you for your Eagles rants, and you delivered. Let’s rant.

People take sports too seriously. I say this as somebody who recognizes it within myself and dislikes it. We need to get lives and move on, even though we love our sports teams. That’s my rant. - NoloOoo

You’re not wrong. At the end of the day, it is a game. Our livelihoods aren’t affected by it. Life will go on.

But life isn’t worth living without passions. Everyone has their own passions, whatever they are. For some people their passion is art, for some it is music, for some it is chess, or photography, or golf, or whatever. It doesn’t matter what your passions are, it matters that you have them.

For us, the Philadelphia Eagles are one of our passions. The shared experience of the joy of their success and the agony of their failures is something we can bond over with friends, family, and strangers in ways we can not with other hobbies and interests. The memories last forever, both the good and the bad. With the bad we look back and laugh, like Ronnie Brown attempting a pass. With the good we look back and smile, like Nick Foles catching one.

Do we all take it a little too seriously at times? Of course. But that’s part of what makes it a passion and not merely an interest. The strong emotional response is part of the draw, part of what keeps us coming back for more.

It’s also a source of pride. Mine’s better than yours. I know a guy who doesn’t really watch football (he’s not American) but he watched Super Bowl 52, and he said it was one of the best games of any sport he’s ever seen. That’s right. And it was my team that won it. Our team.

Pride and passion, they’re part and parcel of being a fan.

Can’t really figure out which is worse, the Vikings sneaking into the playoffs last year after all their “1-posession game” wins or the Eagles this year? I kept telling myself the past couple weeks that we aren’t frauds, and then it really showed. - sssetz

From a long term standpoint, the Vikings. Like the Giants last year they went into the season starting to rebuild, but they stumbled into the playoffs and changed the outlook of the team for 2023. And now after a wasted 2023 season they’re right back where they started: in need of a rebuild.

From a short term standpoint, the Eagles. A 1-6 finish was pathetic. Embarrassing. Disgusting.

Lurie will need to “read the room”. I know we are very emotional right now, but the way this team failed was mocked by fans/writers/media. This is/was a complete embarrassment for the city and the team. We take pride in playing smash mouth football on defense and attack on offense through brute strength. We are the fans and were here before Lurie and will be here after him. He is setting up a very tense environment whereby there will be no “home” field advantage, because the voices will express their displeasure on every 3rd and 2 non-running play, or soft..off the ball...secondary play.

Sirianni was not just at the helm of this epic fail of a season, but also I question his maturity as a head coach. Sure the players like him because maybe they were never challenged, and when they were, it was dismissed. That is the only way we can see the unwillingness or lacking basic tackling skills. The players just did not want to anymore...the TB game was a nationally broadcast quit. He needs to go down with this ship as we need a new direction with solid/experienced coaches while this offense is still somewhat still together.....rant over....Thank you - bdemz

Darius Slay—who I am absolutely exhausted by—said it was good that the team was playing the Bucs on the road because they couldn’t be booed by the fans. That was extremely lame, but also true. If that game had the exact same outcome but was played at the Linc instead of in Tampa, the Eagles rightfully would have had the crap booed out of them.

And if that had happened, I wonder what Jeffrey Lurie’s reaction would have been. Doug Pederson’s last game was a home game. Chip Kelly’s was too. (Coincidentally both were versus Washington. Another coincidence, every Eagles coach under Lurie lost to the Cardinals in their final season–the Eagles do not play the Cardinals in the regular season this year.) Neither were fired because of how fans reacted to a limp ending to a bad season, but it had to have been a factor, even if it was a small one.

Imagine the disgust of 68,000 fans at the end of that pathetic, gutless effort against the Bucs and the owner looks around the half empty Linc goes “yeah, let’s bring this back.” I don’t know how a coach can survive a bad start next year.

More bubble screens and more cow bells please. - EbbyCalvinLaLoosh

Don’t forget the lack of motion. Or not committing to the run. Or not anticipating a blitz would be called. Or dropping Haason Reddick into coverage. Or 30 snaps of Jack Stoll getting cardio. Or Olamide Zaccheaus catching a beautiful TD then two targets over his next four games, and catching another nice TD then getting two targets over his next five games. Or D’Andre Swift’s season high in touches being in Week 2. Or waiting until it’s too late to get young players some playing time. Or hiring Matt Patricia for any role whatsoever.

What a miserable season.

1) Back to the basics on tackling, wrap these guys up, use your arms & hands, hit them HARD!, remember the House of Pain game! stop try to just bump them! 2) Stop sending 2 receivers to the same spot on the field, it just crowds the space with defenders & sets up interceptions!!! 3) Use more crossing routes, such as with the Tight Ends, Dallas Goedert 4) Look at the offensive plays the current playoff teams are using & pick up ideas!!!! 5) Why aren’t we seeing Jason Kelce leading runners down the field, those were awesome plays!!! It was so satisfying watching some of these teams this weekend do what worked so well for the Eagles last year. How did we go so backwards???? - 4tajackson

There’s no one thing, it all snowballed from everything adding up.

-The team was always going to regress. Pick a player, any player on the 2022 Eagles and they either had a career year or nearly a career year. There’s pretty much only one place to go from there: down. Regression doesn’t mean they would be bad, just not quite as good. Across the roster that adds up. AJ Brown and Devonta Smith had the second most productive season of their careers. Haason Reddick had the third highest sack total of his career. Lane Johnson gave up a sack for the first time in forever. They all had really good seasons, but they were coming off of career defining great ones. A step back was inevitable, and the roster and coaching staff weren’t equipped to overcome it. Look at the Chiefs this year vs last year. Patrick Mahomes was incredible last year, this year he was “merely” just one of the best players in the league rather that the best. The Chiefs may still win the Super Bowl, but compared to last year’s regular season they took a step backwards.

-Complacency. We’ve seen this happen before with other teams, they think they have climbed the mountain only to realize the mountain moved. I don’t want to make too much out of this, but that Sirianni quote from September pretty much sums it up.

So, one thing we wanted to do with our team offensively, let’s say, is … try to really— it’s not always about coming up with new plays and new wrinkles and new things like that. Sometimes it’s just getting better, and a lot of times it’s just getting better at your base stuff. And how do you coach it better. And how do you do it better. And, off of that, what are some wrinkles off of that? Not necessarily new things. But things that are wrinkles. I guess I would say, where I’m going with that, is that’s the same way I thought about Year 3. I don’t think it’s anything new, it’s about how do we get better at what we’re already doing?”

This the NFL, you can’t sit still. Now compare it to his end of season press conference:

Obviously, to me, we got a little stale on offense by the end of the year, and these ideas and this new person coming in is meant to take away the staleness and add the value of what they’re adding to the offense. … We just need to bring some ideas in from the outside, right?

Hey look at that, new ideas, what a new idea!

Sirianni had the opportunity to bring in another perspective when Shane Steichen was hired by the Colts. He didn’t have to promote both Brian Johnson and Alex Tanney. The Johnson hire was at the time defensible, but they could have brought in someone to fill the QB coach position that had prior QB coach experience. Instead they had a neophyte OC and QB coach. That’s very little experience in the spine of the offensive coaching staff.

-The front office also got stale. They had another small draft class. I think they felt that they could easily make a move to address a need like they did last year CJ Gardner-Johnson. They made another in-season trade giving up a middle round pick for an over the hill player.

-Then when things went wrong, they showed no ability to adapt. Chalk it up to inexperience, staleness, hubris, but the offense never evolved over the season. Johnny had a good rant about it. The defense obviously went backwards.

-Bad hires, obviously. In some defense, the Eagles were behind everyone on hiring replacements, by the time the Super Bowl came around most teams had filled their vacancies. And elevating Brian Johnson from QB coach to OC is what teams do. Among current OCs, Joe Brady, Dan Pitcher, and Matt Nagy were promoted from QB to OC, and Dave Canales and Drew Petzing were hired from other teams from QB coach roles.

But the Eagles didn’t even bother to explore other options to replace Steichen. Again, complacency and staleness.

And Matt Patricia should never have been let in the building. I could rant about him all day.

Add all that up and you get a messy season.

What is Sirianni bringing to this team? Culture? A guy who sleeps in his office? A lot of good that did for the team this year.

He gave up playcalling in his first year and the team immediately got better. The team had such success under Steichen last year and then hardly lost any starters on offense. None of the aging guys declined. It seems pretty obvious the success was due to the roster and Steichen, not Sirianni.

When shit goes sideways, Nick has proven he’s not someone to come up with answers. Now the Eagles are stuck searching for tired old guys with no innovation that have failed enough to not be considered head coaches, or if they do get someone young and innovative, they’ll surely be stuck in this predicament again next year when that person becomes a HC candidate.

Sirianni is a fraud and a clown. If I have to see him jumping up and down on the sidelines, yelling at fans, as if he’s some important cog in this team’s success, I’m gonna throw up everywhere - MatthewMadonna

When Jeffrey Lurie hired Nick Sirianni, he talked about how he was excited to see the coach Sirianni would become. Well, what has Sirianni become?

I’ve had some discussions with others over the past week... if Sirianni was fired, what would be the selling point for him at his next job? Creative offensive mind? No. Credit to him for bringing the Shove to the NFL (Kansas State was running it a decade ago), but other than that the Eagles don’t do anything cutting edge. High motivator? No, the team quit. Visionary CEO-type? We’re about to find out.

And his corny pandering annoys fans of other teams, and I get it, but damn it that’s our coach and he’s winning, so shut up. But when the wins aren’t there what does have?

Nick Sirianni could seemingly do no wrong last year, and credit to him for that. But he might be next in the never ending pile of head coaches that have a strong season or two early and then never come close to replicating that success.

Why is Sirianni not getting fired? I never saw a good team quit so badly in the last few games, especially the playoffs.

How does Jeff and Howie defend keeping a coach who said the same vague BS after each loss, and never fixed the problems.

A decent coach would’ve done what the Bill’s McDermott did, fire the OC mid season and bring someone else in.

Same with the DC.

Sirianni does not demonstrate that he knows how to put this team in a position to win.

This is the best season to replace a head coach due to the talent available. - JJ_Cake

Sean McDermott is a bad example. He fired his DC, Leslie Frazier, in the offseason—excuse me, they used the mutually parted ways BS line—and then fired his OC, Ken Dorsey, during the season. It didn’t work. For the third straight year the Bills lost in the second round. And now McDermott is all out of scapegoats, and the Bills salary cap and roster construction mean that they can mostly run it back in 2024 but after that big changes have to come, with or without him. If you really want Sean McDermott as Eagles coach, he’ll be available next year!

Changing play callers midseason usually doesn’t work, as we saw with the defense getting even worse. It didn’t work for the Bills, and it didn’t work for the Eagles.

Why would the owner suffer through this team’s unmotivated, lackadaisical effort vs. TB in a playoff game, and then not hold the HC accountable just because he surrounded himself with some of the most derelict coordinators ever to corrode the NFL landscape?

What kind of owner tolerates bottom-feeder performance at all levels from the coaching staff to the players on the field, allowing about 25 upwardly mobile organizations in this league to pass us like we are in reverse gear?

I look forward to the day a younger, vital, savagely ambitious ownership team takes the controls of this franchise. Thank you sir, for the one SB championship six years ago, but now it is painfully evident that you need to retire to a full time life of leisure and contentment. You have earned it. - robbieonfire

Because three coaches in five years, when the previous two went to the Super Bowl, screams organizational dysfunction. To borrow a phrase, it is better to be thought of as a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

This season came down to one word: why? Why didn’t they change their offensive scheme or defensive scheme after it clearly didn’t work? Why did the players look like they were just there to clock in and clock out? Why did they lead us with false hope of “we need to improve” and then somehow look worse the next game? False hope. 10-1. And then they got too comfortable and let off the gas, and it turned out to be a horrible idea. This was one of the worst seasons I’ve ever had to endure as an Eagles fan. It isn’t how you start, it’s how you finish. And the Eagles need to learn how to finish the season.

James Bradberry should get his own article, but I’m too tired to do it. He’s underwhelming, cannot cover, and can’t even tackle. It was really hard watching him. Trade him away

Idk why the Eagle turned away from the run when it clearly worked. I mean Swift had 1000+ yards in the season, and the Eagles didn’t do anything with him in the playoffs. Bring Swift back.

The Eagles needs: WR3, IOL, DT (if Cox doesn’t return), Edge Rusher, OLB, CB, SS

Overall, I really hated this season. But the saying goes: there’s always next season - RapidFire0024

They did change their defensive scheme midseason, and it was terrible. The linebackers and safeties were clearly confused on multiple plays vs the Giants. This is why changing play callers in-season rarely works, you install the playbook during the summer, you can’t make wholesale changes on the fly in a few days of practice.

The playoff game was so painful to watch. They ran 18 plays in the 2nd quarter and only 2 of them were handoffs. Two! This offense should not have only 6 handoffs in the first half. That’s inexcusable.

You’re right though, there is always next season. The 2005 season was absolutely miserable. But 2006 was a very good bounce back: they went 10-6 and won the division despite Donovan McNabb missing 6 games, they won a playoff game, they had the second highest scoring season in Andy Reid’s tenure at that time, Brian Westbrook and Trent Cole broke out, they went from 0-6 in the division to 6-1… a rebound like that in 2024 and we very well could looking back to this year and thinking we panicked a little bit.

So here’s to next year. Go birds.

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