We were all fools to believe that the Philadelphia Eagles would come out of their Week 9 bye week and look like an improved team from what they have been all season. The loss to the New York Giants might have been the worst of the Doug Pederson era. The team was poorly coached in all 3 phases, had a piss-poor gameplan going in, was undisciplined with numerous penalties, and was downright sloppy in their execution. The only bright spot you could take away from this game would be the performance of the run game with the return of Miles Sanders and the continued heroic play of Boston Scott whenever he plays the Giants. But at the same time, what good is a great run game if it’s not being used enough?

One of the toughest, and most important, questions to answer right now is whether there’s any hope that the team could turn things around. A good portion of the mistakes that were made in this past Sunday’s game is correctable. However, if things can’t be fixed and the team continues to perform this poorly for the rest of the season, what then?

I don’t like to be the pessimistic type. I also don’t try to be too optimistic. But as someone who tries to be as objective as possible, it’s very tough for me to look at the organization from top to bottom right now and say the long-term outlook is encouraging.

Everyone has an opinion on what they believe should happen with the team and the changes that need to be made, and I’m no exception. If it were up to me, I’d do the following this offseason regardless of how the rest of the season plays out for the Eagles:

  • Doug Pederson keeps his head coaching job, but an actual offensive coordinator is hired, and play-calling duties are handed over to them.
  • Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is fired. I don’t want to hear about him not having enough talent on the defensive side. Reports have stated how Schwartz has plenty of sway when it comes to personnel on that side of the ball, so lack of talent can’t be an excuse anymore. And regardless of who’s on the field, there are too many flaws with his scheme and game-planning. It doesn’t help his case that numerous players who have left the Eagles have flourished elsewhere (i.e. Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones).
  • Force Howie Roseman to relegate personnel decision-making to someone else who is more qualified. Roseman can stay in charge of finances and the salary cap.
  • Have a discussion with Carson Wentz telling him that if he doesn’t perform at a consistently high level in 2021 then there’s no guaranteeing his job is safe beyond that season. Wentz’s contract secures him as the team’s QB for the rest of this season and the next, but there is a potential out on his contract after that. He’s being paid to perform like one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, and if he can’t do that then it’s time to move on. But he isn’t going anywhere until then, and nor should he.

That’s the approach I would take, and I’m sure many would agree. However, I highly doubt that’s the same approach owner Jeffrey Lurie would take. Here’s a realistic expectation of what will probably happen this upcoming offseason:

  • Doug Pederson keeps his job for at least one more season and isn’t forced to give up play-calling duties.
  • Jim Schwartz is fired.
  • Howie Roseman doesn’t go anywhere, nor is he forced to give up personnel authority.

As much as I hate to say it, we all know this is the likely scenario, and to me, it’s troublesome for numerous reasons.

First, Pederson is a great leader but it’s evident now that he’s not a great offensive mind. He needs an offensive coordinator to design plays that have a purpose and know how to play to the strengths of the players. When you compare Pederson’s scheme to someone like Kyle Shanahan’s, it’s night and day. With Shanahan, there’s direction and meaning to every single play that’s called. Run plays and pass plays are married together to make them look like each other, which confuses defenses. He knows his players and makes sure the play designs emphasize what they’re good at while masking what they’re bad at. Meanwhile, Pederson has struggled with all these things since Frank Reich left.

Second, Roseman’s shortcomings with roster-building, particularly when it comes to drafting, have reached its tipping point. He’s not as bad as some proclaim, but he’s still not good enough. There are too many glaring misses in the earlier rounds of the draft, such as selecting JJ Arcega-Whiteside over DK Metcalf or Jalen Hurts over Jeremy Chinn. And it doesn’t help that he isn’t on the same page as his coaching staff in terms of the identity of the team and the type of players needed to mold that identity.

That leads me to my 3rd point: Jalen Hurts. The reason I have reservations and concerns about moving on from Carson Wentz has a lot to do with the fact that Jalen Hurts would likely be handed the starting job. Now, I do like Hurts and believe he does have some potential. However, I don’t see a QB who can be one of the top tier signal-callers in the league. Wentz has that type of talent and ability, but his issue is consistency. With Hurts, I don’t see that type of ceiling. He’s a phenomenal runner and a team-first type of leader, but his arm talent is only above-average. His accuracy has improved in each season during his college career, but the arm strength isn’t anything special. Furthermore, his playstyle doesn’t fit Pederson’s scheme and philosophy. Pederson, like his mentor Andy Reid, focuses on the passing game and uses a West-Coast foundation with Spread concepts mixed in. But the scheme that would probably fit Hurts best would be a zone-read type of system similar to what Lamar Jackson runs in Baltimore.

These are all deep-rooted problems within the organization that have the potential to last for a long time. I’ve always liked Lurie and felt he was a good owner, but he’s not without his faults. And unfortunately, his loyalty to Pederson and Roseman could be a fault that dooms this team for the next couple of years.

I hope my projections are wrong. I hope Doug Pederson can wake up and finally be a great play-designer and play-caller. I hope Howie Roseman can improve the scouting department and stop making boneheaded decisions in the early rounds of the draft. I hope Carson Wentz can get his confidence back and play like the QB we all believe he can be. But even though my heart tells me all those things are still possible, my head tells me otherwise. I can handle a bad 2020 season, especially considering 2020 has been a total s**t-show anyway. But what’s extremely discouraging as a fan is looking at the next few seasons and anticipating more of the same: bad football.

One of the reasons the NFL is a great league is because of its parity. Any team can go from last to first in any given year. Heck, the Eagles did it in 2017 and won the Super Bowl. But once you remove that hope of parity, football just isn’t as fun anymore.

Here’s to hoping Eagles football can be fun again.