To say that the 2019 season hasn’t gone the way the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans had hoped is an understatement. They were looked at as having one of the deepest rosters on both sides of the ball and were considered Super Bowl favorites by many in the media. But injuries, bad coaching, and certain players not playing as well as they should be has resulted in an incredibly disappointing year, and Week 13’s loss to the Miami Dolphins is rock bottom. The team isn’t good; it’s that simple. And even though the NFC East is still up for grabs and the Eagles still control their destiny, is there even a point in doing so if they’re not good enough to contend for a Super Bowl? Wouldn’t it just be better for them to lose the rest of their games and get a higher draft pick?
I’m aware of the importance of draft picks and the difference selecting one spot ahead/behind can make. It’s been talked about plenty of times before how Andy Reid and the Eagles were all set on selecting Russell Wilson in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft until the Seahawks took him before they could. Can you imagine how different things would be if Wilson was an Eagle? That shows how one pick could be the difference in landing an elite player.
Furthermore, losing out would most likely result in some necessary coaching changes that need to be made. Chris Mortenson said on Monday that “barring a run in the playoffs there’s going to be some significant changes on the Philadelphia staff” outside of Doug Pederson. If the Eagles were to win the division, make the playoffs, and somehow even win a playoff game, that may prevent those changes from happening.
— A2D Radio (@a2dradio_com) December 2, 2019
I can see and understand why some fans would feel that losing out would be more beneficial for the team long-term. However, I don’t agree with it.
The first and obvious reason why it wouldn’t be beneficial for the Eagles to lose out is that, just as teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants have shown in the past, you just need to get into the playoffs and from there, anything can happen. It isn’t so much about how you played in September to November but how you play in December to February. So if the Eagles were to go on a 4-game winning streak they’d have a lot of momentum going into the playoffs and could be one of those teams that just catches fire at the right time.
I do understand though if people don’t want to put too much weight into that argument. It’s very tough to picture this Eagles team turning things around significantly to the point where they could contend with any of the top teams in the league right now. The current issues don’t seem to be so easy to fix. But even if you put that argument to the side, there are other things to consider still.
One of the biggest things missing from Carson Wentz’s resume is his lack of playoff experience. In both Eagles playoff runs the past 2 seasons he’s been on the sidelines with an injury. Consider what Wentz has had to go through since the 2017 season; he went from being the frontrunner for NFL MVP to quickly watching the rest of his teammates win the Super Bowl, which was the goal that was laid out for him the moment he was drafted 2nd overall, without him. The following season he rushes back from his injury only to have the team struggle as he tried to get back to top form. And then after being sidelined with another injury the team turns their season around and makes the playoffs, again without him.
There isn’t a single person that wouldn’t be motived like crazy to go out and prove they’re capable of leading their team on a playoff run. Winning the last 4 games of the season and having a chance at finally playing in the postseason is something that would be of great benefit to Wentz at this point of his career, even if it doesn’t lead to a Super Bowl this season.
Wentz isn’t the only one that would benefit from the Eagles going on a run in December. Contrary to what some fans may say, there are some young players on this team with talent and potential. Guys like Dallas Goedert, Josh Sweat, Avonte Maddox, Andre Dillard, Miles Sanders, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside could be key players for the future, and it’s important to have them learn how to find ways to consistently win games in the NFL. It’s very possible that a good number of starters or other key contributors on the team right now won’t be back beyond this season, so developing the young talent as much as possible is a priority.
— Charles “Chux” Maranan (@ChuxMaranan) December 4, 2019
— A2D Radio (@a2dradio_com) December 5, 2019
If you want to focus on the NFL Draft and where the Eagles pick, you must also realize that there’s a reason tanking doesn’t work in football. The NFL Draft isn’t like the NBA Draft where there are generally only a few good players each year. Teams can find talent anywhere in the NFL Draft regardless of where they pick. There are hits and misses in the top 5-10 selections just like there are hits and misses in the bottom 5-10 selections of the first round. So, while winning more games and selecting lower in the round may not help get a certain player a team may be targeting on their draft board that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other prospects with great potential where they pick.
Finally, for Eagles fans, it’s never a good or enjoyable thing to see the rival Dallas Cowboys win the division. Are the Cowboys a great team that can contend? They most likely aren’t. But as mentioned before, you never really know what can happen once you get into the postseason. It’s not impossible for the Cowboys to catch a lot of momentum and make a run of their own. Therefore, it would be nice to not have to worry about that and just prevent it by winning the division over them.
In the end, regardless of what fans and members of the media are going to view as more beneficial, that’s not going to affect the mentality and objective of the Eagles players and coaches. Losing games because it could end up giving the organization a higher pick isn’t something that’s going to enter their minds at all. And that goes for all 32 teams in the league as well. They’re all going to go out on the field every week and try to win. That’s why they go out and play. Players and coaches don’t “tank”. And for the Eagles, if there’s still a chance, there’s still going to be fight in them.