Clueless and Gutless are a Bad Combination
If the 2023 season taught us anything, it’s that the current edition of the Eagles is clueless. There’s no better word than clueless to describe a team that never figured out the benefits and pitfalls of blitzing, on both sides of the ball.
Now we can add gutless to the equation. The past week has proven once again how fan-unfriendly the organization has become, terrified of offering their loyal followers the basic information that fuels their interest and excitement.
The Eagles are going to give Nick Sirianni another chance to keep his head-coaching job, despite the worst collapse in team history. They have identified the problem. It was Sean Desai, the defensive coordinator for the first 13 games of the season.
There was no official announcement of Sirianni’s survival, unlike the more direct approach of the hated Dallas Cowboys when they publicly announced the return of their head coach, Mike McCarthy, last week. Sirianni and his puppeteer, Howie Roseman, will hold a news conference on Wednesday. Bring your boots. They are going to pile the manure high for this one.
In fact, to save you some time, here’s what the coach and GM will say at the news conference. I have seen enough of these charades in the past 30 years to know the formula by now.
They will begin by lamenting the worst collapse in team history. They will say there is no good excuse for what happened, even though the second-biggest cause (Sirianni) will be sitting right there. Then they will promise a period of positive change. They will bring in new coaches, all approved by the same bosses (Roseman and owner Jeff Lurie) who gave the nod to the awful assistants who are leaving.
What no one will speak is the truth. No one will say Sirianni is still here because the most devastating of all moves was not the coach’s doing – that Desai was demoted in favor of longtime NFL hack Matt Patricia by the bosses, not the coach.
If Lurie and Roseman were being truly fair about who should pay the price for this spectacular failure, they would identify themselves as the biggest problem. And then they would fire themselves.
That will never happen, nor will they ever admit what really caused the 10-3 Eagles (at the time) to implode thanks to the ineptitude of Patricia. Remember the 41-point Eagles performance in Super Bowl 52? We can all thank the brilliance of Patricia for that. He was on the other sideline. Thank God.
The Eagles (Lurie and Roseman) were clueless to hire Patricia for any role, especially given his recent record of abject failure. And they will be gutless not to admit what really happened.
The truth is, if it were up to this PR-deaf Eagles organization, it would say nothing until the first game of the preseason, when fans and the media who have to scan the sideline to look for new coaching faces.
This hurts to admit, but the Dallas Cowboys care more about their fans than the Eagles do. They ended all speculation and announced the return of McCarthy – facing a deluge of criticism for their unpopular decision. At least Jerry Jones has balls.
The Eagles don’t operate that way, and they haven’t since the best PR person in Philadelphia sports history, Derek Boyko, left the organization for the more fan-friendly (and much colder) confines of Buffalo.
In Boyko’s time here, GM Howie Roseman had his own radio show. Owner Jeffrey Lurie was actually available to talk after some games, rather than the one or two appearances a year he offers now. Boyko couldn’t do anything about Andy Reid’s robot persona, but he showed what a good PR person can do to build a team’s brand despite a fan-unfriendly coach.
Now, even announcements like the Sean Desai firing come through media mouthpieces who are willing to spin the story the Eagles’ way. (The media version of Sirianni, puppets willing to preach the gospel of Lurie and Roseman.) Then the insulting news conference follows, an exercise in spinning that is unworthy of a fan base as loyal as the one in this football-crazed city.
Even before the news conference, I can assure you that Sirianni will still have words of high praise for Desai, despite the historic collapse. He will say he can’t blame injuries for the bad ending, thereby making injuries a public excuse again this year.
Sirianni will take full blame for the collapse, even though he knows the Desai demotion was not his to make. He will do exactly what Lurie and Roseman hired him to do – follow their instructions and then fall on the sword publicly to protect his higher-ups.
Why should fans think he can fix the team now when he did nothing effective during the 1-6 finish? The coach will say every season is different. New players and new coaches will provide new perspective. Blah, blah, blah.
Meanwhile, Roseman will say the ending was not acceptable, and that he is hurting as much as the fans are. If he actually felt that way, the guy sitting next to him would be preparing his resume, but it’s not easy to find the perfect Pinocchio – a coach who does what he’s told and has no reluctance to lie if necessary.
Watch the news conference in high definition if you can. I predict you will actually see Sirianni’s nose grow every time he speaks. I interviewed the guy after every game for two years. He is no big fan of the truth. I can assure you of that. The only people whose reaction he cares about is the GM sitting next to him and the billionaire owner up in his Ivory Tower.
People ask me all the time what I would say if I were still doing a daily show on WIP. What I just wrote above is exactly what I would say. And then – because I am such a big fan of irony – I would spend some time speaking in appreciation of Matt Patricia.
That’s right. I might even call for a Matt Patricia Appreciation Day. If he were not there in Super Bowl 52, blowing the game for the Patriots, the Eagles would still be hunting for their first championship since 1960.
Based on the end of this season, and the insulting news conference scheduled for Wednesday, it is the last Super Bowl parade I will experience in my lifetime.
Clueless and gutless are a bad combination.