Does Nick Sirianni know what he’s doing?
The defining moment in this wholly unsatisfying 11-4 Eagles season came with about five minutes left on Christmas Day, when Darius Slayton blew past Reed Blankenship and caught a 69-yard touchdown pass, bringing a terrible Giants team back to within five points of an improbable win.
How could this happen?
How could a wide receiver get that open in that situation?
How could this scenario play out, game after game, without the Eagles fixing the problem?
Remember the last-minute bomb Patrick Mahomes threw to a wide-open Marquez Valdes-Scantling last month, a catastrophe saved only by a mind-boggling drop on what would have been the game-winning play?
Or how about the two deep balls the Eagles left uncovered in that still-infuriating 92-yard game-winning drive by Seattle a week before the Slayton snafu? Over-the-hill cornerback James Bradberry accounted for 86 of the 92 yards in that jarring march to defeat.
When the ball nestled in Slayton’s hands on Christmas, I finally admitted the truth about the 2023 Eagles. They are not a flawed football team. They are just a bad one, the admirable record notwithstanding.
I cannot recall an Eagles team I like less than the current one, for some very basic reasons.
No. 1 – They are still very talented. Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith. Dallas Goedert, D’Andre Swift, Hasaan Reddick, Darius Slay, Jalen Carter, Fletcher Cox (yes, he is playing well again), Jake Elliott and new return star Britain Covey are all star-level players. With all of that star power, young and old, the fact that they cannot put together one clean, smart game is maddening.
No. 2 – Well if the players aren’t the biggest problem, then the coaching must be, right? Definitely It’s pretty clear the Eagles lost the brains of their offense when Shane Steichen left to be the head coach in Indianapolis. With him, he took all of the innovation and creativity. In the other new coordinator, the Eagles did the impossible. They found someone as inept as the dolt who left, Jonathan Gannon. The two new coordinators, Brian Johnson and Sean Desai, it is safe to safe, were both bad choices.
No. 3. – Nick Sirianni is coming unglued. The head coach went nuclear at the end of the 33-25 win, screaming at Hasaan Reddick after a bogus roughing-the-passer call, then trained his ire on the linebacker coach, Jeremiah Washburn, before ending the tirade with some harsh words for DeVonta Smith. Of course, then after the game, the coach primarily blamed himself.
No. 4. – It is hardly a secret the head coach is a puppet for owner Jeff Lurie and GM Howie Roseman. See any of my recent posts for reference. What Sirianni doesn’t fully grasp is that if the Eagles fall far short this year – they are one-and-done in the playoffs, for sure – his bosses will blame him, not themselves. Hell, Doug Pederson won a Super Bowl here and got the boot.
No. 5. – This may be more my problem than the fans’, but I have grown tired of the two Siriannis – the lunatic on the sideline and the cliché machine off it. If he doesn’t respect the fans enough to answer questions honestly, the fans have no reason to respect him back – especially with his team struggling mightily because of his coaching.
When this season ends in disappointment, the Eagles will cite a host of mitigating circumstances – injuries, growing pains, adjusting to the new coordinators, blah, blah, blah. The sad truth will be that the failure will be organizational, starting with the smug owner, the linebacker-blind GM and the schizophrenic head coach.
I love football season.
Just not this football season.
And I have seen more than enough of the 2023 Eagles.