Through the first seven weeks of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles have been an utter disappointment. Not only has the team’s performance on the field been a disaster, but off the field distractions have continued as well. Whether it’s the below average cornerbacks constantly giving up huge plays and making Kirk Cousins suddenly look like a superstar, or the “anonymous source inside the Eagles locker room” who has been talking badly about his own team, the Eagles look far from the “Super Bowl Contender” that they were made out to be prior to the start of the season.
While there is plenty of blame to go around for this season’s struggles, a lot of it starts with two guys high up in the organization: Head Coach Doug Pederson and General Manager Howard Roseman.
Before last Sunday’s prime- time divisional matchup with the Cowboys, Pederson guaranteed that the Eagles were going to beat their rival. This combative stance came just days after the team released linebacker Zachary Brown in part because he spoke poorly about his former teammate Kirk Cousins before a game against the Vikings.
“We’re going down to Dallas, our guys are gonna be ready to play. And we’re gonna win that football game and when we do we’re in first place in the NFC East, we control our own destiny, we’re right where we need to be,” Pederson said in an interview with morning radio show, 94WIP.
Week in and week out Pederson has failed to get his team to start the game strong, and with the Eagles constantly having to dig themselves out of a hole, it’s understandable why the team is currently 3-4 in the season.
This year, the Eagles rank a dismal 26th in first-quarter score differential and 25th in halftime score margin, according to stats from The Ringer. The team’s offensive struggles can be traced back to former Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich’s 2017 departure to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. The Eagles’ offense hasn’t been the same under new coordinator Mike Groh. If the Eagles don’t get their offense back on track, they will most likely be looking for a new play-caller come January.
Still, Doug Pederson can’t be the only one who deserves blame. Howie Roseman, I’m looking at you. While Roseman is considered to be one of the “best” and most ”aggressive” general manager’s in the league, his handling of the cornerback position has been disappointing.
His decision to bring back Ronald Darby on a one-year $9 million deal instead of going for a free agent cornerback has haunted the team. Not to mention, the Eagles opted against drafting a cornerback in the 2019 NFL Draft. Then, Roseman had a chance during this season to acquire Jalen Ramsey, who is widely considered around the league as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. While the Eagles were reportedly in contact with the Jaguars every week about Ramsey, the Los Angeles Rams beat the Eagles’ offer. The Rams traded two first-round picks, as well as a fourth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for Ramsey.
According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Eagles offer for Ramsey consisted of just one first-round and one second-round pick, which ultimately was not enough. Giving up two first-round picks and a fourth would not have been a bad trade for the Eagles to make because it’s likely that they would not be able to get a cor- nerback as talented and on the same level as Jalen Ramsey.
Besides getting a cornerback prior to the Oct. 29 trade deadline, the Eagles need to take care of the “anonymous source” inside the locker room that’s disparaging everyone from the quarterback to the coach. Whether it’s Alshon Jeffery or another player on the team tell- ing ESPN’s Josina Anderson information, this can no longer occur. This type of behavior has the potential to separate a locker room and create a dangerous culture for a team that’s trying to reach the playoffs.
Despite the dysfunctionality and bad cornerback play, the Eagles need to stay focused as they head to Buffalo to play the Bills (5-1) Oct. 27. This type of game can make or break a season, and ultimately will tell the Eagles fan base if the team is really a disaster this year or if the past two brutal losses have been just a “phase.”