I like most Eagles fans are truly and pleasantly surprised with the turnaround of our Birds in 21. We have gone from in just one calendar year a 4-11-1 team with a disgruntled baby man of a QB, a head coach who seemingly is going or staying depending on the day of the week, and a team with so many leaks coming from its complex it would make the captain of the Titanic concerned. So how did we get here? How did we get the Unknown that is the Eagles?
KEEP OR FIRE DOUG PETERSON
Last January Howie and Doug held a joint end-of-the-season press conference. By the way, a joint end-of-the-season press conference with both the HC and GM is very rarely done if ever. On that winter afternoon, I like most fans watched as question after question was fired at Howie, rightfully so. I might add we had just spent the last four months listening to Doug trip and stammer his way through the weekly pressers in his attempt to explain what had gone wrong with the 2020 Eagles. Now it was Howie’s turn.
On this day the media for once did not disappoint. Howie was bombarded with questions about Carson Wentz’s future. They asked about the latest first-round draft pick Jalen Reagor’s failure. He had a slew of other edge-of-your-seat questions about the dumpster fire of the 2020 Eagles. In the end, Howie was Howie. In Howie fashion answered all the questions without answering any of the questions.
The one thing that seemed to be clear was that Doug was going to be back for his 6th season as head coach. Wait just one minute. Within a few days of the press conference word had come down. Doug was being summoned to Eagles owner Jeff Lurie’s Florida compound. This was to further expand on his plans with the Football team. As we waited through a very anxious weekend every Eagles fan had their own theory about what the outcome of this meeting was.
Doug was out, end of the story. Now whether you believe it was a power struggle between Doug and Howie that Doug lost, or if it was Jefferies decision, or if it was Doug’s decision it doesn’t matter. What matters is the Eagles just less than two years removed from winning Super Bowl 52 did not have a head coach.
CARSON DRAMA, A NEW HC, AND A NEW SEASON
After almost one and a half nauseating months of Carson Wentz speculation, the deal was finally done to send the baby to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for two draft picks a 3rd round pick in 2021, and a conditional second-round pick in 2022 the condition being that if he played 75% of the offensive plays or if he played 70% of the offensive plays and they make the playoffs that pick would be a 1st round pick in 2022. We all know by now what happened LOL.
Before the Wentz deal was worked out the Eagles shocked the football world by hiring former Colts Offensive Coordinator Nick Siriani. He came with no head coaching experience and very little coordinator experience but wham boom there he was. Sprinkle in the 2021 NFL free agency period and the draft and a new season we have.
2021 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
In September of 2021 in Atlanta GA, the Birds embarked on what was largely thought by many to be an unknown type of season. From the unknown HC and young coaching staff, to the cap-strapped lack of free-agent splashes, to the uncertainty of another Howie Roseman draft the Eagles were off and running in 2021.
An opening day win followed by a home-opening day loss was followed by a 1-4 over the next five weeks. This included the trading of long-time all-time Super Bowl winning TE Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals. oy was the sky falling in Philadelphia.
To his credit, first-year HC Nick Siriani made the offensive adjustments, went to a more of a run-heavy package. The defense adjusted. Also with the help of a friendlier stretch of the schedule, the Birds ran off a 7-2 clip to clinch a playoff spot with one week left in the regular season.
The Birds enter the 2021 NFC Playoffs as the 7th seed there are a few hardcore realities about being the 7th seed. First, no matter what, no home games. That seems to be ok with the 2021 Eagles. They sported a better road record 6-3 than a home record 3-5 in 2021. It’s game on against the NFL elite. The Birds will draw the defending Super Bowl Champions and the goat in round one. Finally, the biggest reality is probably the best weapon the Eagles have going into the Playoffs is the UNKNOWN. No one really knows what to expect from this team. The Eagles need to use that.
HOW WILL THIS END
The biggest question of them all. Can a team that averaged less than one turnover a game, averaged six penalties a game, only beat one team with a .500 or better record all season, and has a flawed slow starting offense and defense compete in the Playoffs? It’s the Philadelphia Eagles UNKNOWN.
Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.