What Has Happened to the Philadelphia Eagles? Part 1

Updated: Jan 13


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By: Dalton Rice


After defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII just three seasons ago, the Eagles have sunk to the bottom of the NFL barrel. Ever since Carson Wentz tore up his knee at the end of what should have been an MVP season, both Wentz and the team have plummeted to a Jets-esque level of poor play. Within the organization, there have been many questionable moves made by coaches and GM’s that have truly held the team back. Almost instantly after winning the franchises’ first ever Super Bowl, the Eagles roster underwent inefficient and purely poor construction. Aging veterans were retained and the Eagle’s appalling scouting was exposed to the football world. Let’s see what went wrong.


The 2017 season was truly a magical one for Eagles fans, like myself. After finishing the regular season with a 13-3 record, the Eagles, led by eventual Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, fought hard throughout the playoffs, defeating the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings and finally the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Regardless of how banged up the team was, the Eagles underdog mentality proved to be the winning recipe. For a team that was picked as underdogs in every playoff game, the Super Bowl victory tasted a bit sweeter. Primed for a great season in 2018, the Eagles kept many familiar names on the squad, hoping for a repeat of the prior year.


After finishing the year 9-7, the birds beat the Chicago Bears in the Wild Card thanks to Cody Parkey’s “Double Doink” field-goal and then headed to New Orleans for the Divisional Round to take on the first-place, 13-3 Saints. Led by three Pro-Bowlers on offense in Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas (1st Team All-Pro as well), the Saints were picked to put a beat-down on the Eagles who had just barely slipped into the playoffs and past a bad Bears team the previous week. Philly kept it close, but a bad drop by Alshon Jeffery in the final minutes buried the Eagles and sent them packing.

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With a glaring need to upgrade the team via the draft and free agency, the 2018 offseason was an important one for the Eagles. The winter/fall downtime ended up being anything but exciting for the Eagles front office. Many players walked and the team added a few washed-up players like Mike Wallace, Michael Bennett, Haloti Ngata and Darren Sproles (re-signed). A tight cap situation did not allow for much, but the draft was still something to look forward to, given the deep draft class that many predicted. Yet again, General Manager Howie Roseman disappointed the Eagles fandom by trading away multiple picks and drafting low-graded players with the picks they kept. Famously, the Eagles traded the 32nd pick to the Baltimore Ravens who took college football’s Heisman Trophy Winner and future league MVP, Lamar Jackson with the pick. The only notable player the Eagles took in the 2018 draft was Dallas Goedert from South Dakota State University, who has played decently in his TE2 role so far.


Heading into the next season, the Eagles roster looked to be locked and loaded for another playoff push. Carson Wentz was healthy and had no real competition after Nick Foles went to Jacksonville, second-round rookie Miles Sanders was looking to prove himself in the NFL, the veteran wide-receiver room seemed prime to support their franchise QB and the shaky on-paper defense looked to be one of the best in the league. The 2019 season quickly became one to forget as the team suffered many injuries on both sides of the ball that plagued the team down the stretch. Of the 19 skill-position players (QB, RB, WR, TE) who appeared in games, only three of them played in all 16 games, one of them being JJ Arcega-Whiteside, possibly the Eagles biggest draft busts in recent memory. On defense, 35 players appeared in at least one game, only 9 of them played in all 16. Famously, Carson Wentz passed for over 4,000 yards without a single WR who recorded over 500 receiving yards, only the tight ends Zach Ertz (916) and Dallas Goedert (607) were able to break the 500-yard mark. Through all of the injuries and the “practice squad” depth chart, the Philadelphia Eagles finished with a 9-7 record and somehow won the NFC East. In the Wild Card round, the Eagles matched up with the Seattle Seahawks who finished with a 12-4 record. Many expected a Seahawks blowout victory due to the fact that their roster was noticeably stronger and healthier. The matchup that all were excited to see was DK Metcalf versus the Eagles secondary. Metcalf was taken in the second round, seven picks after the Eagles selected JJ Arcega-Whiteside with the 57th pick, Metcalf finished the season with 911 total yards and 7 touchdowns while Arcega-Whiteside only caught 10 passes on 22 targets, along with 169 receiving yards and only one touchdown.

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The Seahawks prevailed slipped past the Eagles by the score of 17-9 after Carson Wentz was knocked out early thanks to a dirty hit, forcing 40 year-old, career backup Josh McCown to play-out the rest of the game even after tearing his left hamstring right off the bone before halftime. The game was very low scoring, which presented the Eagles with multiple chances to catch up, but the birds were not able to get the ball in the endzone. What came in the next offseason was yet another instance of poor financial and talent management. While the Eagles young draftees still have time to develop, the microscope should still be held over the decision makers at Lincoln Financial Field.