Ups and Downs

Posted: September 8th, 2021 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

The 1998 Eagles were an absolute disaster. They scored 15 total points in the first three games of the season. That kind of putrid play led to Ray Rhodes firing and introduced the world to one Andy Reid.

The Eagles scored 24 points in the first half of the 1999 season opener and Reid looked like a combination of Bill Walsh and Vince Lombardi. Life was good. And then the Eagles were shutout in the second half. They lost the game 25-24 in highly frustrating fashion. The next week the Eagles lost to Tampa, 19-5. That was another ugly outing. Week 3 saw the Birds get shutout by Buffalo 26-0.

I was miserable, again, and started to seriously question this Reid fellow. He was more like a combination of Laurel and Hardy. Ugh.

Luckily, I decided not to fire Reid. I gave him more time and he proved to be the best coach in Eagles history.

Doug Pederson took over as Eagles coach in 2016. He got off to a 3-1 start and looked like the perfect antidote to the Chip Kelly experience. Then Lane Johnson got suspended for 10 games and the Eagles went 2-8. The low point was a 32-14 loss to the Bengals in early December. The Eagles looked completely inept and there were even questions about the team’s effort.

For a moment, it looked like Pederson was in completely over his head. Luckily, I decided not to fire Pederson. I gave him more time and he won the Super Bowl the following season.

The Nick Sirianni era will begin on Sunday. We don’t know if he’ll get the Eagles to the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. Sirianni could prove to be brilliant or completely overmatched. We’ll have to wait and see.

One thing to keep in mind is that there will be highs and lows. If history tells us anything, there could be a point this season where we seriously question what Jeff Lurie and Howie Roseman were thinking when they made this hire. This wasn’t a case of Sirianni taking over a team with a strong roster that is ready to win right away. The Eagles have potential, but also plenty of questions.

When a first time coach has a first time defensive coordinator and an unproven QB, there is room for trouble. There will be a point this season when Sirianni looks really good and seems to be the answer. There will also be a point where we wonder how he ever made it out of Mount Union.

The key is to be patient. We have to give him some time to see if he’s the real deal or if he’s just another failed coach. All of Lurie’s hires have had some success. Ray Rhodes got the team to the playoffs his first two years and won coach of the year. Reid turned out to be a great hire. Kelly got the Eagles to the playoffs in his first year and just missed in his second season. Pederson is the only coach in team history to win the Super Bowl.

That’s a pretty good track record. Based on that and what we’ve seen and heard from Sirianni so far I feel good about him. Think of that as short term good. Reid was the only coach who proved he had what it took to sustain excellence. Part of that is that he had long term thinking. We never got that from Rhodes. He lived in the moment. Kelly was too Larry Brown like, always tinkering and treating the players as if they were purely disposable commodities. Pederson was weird. He learned from Reid, but I still never got the sense that he had good long term thinking. He was so in love with veteran players.

Sirianni feels different. He and his staff have embraced young players. These are young coaches and that might help things. You must embrace youth if you want to build a sustainable model. It sure seems like this rookie class has developed nicely so far, but the real test will start on Sunday.

I’m excited to see the Eagles play, but I’m also curious to see how the Sirianni era goes. Finding the right coach makes a world of difference.


The Eagles finally filled out their roster.

Reportedly, the Eagles were holding the spot open to sign CB Jimmy Moreland after Week 1. Someone signed him so the Eagles went to Plan B and added McCain to the active roster. He makes sense for the Eagles. We know Jonathan Gannon focuses on turnovers. McCain is an aggressive corner with outstanding ball skills.

The Eagles need young players at corner. Darius Slay and Steve Nelson are older. The team now has Avonte Maddox, Andre Chachere and McCain are all 25 or younger. We don’t know how good that trio is, but there is a need to at least try to develop young talent. If Maddox finds a home in the slot and one of the other guys becomes a reliable backup, that would be a success.

More on McCain.