When Andy Reid’s Eagles left the field for the final time in 2012, Eagles fans felt as if they’d been pushed of a cliff, and now sat in the abyss below. Once the free agent cast of 2011 entered stage left, things looked sunny in Philadelphia. But, two years of chaos and disaster left the team with a bottom-feeing 4-11 record in 2012, and one game left to suffer through until the offseason arrived.
That day, when the Eagles left Metlife Stadium after a lifeless loss, fans were frustrated, gloomy, and downright shocked at the way things had snowballed in the past two years. After hosting a playoff game in 2010, the Eagles left New York two years later at the bottom of the barrel. Fans hoped for brighter days ahead, and for these kins of feelings to never return, when the last game of the season is nothing more than an exhibition.
Now, two years later, history repeats.
Who would’ve thought one month ago that the Eagles would be playing for absolutely nothing Sunday? As bad as the 2012 season was, and as good as this 2014 season seemed, both ended the same way, and yielded the same results: no plan in place for the secondary, and not a clue as to who will be under center next season.
Every gamble Howie Roseman made this season has, thus far, failed. Roseman gambled on taking a “project” in Marcus Smith. At this point, Smith seems to be a building without a foundation, a project no NFL team would want to work with. The departure of DeSean Jackson, for whatever reason it occurred, has left the offense in shambles, and without an identity. Last year, the Eagles hung their hat on big plays, as well as fast drives. This year, defenses are playing so tight without the threat of Jackson that the offense barely has enough space to get their lineman out for screen plays.
Chip Kelly’s aura of being an offensive genius has flown out the window for the time being. Without skill players on offense, Kelly was left lost against superior coaching on the other side of the field. Translation: he was out-coached, and, without the players to overmatch other teams, he was left on the losing end too many times.
But the Eagles of 2014 showed serious promise at times. The defensive front seven swarmed like bees for much of the season, and certainly stamped themselves as an above-average defense, if some secondary assistance is provided. The offense scored buckets of points at times, and could return to 2013 form with a right guard replacement and a new quarterback—possibly Marcus Mariota—to drive the reigns
So as the team prepares for a meaningless, useless, embarrassing game against the Giants, fans will reflect on what could have been. Significant changes are needed, because Chip Kelly and his staff cannot magically elevate a weak team to the Super Bowl. This season proved that while coaching can win regular season games, players win championships. The current Eagles squad is some secondary help and a quarterback away from Lombardi contention.
Unfortunately, they’l seem a million miles away when they leave the field in East Rutherford this Sundy.Sunday.