The term being thrown around Philadephia is the “sky is falling.” Head coach Doug Pederson mentioned it, as did Eagles fans and media members.
While there is a lot that needs improvement before this team can be considered Super Bowl contenders, the sky isn’t falling. The walls might be caving in ever so slightly — particularly with a rash of leaks — but the clouds are still high above and at a proper distance. However, there is no denying the dysfunction and lack of communication. That’s a big problem seven weeks into the season, so let’s figure out a way to fix it.
“It seems like everything is about the negative with players or with coaches and there is not enough positive,” Pederson said. “So for me to be able to be positive with the guys, to maintain — to me, that’s what they need to hear. Even as coaches, we’re always coaching the negative. Always coaching the mistake, and we don’t give them enough praise when it’s good.”
Top 5 Ways to Fix the Eagles & Save the Season
Fire Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz
It might be harsh, but there are murmurs around the NovaCare Complex that Jim Schwartz’s heart isn’t in it. He had hoped to leverage the Eagles’ unexpected Super Bowl championship to another head-coaching gig — remember, Schwartz was head coach of the Lions from 2009-2013 — and now he’s kind of rinding it out in limbo. To be fair, he hasn’t had the best personnel and did oversee a 10-sack performace two weeks ago. It doesn’t matter.
His scheme seems a bit outdated for today’s NFL. More importantly, the younger players aren’t learning and growing and tapping their full potential under him. They are tuning him out. The best move is to fire Schwartz and start fresh. If the Eagles want a familiar face, give Emmitt Thomas a call. He was the defensive backs coach in Kansas City last year and served as Eagles defensive coordinator from 1995-1998. Want a bolder choice? Look at Pepper Johnson, the former Giant and Patriots linebackers coach now coaching in the XFL.
Cut Nelson Agholor Immediately
Look, the team isn’t signing him to a long-term extension. If they were, the ink would have been dry on that deal before training camp. The Eagles have already wasted $9.4 million on an average slot receiver who suddenly has a strange case of the yips. The fans already loathe Agholor for his perceived lack of effort and bad hands, so appease them by cutting him outright. It would be a PR coup for the organization, plus those extra snaps could go to rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The coaching staff might as well see what the second-rounder can do.
Promote Duce Staley to Offensive Coordinator
No one is really sure what Duce Staley’s role is on the coaching staff. He’s listed as assistant head coach and running backs coach, but everyone knows that head coach Doug Pederson calls the scripted plays. Offensive coordinator Mike Groh also has say into what gets called when and where.
The Eagles should name Staley as offensive coordinator and take that responsibility off Pederson’s plate, similar to what they did when Marty Mornhinweg took the play-calling reins from Andy Reid in 2006. Groh can return to his former role as wide receivers coach where he thrived in 2017. Remember, Staley was getting head-coaching looks after the Super Bowl win. Let’s see what he can do.
Make a Trade Before the Deadline
It doesn’t have to be a blockbuster at this point, just do something. The other contending teams in the NFC — 49ers, Seahawks, Rams — have all bolstered their rosters via trades while the Eagles did nothing. GM Howie Roseman, already under fire for not getting Jalen Ramsey, still has a few days to pull of some kind of deal. Philadelphia has glaring holes at edge-rusher, defensive tackle, cornerback and wide receiver. Make something happen. There are a few names out there available for the taking that could be perfect fits, guys like Jets receiver Robby Anderson and Broncos cornerback Chris Harris and Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley. Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson would be the crown jewel.
Tell Everyone to Stop Talking
This seems too obvious, but no one is getting the clue. The majority of reporters in the locker room aren’t friends or allies, so why are key players spilling secrets to anonymous sources? Even worse, why are teammates calling each other out in the media? It started with an unnamed source (reportedly Alshon Jeffery) complaining about the front office and quarterback, then trickled down to Lane Johnson and Malcolm Jenkins getting into a back and forth.
These are not things that happen on championship teams. Shut up. Stop talking. Start fining players for running their mouths. Maybe the Eagles need to bring Hall-of-Famer Brian Dawkins in for a no-nonsense call-out session to remind everyone what matters. This team has thrived as underdogs in the past, and they need to get that “eye of the tiger” back.
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