After a devastating and shocking home loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals, Jalen Hurts said, “We still have everything in front of us to do what we want to do.”
Yes, he is correct, but not really. Someone who smokes two packs a day and hopes to run a marathon, climb Mount Everest and live until they’re 94-years-old has all those things in front of them, too, right up until they don’t. After two packs a day for years, all those goals remain in front of them in theory, but the condition of the vessel simply won’t get them there. The damage has been done. The lungs are beyond repair. It’s simply not going to happen.
This is where the Eagles find themselves heading into Week 18. Everything is still out in front of them but only because the future hasn’t become the present just yet. The Super Bowl aspirations from September are a smoker’s lungs; black, damaged and clinging to life. The poison sustained to this point is incurable. The Eagles are just playing out the string.
I’m not even going to discuss the defense because that unit and coaching brain trust are so far gone only an offseason renovation will bring it back. The offense is the only rational hope and it’s just not going to happen because the Eagles don’t know who they are.
Are they an explosive offense? A ground and pound offense? A spread offense? A west coast offense? Is their quarterback a mobile threat or not? I don’t know. They don’t even know. The only identity this offense has is the Brotherly Shove and you can’t run that one single play and churn out 70 yard drives. The offensive line wouldn’t survive.
This is entirely on Nick Sirianni. He gave the reigns to Brian Johnson and Johnson is completely lost. There’s no rhythm. The Eagles look great for a drive and then are dreadful for the next two or three. Even the worst teams can generate panicked drives that churn out yards in do or die situations at the end of the game. The Eagles haven’t crossed midfield in their last two attempts.
The ground game behind a bruising offensive line has been there all season and Johnson refuses to make it the backbone of the offense. There are two elite receivers on the outside and a really good tight end and the Eagles continually get conservative in 3rd and long situations. The quarterback appears injured and intent on avoiding contact and yet Johnson calls half a dozen designed QB runs.
Nothing makes sense, and I don’t care what AJ Brown said Wednesday, the frustration in that locker room is 100% aimed at the coaches. The offensive players are far from perfect but they’re not on the field making countless mistakes like the defense. The talent is there. The design is not.
Sirianni hired Johnson and let this go on too long. It was clear after the Chiefs game the Eagles needed a change at the top of the offense. Find a more talented offense in the league from top to bottom. You can’t. Outside of a solid 3rd receiver there is no glaring weakness on the field. This offense is scuttled from the sideline. It’s been clear for months and Sirianni ignored it.
His failure will ultimately cost a legitimate title contender a shot at contending. There will be no sunset walk-off for Philly legends Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and (probably) Lane Johnson.
Instead, there will be a burning vessel sinking into the abyss because the captain allowed a galley fire to smolder when it could’ve been extinguished. And on that lifeboat Hurts can say to himself, everything is in front of us, because technically, it is, even if it isn’t.