Dysfunctional: not operating normally or properly.
It’s the best way to describe Philadelphia in 2020 in what seemed like a roller-coaster ride from start to finish. Doug Pederson is now gone, Carson Wentz is on his way out (or is he?), and Zach Ertz has his bags packed. What in the world happened to the Eagles who just three years ago were celebrating under the confetti in Minneapolis?
To sum up the year, look back (slightly), to Week 16. The Eagles, with a win against Dallas, despite the coaching staff and front office seemingly at their wit’s end, would have set up a showdown with Washington for the division crown. Instead, they were dismantled 37-17 by Andy Dalton and a Cowboys offense that totaled more than 500 yards.
An offseason of changes was expected, and team owner Jeffrey Lurie didn’t wait to fire the first shot.
A once considered top-10 NFL quarterback, Wentz’s downfall could be attributed to many things.
Just three seasons ago, the former No. 2 overall selection was an MVP candidate prior to tearing his ACL just three weeks before the playoffs. Fast forward to 2020 and Wentz didn’t look like he belonged in professional football.
His numbers were abysmal, and it led even the biggest Wentz supporters to begin to doubt if he was indeed the future of the Eagles’ franchise.
Was it a product of the system? Maybe. But let’s look back.
His top targets in Philadelphia’s Super Bowl-winning season of 2017 were Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery. They both were on the roster in 2020. Many would consider Miles Sanders an upgrade over LeGarrette Blount, and the addition of Dallas Goedert opposite Ertz provided another weapon to use at Wentz’s discretion. The injuries up front rattled the offense, but injuries happen to every team, at every position. It’s a next-man-up progression in the NFL, and Wentz is now on the outside looking in.
Roseman became general manager in 2010 before his promotion as the team’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations in 2014.
The fact of the matter is, you aren’t going to hit on every single draft pick. The 1974 Steelers would disagree, but it’s the sad reality for fans who boast and boo at every selection of the annual event.
Enter your scouts and football operations staff. Having that mesh in the front office is what all top-tier franchises have. But for Philadelphia and Roseman, it’s been increasingly common over the past half-decade to miss on “can't-miss” prospects. Let’s take a look at notable selections taken following the Eagles in recent drafts. I’m sure you’ll recognize some names:
2020: WR Justin Jefferson (22nd overall, Minnesota Vikings)
Eagles selection: WR Jalen Reagor (21st overall)
2019: D.K. Metcalf (64th overall, Seattle Seahawks)
Eagles selection: WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (57th overall)
2017: George Kittle (146th overall, San Francisco 49ers)
Eagles selection: Donnell Pumphrey (132nd overall)
That’s just in the last four drafts. I won’t bring up the dumpster-fire that was 2011 either with Danny Watkins, Jaiquawn Jarrett, and Curtis Marsh. The commonality here is Roseman. He has failed continuously in supplying the Eagles roster with talent—whether from the draft or free agency. His job is to build a roster; He has failed. It’s time to move on.
As it is in every major sport, success, or lack thereof, falls reliantly on the coaching staff. It’s just how it works. But, in this instance, Pederson didn’t leave much wiggle room.
Pederson’s relationship with Wentz was questioned throughout the year, his management of a depleted roster was inadequate, and the straw that broke the camel’s back came in Week 17 following the clown-show that ensued as Nate Sudfeld took the field leaving many questioning where Philadelphia goes next.
The friction between him and Lurie was apparent, and now, Philadelphia much search for a new head coach.
The bench-boss in Philadelphia has gone from superstardom in the City of Brotherly Love following the Eagles’ first Super-Bowl title, to unemployment following a 4-11-1 season, and now… the Jets?
Yes, the Jets. Rich Kotite flashbacks, anyone?
According to reports, Pederson has been linked to New York due to his relationship with Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas. Pederson landing in New York could be a fit, but a full rebuild would be required, and I don’t see Pederson delving into a project that massive.
It’s not good when your quarterback, executive vice president of player personnel, and head coach are all targeted in a lackluster year: there were many individuals to point fingers at for the lack of success in Philadelphia.
The main culprits inside the Eagles’ harrowing 2020 are listed below in order of most to least blame:
- Carson Wentz’s regression led to decreased roster chemistry and put No. 11 out of a job.
- Zero impact players via free agency or the draft has Howie Roseman on the hot seat.
- Injuries, decision-making, overall play; Nothing worked in 2020. Doug Pederson was a mute voice in a veteran locker room and just got fired for it.