No NFL team has made the 2021 calendar year as awkward, turbulent, and ultimately successful as the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles entered 2021 with grim, decadent former Super Bowl champions stuck in what seems like a tough quarterback debate. They end the year as bold playoff hopefuls with a bright future. Along the way, the Eagles changed identities as often as a college freshman changes majors.
The Eagles started with a 20-14 loss to the Washington Football Team on January 3 and finished the 2020 season with a 4-11-1 record. Possible franchise quarterback Carson Wentz had already lined up in favor of rookie Jalen Hurts. Coach Doug Pederson replaced the Hurts with third player Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter of the last game.
Pederson, General Manager Howie Roseman, and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie were openly at odds over both Wentz’s future and the team’s direction. But with Wentz in his second year of a four-year, $128 million contract, and Pederson qualifying for the extra benefit of doubt traditionally given to all Super Bowl-winning coaches, the Eagles seemed to have no choice but to squat for another year. Brutal quarrel and quarterback dragging.
Instead, it was a cross between a standard corporate restructuring and the red wedding in Game of Thrones. Lurie fired Pederson On January 11, a week after the end of the 2020 regular season, the Eagles fell behind schedule in their search for substitutes. Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni replaced Pederson two weeks later. Roseman then devised a mid-February trade that sent Wentz to the Colts in exchange for draft picks, including what would almost certainly be a first-round pick in 2022.
2021 NFL Season News and Analysis
Sirianni was just 39 years old when he was hired. he babbled at a promotional press conference like someone who got into the wrong job interview. The Hurts, a 2020 second-round pick, completed just 52 percent of his passes as a rookie. It looks like Lurie and Roseman have chosen a yes-man coach and a placeholder quarterback in preparation for a long, dismal rebuilding cycle. This perception was reinforced when Roseman traded in the 2021 draft for another first-round pick in 2022. The Eagles’ apparent goals this year will not be to win games, but to get out of capping debt and plan their next steps.
Eagles veterans praised Hurts’ leadership and Sirianni’s high-energy style throughout the summer, but the quarterback and coach went into growing pains early in the season. Hurts is an elusive mixer and an audacious passer, but was initially reluctant to throw the ball. Sirianni’s early game plans relied heavily on screen switching and misdirection tactics. The opponents were quickly caught. The Eagles started the season 2-5, including a 41-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.
Soon after, Sirianni realized that a veteran offensive line, apparently led by perennial Pro Bowlers Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson, was the strength of his roster. Whatever the reason, the Eagles turned from a gadget-happy pass team mid-season to a solid option run team. They now lead the NFL with 2,448 fast yards and are third with 5.1 yards per carry. As the Hurts sprint for 740 yards and 10 touchdowns, Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell have comebacks, who each contributed more than 200 yards. The Eagles became the first team to rush since the 1985 Chicago Bears. 175 yards or more In seven games in a row, he won five.
The hasty success helped the Hurts settle down as a passer and took the pressure off the defence. A slow start to Sunday, the Eagles took an easy 34-10 win over the Giants, pushing their record to 8-7. Football Strangers now give them a 74.3 percent chance to qualify for the playoffs.
Eagles have by no means solved all their problems. Most of their wins have come against stumbling opponents like the Jets, Lions and Panthers. The Hurts are still holding on to the dips and endorsement frenzy, most recently in three interception performances in a Week 12 loss to the Giants. Sirianni is still preoccupied with misdirection passing tactics early in the games, before remembering that the Eagles were doing their best on the offensive line. The team still faces potential 2022 headaches and has a little too much confidence in the aging Super Bowl holders. Assuming they reach the playoffs, the Eagles will likely be vaporized by one of the NFC powerhouses.
However, the Eagles’ painful multi-year rebuilding plans have proven unnecessary if an organization is demanding of their coach, aggressive in the trading market, and proactive in seeking quarterbacks before facing a crisis rather than a post-crisis. The Hurts are now a viable long-term starter, Sirianni appears to be a flexible, player-friendly coach, and multiple first-round picks will go a long way toward raising the Eagles roster next year.
Whatever their fate over the next few weeks, the Eagles made the bold changes they felt were necessary, replacing the pressure of trying to repeat success with a more optimistic attitude, daring to try new things, then daring to try new things when the first new one came along. things did not go well. They are ending the 2021 calendar year as the woes of 2020 make history and there are many reasons to feel optimistic about 2022 and beyond.
May we all be very lucky in the coming year.