Everyone has to enjoy a near-shutout against the Cowboys, even if Dallas did muddle through the meaningless game led a backup quarterback. The Eagles did lose to John Skelton earlier in the season, so at the very least this counts as progress.
The Eagles have put together their best and most consistent stretch of the season over the last three weeks, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t continue against Washington this weekend. But the broader questions remain as to how to interpret this recent upswing.
Are these the “real” Eagles that just needed too much time to coalesce into a playoff-caliber team? Does this justify last offseason’s moves and support keeping the same structure in place going into 2012?
Although we’ll have plenty of offseason to analyze it further, I don’t think the answer to either of those questions is yes. Recent success, especially against poor opponents, can cloud our judgment and fabricate an upward trend where there is none. Nor does any improvement at this point explain why it took so long. I flat out reject any argument that blames the lockout, since once again: every team had to deal with the same thing.
But on a subjective, inside-Novacare maneuvering level? This final month could be just enough to justify maintaining the status quo.
The hope is that a disappointing season like this would force management to confront the decisions that led to such an outcome. They might find and attempt to correct the failures in drafting, free agency, playcalling, etc.
Instead, the danger of this potential false positive final month is that it allows the Eagles front office to conveniently ignore all of those mistakes, if they so desire. I sincerely hope that isn’t the case.