What we'll learn very soon about Sirianni and the Eagles originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Their won-loss record isn’t the problem.
The Eagles are 2-4 and that’s exactly where most of us thought they’d be after six weeks. In fact, when I did my game-by-game predictions before the season began, I had them opening W-L-L-L-W-L, which is exactly how it’s played out.
No, I think most peoples’ issue with the Eagles right now isn’t about wins and losses, it’s about how they got here. With aimless play calling, no clear offensive identity, one of their best players being ignored week after infuriating week, some of their highest-paid defensive players underachieving, an unprecedented rate of penalties and a head coach who doesn’t appear to have any answers.
The reality is considering their schedule, it was hard to imagine the Eagles being any better than 2-4 at this point. Honestly, what were you expecting?
Did you think they’d beat Dak Prescott, Pat Mahomes or Tom Brady? Nobody did. The Bucs, Cowboys and Chiefs are three of the Top 10 teams in the league. Proven veteran teams with far more talent than the Eagles.
So 2-4 itself isn’t the end of the world. It’s what’s behind the record that’s truly concerning.
Now, the schedule does become more manageable here: A Raiders team with an interim coach, a winless Lions team, the Chargers at home, a Broncos team that’s lost three straight, a Saints team that lost at home to the Giants and then five straight against the Jets, Giants and Washington, three teams that are a combined 5-13.
The point of all this being that now is when we’ll really start to learn about this coach, this quarterback, this team.
Because what they’re going through now is what a lot of teams with new coaches go through.
Can they handle adversity? Are they able to fix their glaring issues on both sides of the football? Can they develop some discipline and drastically reduce the stupid penalties? Can Sirianni come to his senses and start running the ball, say, 35 percent of the time? They’re at 22 percent now, including 15 percent over the last four weeks. Can this staff develop some of the young players who haven’t shown improvement yet?
Sirianni has had some rough moments here so far, and I’d be lying if I said the thought hasn’t crossed my mind that he may be in over his head, that this was a disastrous hire and that things aren’t going to get any better.
But I’ve seen Andy Reid go 2-7 with four blowout losses to open his first season back in 1999 and that worked out OK. Doug Pederson’s first team in 2016 lost 9 out of 11 games at one point. And don’t act like you knew they’d both be successful. Everybody wanted to run them out of town, too.
The biggest thing this team needs to show over the next few weeks is that it’s still fighting. That’s the challenge for any struggling team but especially one with a head coach without a proven track record. How long will they continue to buy in?
So far, the Eagles have played hard for 60 minutes every game. They haven’t always played well. They haven’t always played smart. But they’ve played hard.
If you come back from 12 points down on the road to beat a 3-1 team and five days later turn a 21-point deficit into a 6-point deficit against the Super Bowl champs, that means you’re still battling. Doesn’t mean you’re a good team, just means you haven’t quit on the coach.
The one thing that gets coaches fired after one year is when their team flat-out quits on them. There’s no way to hide it. We all saw it here in 1994, 1998, 2012 and 2015.
That hasn’t happened.
We’ve learned a lot about the 2021 Eagles over the last six weeks, but I guarantee you we’ll learn a lot more over the next six weeks.
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