There is no doubt that Eagles’ fans are among the most passionate fan bases on the planet. One would be hard-pressed to find a single NFL season in which these green-blooded Philly fans didn’t deal with a roller coaster of emotions. Sure, the argument for the 2017 season is debatable, but, even then, the Philly loyal had to deal with watching an absurd amount of injuries pile up with, of course, the culmination of their loss of the sure-fire MVP candidate of the year; Carson Wentz.
The NFL’s 100th season was yet another roller coaster for the Eagles from the Week 1 comeback against the Redskins to the heart-wrenching loss to the Seahawks in the Wildcard round. On a roller coaster, one must climb a hill until a peak is reached. The hype prior to the season did just that, as media outlets and Vegas odds seemed to place the Eagles on a revenge tour in which they could potentially usurp the defending NFC champs. As it turns out, the Rams were no longer a threat to the NFC as they floundered even worse than the birds following a thrilling shootout against Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl 54. Yes, that was sarcasm. However, I digress. Going into the season, Philly was among the favorites to win the East and maybe take the NFC along with it with a shiny new offense that had traded for the best deep threat in the league; Desean Jackson.
Alas, as all good things do, this came to an end. That end was as soon as the season began. Injuries piled up starting with newcomer Malik Jackson, who had been known for his durability as he had gone for years without missing a game. He was lost for the season. This theme continued as the season went on and the birds lost an even more absurd amount of starters than that of the 2018 or 2017 seasons. Some notable names of injured players included, Alshon Jeffery, Desean Jackson, Darren Sproles, Nelson Agholor, Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby and several others.
To add on top of the drama, someone decided to further shake the team as it was reported that an ‘anonymous source’ from the Philly locker room was unhappy with the offense and criticized Carson Wentz. This, of course, fueled the great rumor mill and gave new life to the debate of Wentz or Foles which could be heard in whispers across the city of brotherly love. But did Carson ‘walk it to ‘em’ Wentz (as Shannon Sharpe affectionately refers to him as) show a white flag of surrender? No. In fact, along the way to overcoming the odds and winning the NFC East, Wentz shut down almost every criticism of him. He showed he could elevate his teammates around him, which included practice squad players such as Greg Ward and Boston Scott. He brought about several clutch performances, and he avoided injury by starting healthy in each of the sixteen games. Somehow, someway, Wentz and Pederson had orchestrated an impressive run in Dec. with a patchwork offense and things were looking somewhat optimistic as a matchup against Seattle loomed. Would Wentz lead his team to his first career playoff victory? Unfortunately, no one would find out, as Wentz was knocked out with a concussion by a controversial hit by Seattle’s Jadeveon Clowney. Some call the hit dirty, others say it was perfectly legal.
Either way, number 11 was not coming back and the Eagles had to rely on 40-year-old Josh Mccown to will the team to a victory. The journeyman quarterback, who suffered a hamstring tear mid-game, poured his heart and soul on the field in Philly to carry the team past the finish line — but it was not enough. So closes another season in the Philadelphia Eagles history and we, the fans, are left to take a look at what can happen as the offseason approaches. Malcolm Jenkins has already demanded a new contract by stating that he won’t play for the money being paid to him. He is one of several players who could potentially leave the team. A successful draft and free agency hunt is necessary to build this team for the future, especially at the wide receiver position where a major overhaul is both necessary and impending, as eyes fall on both Jeffery and Agholor to be kicked to the curb in the coming months.
Additionally, coaching changes are being made as the oft-criticized Mike Groh has been fired and the search for Doug’s right hand offensive mind is underway with an early favorite being Jim Caldwell, the former Lions coach who has had success with quarterbacks throughout his tenure. Yet, all of this is merely speculation and is to be taken with a grain of salt. For now, Eagles fans can look at this team with pride with how they never broke beneath the mounting pressure. Lesser teams would have collapsed under the bevy of injuries and other criticisms of both the quarterback and coach. One could look at the Cowboys this season even though they did not suffer nearly as many injuries as the Eagles. Such talent can go only so far, but a poor structure by both the coach and other team leaders will be fruitless. Dallas can have their Dak Prescott, but as for me, I will stick with number 11.
Joseph Gill is a first-year student majoring in English. JG923276@wcupa.