The headline says it all. Calm down Eagles fans! Seriously, it’s as if Andy Reid were still here. All I keep seeing are calls for either Chip Kelly or Howie Roseman to be fired (or both), or for the Eagles to trade everyone to move up to get Marcus Mariota in the draft. Anyone who believes they should do any of these three things is absolutely clueless. I know you’re mad, but that doesn’t mean the Eagles need to start over.
I am fully aware of how ridiculous this collapse is and am extremely frustrated by it. They were 9-3 and cruising despite having Mark Sanchez under center. He actually wasn’t looking too bad. But then they dropped three straight games and fell to 9-6, which eliminated them from playoff contention after the Cowboys won yesterday. The Eagles fan base is not the one to crawl into a hole and hibernate until the Super Bowl is over, which is good and bad. Some defend their team all the way until the end, but others spend the whole time yapping about how they need to change everything and how much of a waste this season is. To those people, put the situation into perspective.
How would you feel if you were a Bills fan? The Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999, which is 15 straight years of no postseason! They were coming off of a win over the Packers, who many people thought and still think could win the Super Bowl. They were 8-6 going into Week 16, yet they lose to the Raiders and eliminate themselves from playoff contention. Again. Can you imagine how frustrated that fan base is? Going 10-6 in back-to-back seasons with a brand new NFL coach is pretty darn good, regardless of playoff wins.
Or how about a Browns fan? They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2002 and haven’t won a playoff game since 1994. That’s two straight decades without a playoff win. They were 7-6 with a fair shot at making the playoffs and decided that it would be smart to put in their backup quarterback. They didn’t even have an injury to make it a necessity. They lose their next two games and are now 7-8, eliminated from playoff contention.
I think Eagles fans are so caught up in the idea that a season is a Super Bowl or bust. That is not how it should be. Obviously this mindset comes as a result of the zero Super Bowls in franchise history, but it doesn’t mean everyone should be irrational. It takes multiple years to build a winning team, especially one that can win enough to both make and win a Super Bowl. Look at San Francisco. They brought in Jim Harbaugh and were immediately great, making three straight NFC Championships with him. They even made a Super Bowl. They didn’t win, but that’s still an awesome turnaround. Is it a waste? No.
The Eagles are just a few pieces away from being a real playoff contender. Some of the pieces are already on their team, they just missed a lot of games with injuries. I still believe Nick Foles should be their quarterback going forward. If they get rid of him they’ll have to start over and it won’t be pretty. Guys like DeMeco Ryans, Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce all missed significant time with injuries. Lane Johnson was suspended for the first four games. Mychal Kendricks missed a bunch of games. The guys are there, they just have to stay healthy.
But then there are players on their team that absolutely must go if they want a chance at winning a Super Bowl. Starting cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams have both had horrendous seasons and should definitely not be on the roster in 2015. Fletcher is a free agent anyway so they just won’t re-sign him, and Williams is set to make $8.2 million, which is obviously not going to happen. If they cut him they save $6.5 million in cap space. That’s a no-brainer.
Mark Sanchez is a free agent after this season too, meaning he will also be gone for sure. Other teams are going to realize he’s a pretty solid backup, try to put him as the starter, and then realize he’s a sub-par starting quarterback. He’s going to get a relatively big contract from some team, at least for a couple years. Sorry to anyone who believed in him, but the Sanchize is over.
I really do believe that if the Eagles get two new starting cornerbacks and if Foles plays for a full season, they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They have a ton of talent on the roster, it’s just all about staying healthy and cutting off the cancers to the team.
So in conclusion, even though it’s very painful to see the Eagles eliminated from the playoffs and see the Cowboys in it, just remember that the Eagles are in an excellent spot for next year. The pain will fade away eventually and the excitement will begin for next year. Keep your heads up everyone, it’s going to be okay.