Eagles

This has been Eagles' most embarrassing week since Chip Kelly's final days

This has been Eagles' most embarrassing week since Chip Kelly's final days

Had an Eagles team that entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations merely lost 37-10 in Dallas, people would rightly be pissed.

But this wasn’t just some blowout on the football field. It was the climax to the most embarrassing week for the Eagles organization since the Chip Kelly days — a humiliation felt inside the locker room, by the coaching staff and all the way up to the front office.

At least, you hope it was the climax. To recap, in the span of nine days:

• Zach Brown talked trash on Minnesota’s quarterback.

• The Eagles got dropped 38-20 by Minnesota.

• Coach Doug Pederson proclaimed “we’re gonna win” in Dallas.

• The Eagles cut Brown.

• After a weeks-long pursuit, the Rams, not the Eagles, traded for Jalen Ramsey.

• An anonymous Eagles player talked trash on Carson Wentz.

• The Eagles got crushed in Dallas.

• Lane Johnson claimed teammates are late for practices and meetings.

• A reporter claimed the anonymous Eagles player is Alshon Jeffery.

• The Eagles were accused of leaking the information to said reporter.

Am I missing anything? You could certainly point to some individual plays that stand out — the ridiculous fake field goal, blown coverage after blown coverage and whatever Sidney Jones was doing in Minnesota; or Malcolm Jenkins getting run over and Nelson Agholor’s “effort” in Dallas.

Blowouts happen, occasionally even to good teams. They can become rallying points, as we saw last season after the Eagles got smoked 48-7 in New Orleans, then proceeded to win six of seven games en route to a playoff rematch.

Blowouts in back-to-back weeks, on the other hand, are often a sign of far deeper fractures.

In the fog of everything else happening around the Eagles, the feeling at this very specific moment in time is more akin to Kelly’s final season in 2015, right after the team got rolled 45-17 by Tampa Bay and 45-14 by Detroit in consecutive weeks.

Jason Peters was pulling himself out of games left and right. DeMarco Murray was sliding rather than fighting for extra yards — and being criticized for it by an anonymous teammate. High-priced free agent cornerback Byron Maxwell was getting beat like a drum on the reg. Riley Cooper was still on the team despite using a racial slur two years earlier. Opponents routinely said they knew the Eagles’ plays before the offense ran them. And after winning an offseason power struggle with Howie Roseman, Kelly reshaped the team in his image, trading LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso and Nick Foles for Sam Bradford, among other head-scratchers.

Surely, that was a more embarrassing period of Eagles football than this. And yet, you don’t have to strain your eyes too hard to find some parallels.

That season ended with Kelly’s firing prior to the finale. I seriously doubt anything so drastic will happen here. Roseman and Pederson built a lot more cache after guiding the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship two years ago.

However, if the Eagles don’t turn things around on and off the football field this season, Roseman and Pederson will be facing some uncomfortable questions. And while it’s easy to make the cases that Roseman assembled an aging roster, that he hasn’t drafted well enough through the years, that it really shows when everybody keeps getting hurt, and that Pederson and his staff haven’t developed young players or properly used the “talent” at their disposal, there is potentially a much larger issue here.

How is it the core of a football team that went 13-3 and won it all with one of the most harmonious, accountable locker rooms you’ll ever see has become so unglued, with teammates ripping their own franchise quarterback going back to last season, and looks so unprepared to play on such alarmingly regular basis?

These seem more like the hallmarks of a Chip Kelly team, but for the last week-and-a-half, the only discernible difference is the Eagles aren’t being peppered with questions about their blatant disregard for time of possession.

NFL seasons are deceptively long, so it's plausible the Eagles plug the leaks and right the ship in the 10 weeks that remain, even reach the postseason. But if they don't, somebody will need to answer for this level of dysfunction.

Nick Foles gives incredible answer on his unwavering faith in god

Nick Foles gives incredible answer on his unwavering faith in god

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles has seen his share of ups and downs throughout his career in the NFL.

Fans in Philadelphia know the story of his journey well. From almost quitting football to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with the Eagles, Nick has kept one thing constant in his life: his trust in god.

His career in Jacksonville got off to an extremely tough start when he went down with a serious collarbone injury that has kept him out most of this season.

Foles is set to take back his starting job on Sunday from Gardner Minshew and was asked at his press conference this week if he ever had any doubts creep in during Minshew Mania.

Nick's answer revolved almost entirely around his faith.

"No. Right when I felt this thing break, that's when I went into the locker room and I realized, 'god, this wasn't exactly what I was thinking. Obviously, you get here and you want to create a culture and impact people. But at the end of the day, if this is the journey you want me to go on, I'm going to glorify you in every action, good or bad.' I still could have joy in an injury. People hear that and say that's crazy, but when you believe in Jesus. You go out there and you play, that changes your heart," Foles said.

He put the high of winning the Super Bowl right along with the low of injuring his collarbone.

"Just like when I hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, the reason I'm smiling, my faith was in Christ. In that moment, I realized I didn't need that trophy to define who I was because it was already in Christ. That's my message when I played. Same thing happens when I get injured. We tend to make this so much about us as human beings. It's not about us. If you make it about yourself, you're probably going to go home at night and lay your head on your pillow and be very alone and very sad."

"Our purpose isn't football. It's impacting people. My ministry happens to be the locker room. I've still been able to get to know these guys through an injury."

"From a spiritual perspective, I've been able to grow as a human being. I feel like I'm at a better situation as a person than I was before because of the trial I just went under. I know that's a sermon in itself but that's how I go through life. It's not always about prosperity. I don’t believe in the prosperity gospel. I believe if you read the word of god and you understand it, there’s trials along the way but they equip your heart to be who you are."

It's heartfelt answers like this, along with a Lombardi Trophy obviously, that made Foles a beloved figure in Philadelphia. Expect the City of Brotherly Love to be pulling for him and his Jaguars on Sunday to help facilitate yet another city falling in love with Foles.

Eagles' RB position in sudden state of disarray with Jordan Howard, Darren Sproles injured

Eagles' RB position in sudden state of disarray with Jordan Howard, Darren Sproles injured

With the Eagles’ running back position suddenly in disarray, they might be turning to Jay Ajayi. 

Ajayi was in the NovaCare Complex building on Friday morning, head coach Doug Pederson confirmed, and then it became more clear why. 

Just before Pederson’s 10:15 a.m. press conference, the Eagles announced that Darren Sproles suffered a torn right hip flexor in practice and is out for the season

And, more importantly, Jordan Howard still hasn’t been cleared for contact from a stinger he suffered late in the Bears game nearly two weeks ago. That’s why he’s been limited in practice this week. 

“He’s been cleared to do some sort of individual work in practice but he hasn’t been cleared for contact yet,” Pederson said. “That’s where he’s at.” 

That means the Eagles’ only healthy running backs on the 53-man roster are Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. Sanders is the only healthy running back from the Eagles’ initial 53-man roster. 

If Howard doesn’t get cleared for contact before Sunday, he obviously won’t play against the Patriots. Howard’s injury has been listed as a shoulder injury. 

Pederson was asked if Howard’s injury is something that could linger. 

“Again, you’re getting into the medical side of it,” he said. “I don’t know much about it other than he just hasn’t been cleared right now for the contact.” 

The move to at least take a look at Ajayi is obviously linked to both of these injuries to Howard and Sproles. The hope here is obviously that Howard’s injury isn’t a long-term one, but signing Ajayi might put that into question. 

Pederson also brought up DeAngelo Henderson, who is on the Eagles’ practice squad, as a possible roster addition before Sunday. It seems like either Henderson or Ajayi will be suiting up for the Eagles on Sunday. 

As for Ajayi? 

“I think he just had breakfast,” Pederson said. “I haven’t seen him yet this morning, so I’ll find out more about him later. We’ve been with our team all morning.”

Ajayi, 26, hasn’t played since tearing his ACL last October, so the Eagles obviously want to see what kind of shape he and that knee are in. 

Sproles played in just six games this year. As the Eagles explained in an unusually detailed statement, Sproles missed games earlier in the season with a quad injury and was then cleared. He played again against the Bears and practiced Monday and Tuesday and reported the injury after Wednesday’s practice. Tests revealed the torn hip flexor muscle.

This could very well be the end of the 36-year-old’s career.

“I’ve learned this over my playing career and coaching in this league that it’s part of the game,” Pederson said. “It’s disappointing in Darren’s situation because of who he is as a person and what he’s meant to this organization, what he’s meant to this team. His leadership, he’s a Hall of Fame specialist in this league, really. I’m disappointed for him, more so than for the team, that he can’t continue.”

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