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Posted: May 14th, 2021 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 405 Comments

You win in the NFL by having a talented team. If you’re short on talent, intangibles can make a big difference. If you’re short on talent and intangibles, you go 4-11-1, like the 2020 Eagles.

With the release of the schedule, a lot of people are now making predictions on the 2021 season. Can this team compete? I’ll cover that in a separate post. For now I want to talk about how much of 2020 carries over to 2021.

It is easy to look at the results from last year and think this team will still be a disaster. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you rarely fix a 4-win team in one offseason. One of the keys here is that the Eagles had one of the oldest rosters last season. This wasn’t a young team on the way up. It was an old team on the way down. That makes fixing it more complicated.

At the same time, the 2020 Eagles had terrible intangibles. That could change drastically this season.

Think about money. Jason Peters was focused on money last year. He refused to move from RG to LT unless he got a raise. I’m not saying he didn’t love his teammates or play hard, but clearly his focus was money. Zach Ertz wanted a new contract. He and Howie Roseman had a pre-game argument at one point. Ertz had the worst season of his NFL career. I don’t think you have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out he was focused on money.

You could write a book on Carson Wentz. His head was full of all kinds of things and his confidence went out the door the minute Jalen Hurts became an Eagle. Wentz was trying to win the Super Bowl on every play. Any time something went wrong (which happened once or twice in case you forgot), he didn’t handle it well.

There were several veterans who knew they were in their final year. DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Malik Jackson, Vinny Curry and Nickell Robey-Coleman all knew they would be elsewhere this year. That doesn’t mean they didn’t play hard and give it their all, but it gave them mental/emotional baggage that they carried onto the field. Football isn’t a game where you want to be distracted. You need to be dialed in.

Coaching was a major issue. Coaches were forced on the offensive side of the ball and there were too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. Coaches already on the staff weren’t thrilled about the outsiders joining them and that led to some issues. The group didn’t work well together and they didn’t do a good job of getting the most out of the players.

There were just some odd issues last year. Nate Herbig played well, but got benched for a couple of games. We were told it was performance-based, but it sure didn’t look that way to us on the outside. Felt like he was being punished for something. Will Parks couldn’t get on the field and then got cut. Travis Fulgham was the most productive receiver in the league for a month and then disappeared. I’d love to know the full story behind that.

No one would argue the Eagles had a great roster last year, but I legitimately thought they would win 9 games. Oops. Injuries played a huge part in undoing the team. Several players I had hopes for turned out to be underachievers. And then intangibles showed what a dysfunctional mess this group truly was.

Doug Pederson was at his best when he had the pulse of the locker room and he could push the right buttons to keep his team focused and motivated. Pederson’s message no longer worked last year. Maybe the players sensed his frustration with management and the words just rang hollow. Whatever the reason, coaching didn’t mean much last year.

As we think about 2021, we’ll have to wonder how the roster turnover and coaching changes will affect the intangibles of the new team. I think bringing in focused, hungry draft picks like DeVonta Smith and Landon Dickerson will be a big help. Those guys already have an NFL mindset. Veterans like Anthony Harris and Eric Wilson could help the defense right away. They know the coaches and system and can help team that to other players.

Nick Sirianni took time and built his own coaching staff. This wasn’t a group of people forced on him. A more cohesive staff should help a lot, if they turn out to be, you know, good coaches. I think the staff has real potential, but the proof will be in the pudding.

We can debate the talent level of this team, but I do think they’ll be much better from an intangibles and mindset perspective. I don’t see nearly as much drama and baggage for the 2021 Eagles.


I don’t have a lot to say about the Eagles schedule. I don’t get too fired up for that.


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Teams like the eagles last year get dismissed as having "little talent" because they went 4-11-1 last year.......the eagles had their problems last year, but the biggest one was injuries......and I know most media and fans consider that an excuse and I'll just say that if injuries are just an "excuse" then talent shouldn't matter.  Backups are backups for a reason, so most of the time there is a drop off in effectiveness. There's a reason QBs target backup CBs.....among other things.

Yes, the eagles have other issues between Wentz and Pedersen that should have never got to that stage.  They had issues between the coaches and the FO.  But these things simmer under the surface and are only brought out by losing.  The injuries started early and often, the offensive line constantly had guys coming and going and the defensive backfield was like a shooting gallery with guys going down.  

Wentz is KNOWN as a QB who needs constant hard coaching or he tends to slip from fundamentals and depend on his athleticism....and when that falls short, his confidence goes in the tank.  He became hesitant and hung up on not making mistakes.  Pedersen tried to "throw it" out of him.....which only compounded the problem.

Injuries are part of the game.....but no team can sustain losing 4/5th of their offensive line, 3/4 of their defensive backfield with WRs, DL, and RBs constantly coming and going, especially when their QB has his own struggles.

I think the injuries exposed the coaching shortcomings, which significantly contributed to Wentz struggles, which led to frustration the rest of the offense, which has led to where we are now.  

Sirianni and his staff are known to develop young players, something Pedersen and his staff didn't do a good job with.   They have young talent on the offensive line that got invaluable experience last year with the injuries.....maybe a real silver lining.

The WRs and RBs have added speed and versatility, the defense has added some nice veteran pieces but there are still some strong needs.

The biggest issues this year will be how fast Sirianni and his staff can get the O & D acclimated to their systems and the injuries.  It may take 6-8 games for them to jell and become more consistent......so they may make some big plays early but also make some big mistakes.......but if Hurts is the real deal and he can play well without making a ton of mistakes, the eagles may not be contenders, but they will make a big step towards being one.

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The biggest Question Mark on this team is Hurts. Is he a franchise QB or just another average QB. Hurts will be forced to put up points to stay with other teams. Can he do it?

Will the O Line be improved and stay as a cohesive unit. That is the 2nd measure of success for this team. If the starting 5 can play 17 games they can win the Division. If it's a revolving door devastated by injury, then the will finish below .500. 

Can the defensive line put pressure on the QB and help out our thin secondary? 

The LB unit, is a wait and see for me. Given that I have no idea what kind of defense this team will play. Are we going to blitz, or play Zone? Is it a base 4-3 or Wide 9? 

The Secondary. Will they play towards Slay's strengths or force him to play in their system? The depth at secondary is by far the biggest Question mark for the Defense. Who is going to be the CB opposite Slay? His is our Safety opposite McLeod? 

This team is in transition. There are many questions that I need answered. So at this time,. Anything over .500 will be an overachievement. 

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24 minutes ago, jsdarkstar said:

The biggest Question Mark on this team is Hurts. Is he a franchise QB or just another average QB. Hurts will be forced to put up points to stay with other teams. Can he do it?

Will the O Line be improved and stay as a cohesive unit. That is the 2nd measure of success for this team. If the starting 5 can play 17 games they can win the Division. If it's a revolving door devastated by injury, then the will finish below .500. 


That first question is in large part going to depend on the 2nd ... will he have solid OL play allowing him time to (have the opportunity to) go through his progressions or will he be facing almost immediate pressure and running for his life pretty much being forced to improvise and not stick to the offensive game plan?   I sure hope we have much better luck with the OL this year to allow a more thorough evaluation of Hurts ... if he gets good play in front of him and still doesn't go through his progressions, looks at his primary and maybe secondary read only and then takes off ands shows no improvement in that as the season progresses, we'll know we need to make QB a primary focus next year.  

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Essentially a rookie QB who so far gets worse as games go on.

A rookie HC.

An OL coming back from a host of injuries with LT uncertain. 

Unproven WR's.

Best receiving TE wants out of town.

RB's look solid.

Odds are against a cohesive and highly productive offense here in year 1 of the program.

Defensive back 7 has a lot of questions and a new DC.

I see a 4 or 5 win season, and if the QB doesn't work out, they'll be in a bit of a jam. The next 2 drafts don't look like they offer any elite QB prospects. maybe 2024 will have one they can get.

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Now it seems that they will be practicing even less this offseason. I hope I'm wrong but I'm definitely not expecting a fast start this year. 👎



PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles modified their offseason model after meeting with veteran players, and will not hold mandatory minicamp this year, the team announced Tuesday. Additionally, there will be no team or 7-on-7 drills during OTAs.


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