For this Eagles roundtable, we’re going to use one word to describe the season as well as give our general thoughts on how successful we thought it was. Some were reassured by the teams finish, and others still didn’t think they lived up to expectations. Let us know on Twitter @PFOEagles what word you would use to describe the Birds 2018 season!
This Eagles season was just “enough” to be a respectable title defense. I know I wasn’t the only one who was willing to give this team a lot of leeway this season. The Eagles had finally won a Super Bowl. We knew Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery were going to be eased back in after recovering from injuries over the offseason. History tells us that as the defending champion, every team gives you their absolute best shot. Losing staff members like Frank Reich and John DeFilippo was going to impact the offense and its scheme. Lastly, no different than last year, we knew it was going to be difficult to overcome a laundry list of injuries.
Twice we faced Dallas as we sat at .500, looking to finally take control of the NFC East, and twice we fell short. We sat at 4-6 after New Orleans handed us the worst defeat a defending Super Bowl champ has ever received. I’ll spare you the injury list, but we lost way more key pieces this season than last, and STILL defied the odds to make it into the playoffs. Many seemed content there. Yet again the underdogs, we went into Soldier Field and upset everyone’s darling NFC pick the Chicago Bears thanks to the infamous “Double Doink” (later revealed to be a block).
I was devastated after New Orleans for maybe an hour tops before quickly moving on to pride. I was proud that we pushed the number one seed to the brink. No one can take away last year from us, but they would’ve tried. At 4-6, many thought we were a “one-hit wonder”, a “fluke”, etc. Morale victories are usually just making the best of losses, but this was truly a morale victory season. Consider it some extra jimmies on the delicious treat that was Super Bowl LII. Now if you’ll excuse me, the Super Bowl LII DVD is calling my name. Go birds!
I realize that the Eagles did in fact make the playoffs, win a game, and have the last one slip through their fingers. It was all very exciting the last few weeks. If you think about what the expectations were for this team at the beginning of the year though, the best word that comes to mind is underachieving. Inexcusable losses plagued our team all year long. Awful defensive schemes, average QB play from #11, and brutal play calling were the reason we were playing on the road in New Orleans and not at home. This team still has a very bright future, but let’s hope this season was not the “new norm”.
Heart is the word that comes to mind when I think back on this Eagles season and the Nick Foles Eagles in general. Saddled with a 6-7 record, this team rallied to win 3 straight. They then barely made the playoffs and edged out the Bears on the road in the wild card game. I thought they would win the Saints game right until Alshon Jeffery uncharacteristically let the ball through his hands and into the Saints nearby defender for a game sealing INT. However, the Eagles continued to show heart in this moment of defeat and in the moments after the game.
Teammates picked each other up off the turf. Coaches shed tears as players filed one by one into the locker room. Professional sports are often described as rooting for laundry – well, not this team! This team had the heart of a champion and made our city proud. They defended the first Super Bowl in team history by winning a playoff game instead of rolling over at 6-7. They silenced doubters along the way and showed the remaining people why they were the defending champs. I long have referred to Nick Foles as football Rocky, but perhaps I got the years and movies mismatched. You see, last year he won and beat one of the best of all-time (Rocky II)…but this year he cemented he belonged and proved himself to the many doubters both local and national (Rocky I). Nick Foles may not start another game for the Philadelphia Eagles, but he will forever embody what it means to have the heart of a champion. And for that? I’m eternally grateful.
This Eagles team was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. There were way too many peaks and valleys to remember. When you take this season and boil it down to it’s roots, it was ridden with injuries and mistakes on both sides of the ball. From blown leads in the 4th quarter to horrendous play calling that made us all scratch our heads. However, the resiliency this team showed by rallying around Nick Foles and the coaching staff was nothing short of inspiring. After being 4-6, the team gelled and were a mere 3 quarters away from making the NFC championship game. Just as the season started with Carson’s injury, the Eagles fortunes ran out of luck when Fletcher Cox and Brandon Brooks went down in the first half versus the Saints. It was just not meant to be.
But hope and optimism arises. The character Doug Pederson has instilled into this roster is nothing short of incredible. Carson Wentz, Derek Barnett, Corey Clement, Jalen Mills, and Rodney McLeod all look to make a significant impact next season. Despite all of the injuries, the Eagles showed they can play with the best teams in the NFC. It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but I rarely get over playoff losses like I did this season. I was excited for 2019 only 24 hours after the Eagles lost to the Saints. That. Never. Happens.
The team has three picks in the first two rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft. Sadly, Nick Foles will be gone but there is definite potential to add a solid pick via trade. It looks like the Eagles will have three compensatory picks added as well. The Eagles can go many different ways this draft. Other than QB and tight end, every position should be looked at by Howie Roseman. Offensive line in the first and a running back in the second round should be the priority. Overall, it’s time to get Wentz his ring. Period. I’m psyched for this offseason, which is incredibly critical to future success. Go Birds!
I have no ill will toward this Eagles season. They endured a ridiculous amount of injuries that would’ve sunk most other team’s chances. After the second Dallas loss, mostly everybody buried the Eagles playoff hopes and left them for dead. And yet they they still we’re able to beat LA and Houston against all odds. In that final stretch of the regular season the Eagles showed who they really were.
The reality check after winning the Super Bowl is real. The Eagles were hit with it right away and limped through the first half of the season. What’s reassuring though, is that the team battled through that and rallied. The coaching and play-calling was questionable at times, but that’s not why the Eagles season ended. The team was in position to advance, and unfortunately the break didn’t go the Eagles way. That’s not a knock on Alshon or the team, it just simply won’t go your way every year.
Looking at it from the perspective of building/maintaining a yearly contender, there’s no reason to be sour about 2018. The fairy-tale of 2017 is over and behind us, and the reality of accomplishing that again has officially set in. The team showed they had it in them to not only knock off the three seed Bears, but also take out the one seed Saints if fortunes were in their favor. Wentz will be back fully healthy, the secondary will be restocked, and pressure of being defending champs will be gone. If the Eagles can start off next season healthy and locked in, they’ll be set up for yet another post-season run.