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The Downfall of the 2023-24 Philadelphia Eagles

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Mitchell Leff
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The following represents the opinion of the student reporter and does not represent the views of Loyola University Maryland, the Greyhound, or Loyola University’s Department of Communication.

With the Super Bowl coming up in a few weeks, I believe that this is the best time to look back and reflect on the many stories of the past season. There were a good number of memorable ones this season whether it was the resurgence of the Detroit Lions winning their first division title in 30 years, a late-season comeback from the Buffalo Bills to win the AFC East division, or it was the miraculous late-season 5 game stretch that QB Joe Flacco had for the Cleveland Browns to lead them to the playoffs fresh off his couch. Of all these storylines, I believe the most shocking one came from the tragic collapse of the Philadelphia Eagles.

To understand and analyze the collapse we must first look at what the team collapsed from. Looking outside their amazing record and Super Bowl appearance statistically the Philadelphia Eagles looked unstoppable on both sides of the ball. Offensively they were ranked 3rd in the league in points scored, 9th in passing yards, and 5th in rushing yards. Defensively they were 8th in total points allowed and 1st in passing yards allowed.

Now even if you are taking out the late-season collapse of losing five out of their last six games and getting blown out 32-9 by the 9-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Eagles also fell off drastically in every statistic. Offensively they were 7th in the league in points scored and 16th in the league in total passing yards. Defensively they were 30th in the league in points allowed, 31st in the league in passing yards allowed, and 10th in the league in rushing yards allowed. This Eagles’ defense was headlined by their insanely dominant defensive line that consisted of four people producing 10+ sacks.

This collapse in both game and statistical performances fell largely on two factors, coaching changes and lost free agents. Throughout their successful 2022-23 season the Eagles were led by head play callers Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen and Defensive Coordinator Johnathan Grenard. After the Super Bowl loss, the Eagles lost both coordinators to head coaching opportunities and their absences were heavily felt and noticed. The Eagles also failed to bring back key contributors like league interception-leading SS Chauncey-Gardner-Johnson and 11-sack-producing DT Javon Hargrave.

The departure of Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen took a while to hit the Eagles but when it hit, it hit hard. The new Offensive Coordinator Brain Johnson’s lack of creative play calling and schemes was able to go unnoticed earlier in the season, but it eventually caught up to them. Earlier in the year during the Eagles’ 10-1, Johnson was able to get away with a repetitive heavy-run game plan against weaker defenses. Unfortunately, once teams got a better understanding of this game plan and acquired more film to watch, they were able to expose some gaping holes to take advantage of.

On the other hand, former Eagles Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen has done a fantastic job with his new team the Indianapolis Colts. Steichen took the Colts from being 4-12-1 to being 9-8 one game short of a playoff appearance. Steichen was able to do this without his QB1 Anthony Richardson and RB1 Johnathan Taylor for most of the season. These efforts have earned him a nomination for Coach Of The Year and this has proven to be an amazing hire for the Colts and a major loss for the Eagles.

The Eagles have made the right moves coming off this disastrous season, firing both coordinators and replacing them with experienced and qualified play callers Vic Fangio and Kellen Moore. With these moves and a long look in the mirror, I believe that the Philadelphia Eagles can return to the form that we all saw they were in.

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