The Eagles dropped their seventh straight game Monday night—at home, against a 2-8 Carolina Panthers team, and squandering a dynamic performance from rookie running back Bryce Brown.
After watching other bad teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars play in recent weeks, it is clear that they have less talent but much more fight than this Eagles roster does.
This team is an unabashed embarrasment. They are very likely the worst team in the NFL. It is is difficult to imagine them beating any team in the NFL right now.
One step forward, two steps back
Backup quarterback Nick Foles was efficient, but little else. His performance was not bad and not good. He survived some very bad decisions early and then settled down. He threw for a high completion percentage, but not for many yards. He had neither a TD nor an interception; it was that kind of night for Foles.
To add insult to injury, the Eagles finally did what the fans had been pleading for: they relied on their running game. They did so way later in the season than it could even have had an impact, and they did it with a backup running back.
Another curious decision amid the muddled mess the season has become.
Rookie Bryce Brown’s performance was microcosmic of the Eagles season: for every good thing he did, he seemed compelled to do two negative things, and his night was rendered a failure by his turnovers.
He rushed for a very impressive 178 yards and two touchdowns, but also coughed up two fumbles that were both recovered by the Panthers. Thus the Eagles lost the turnover battle 3 to 0—they lost another fumble on a kick return—and the game.
Defense even worse under Bowles
Three turnovers by the offense were bad enough, but the inability of the Eagles defense to force turnovers has reached an unbelievable level. Since Todd Bowles took over at defensive coordinator during the bye week, the Eagles defense has gotten precipitously worse. They are surrendering more than 30 points per game on average; they gave up fewer than 20 points a game under Juan Castillo.
Most troubling is the laughably poor tackling by the Eagles defense. Missed assignments and schematic breakdowns are bad enough, but when defensive players are in position and cannot make a tackle, it bespeaks a deeper problem. Effort, heart and professionalism are all in question when that happens.
Castillo is too good a soldier and too good a man to be laughing somewhere, but no one could blame him if he was. This Eagles defense is the most toothless, lifeless defense Philadelphia fans have had to endure in many, many years. The Panthers routinely marched down the field, scoring on their first two possessions. Cam Newton hit on touchdown passes to receivers so wide open there were no Eagles defenders in the same area code.
Reid goes—and then what?
Andy Reid’s fate has been sealed. Whether he is fired before the end of the season or after is merely academic. Many Eagles fans will rejoice when Reid is fired. It is unquestionably time for him to go.
However, those rejoicing will be in for a rude awakening when they realize the problem is not Reid as much as it is this heartless group of players. They need only to look to Juan Castillo’s situation. Castillo beame a scapegoat for the failures of his defense, and once he was fired, the unit got worse. The players are the deeper issue with this team, which means the Eagles have deeper problems to rectify.
The time has come to start thinking about who the next head coach will be. If the Eagles brass makes the right decision there, it will have cleared one hurdle. However, they then have the unenviable task of somehow trying to fix the dysfunctional chemistry on the this team.
Unfortunately, that will likely take more than a year or two. That is the situation with which Eagles fans are now faced. This is one of the worst chapters in the Eagles 79-year history; that is how bad this is.