Midway through the 2019 season, as the Philadelphia Phillies began to falter. In typical fickle Philly fashion, fans turned their attention away from Citizens Bank Park across the street to The Linc, Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. Baseball season was over; bring on the 2017 Super Bowl champs.
Hope springs eternal
With seven games in the bank and a disappointing 3-4 record, Eagles fans are heading around the corner to the Wells Fargo Arena, home of the Philadelphia 76ers. Bring on the NBA; the NFL season is over.
Not so fast. The Sunday Night Football TV crew repeated the dismal fact that teams with a 3-4 record have a 14% chance of making the playoffs. However, diehard fans who have suffered through terrible Eagles seasons in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s have learned the cup can be half full if there is hope.
The path to the Super Bowl 54 will have its challenges for the Eagles, but there are at least three reasons Carson Wentz and company will be on the field in Miami come Groundhog Day, 2020.
1. Show naysayers the door
Philadelphia sports radio WIP learned that the Eagle player who dumped on Wentz in a recent interview is wideout Alton Jeffrey. The anonymous quote, told to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, was harsh:
“We need to make [stuff] simpler. Sometimes we need to just handle what is manageable. Even Peyton Manning knew when to check it down. Carson Wentz right now is 38-percent on passes that travel 15 air yards, has three interceptions on passes like that, which is tied for most in the league. He also has 148 passes on those that are 10 yards or fewer, right now he has nine touchdowns and zero interceptions on passes like that, so I do think it is an apt point,” the player allegedly told Anderson.
While Anderson refuses to confirm or deny the attribution to Jeffery, the dustup points out that the team has a cancer in the locker room, so it’s time to get rid of players who talk behind the backs of their teammates.
2. Win the trade deadline
The NFL trading deadline is 4 p.m. EDT on Oct. 29., so the clock is ticking for the Eagles to bring in three players who can give the team the shot in the arm it needs. Losing the Jalen Ramsey sweepstakes was smart in that the team still has prime draft picks to peddle. There also are plenty of expendable players, such as lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Alton Jeffery, and wideout Nelson Agholor. All three need a change of scenery.
With DeSean Jackson’s return up in the air, trade for A.J. Green, the star receiver on the winless Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are on their way to — at most — a one- or two-win season, so it’s time to dump salary. Green, even coming back from injury, might be had for a high draft pick and perhaps Jeffrey.
Injuries and a thin corps of talent in the linebacking area should lead the team to acquire Vic Beasley from the Falcons. Playing far below his skill level, Beasley can provide a shot in the arm both as a linebacker but also as a speedy edge rusher. The former Clemson star needs a new home, and the Eagles need him.
3. Add another Peterson
In addition to head coach Doug Pederson, the team should add cornerback Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals. Peterson no longer fits the Cardinals’ defensive scheme, and he’s been wanting a trade since last season. Back after a six-game suspension, Peterson is rounding into shape and fills an enormous need for the Eagles who are suffering in the defensive backfield. The Cardinals are in the NFL’s toughest division, so accumulating draft picks is the only way the team will compete with the Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks in future years.
4. One game at a time
Lastly, the Eagles have nine games left, and the tired adage, “one game at a time,” holds true. The remaining schedule includes the Bears, Bills, Dolphins, Giants, Redskins, Patriots, Seahawks, and Cowboys. The team must win all five home games (which includes New England and Dallas) and three road games (Dolphins, Redskins, Giants) to go 11-5.
At 11-5, an NFC East lead is within reach or, at a minimum, at Wild Card slot. After that, break out the suntan lotion—next stop, Miami.