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How concerning are the Eagles’ struggles?

Phelen Ebenhack/AP Photo

Just 11 months ago, the Philadelphia Eagles soared into the Super Bowl after a historic regular season and the emergence of a franchise quarterback in 2020, draftee Jalen Hurts. Six weeks ago, the then-10-1 Eagles were on a trajectory similar to that of their 2022-23 season, where they fell just four points short of their second Super Bowl victory in the last six years. The last six weeks, however, have been an unprecedented time and, seemingly, a glimpse of reality. Plagued with injuries and inconsistencies, Eagles fans at Hatboro-Horsham and all over Delaware Valley are clutching to any and all last hopes of a deep Eagles playoff run in 2024.

Some fans will tell you that the Eagles’ struggles began on the very first week of the season. The Eagles opened their 2023-24 campaign by narrowly escaping New England after coming within a field goal of blowing a 16-point, first-quarter lead. Luckily, three long field goals kicked by Jake Elliott in the second half was enough to keep the Patriots from their first win of the season.

For the ten weeks to follow, the Birds were sure to push their limits. They topped the 7-10 Vikings by a touchdown in week two, salvaged an overtime victory against the 4-13 Commanders in week four, lost to the 7-10 Jets in week six and managed to pull off a comeback victory over the Commanders again in week eight. Miraculously, the Eagles hobbled into week 12 atop the NFC with a 10-1 record.

“The Eagles have clearly struggled since the beginning, mainly on offense in the earlier half of the season. If luck didn’t go their way, there’s no way they’d be 10-1 right now,” said freshman Matthew Weinstein, an avid Eagles fan. “Many spots in the defensive line are filled by rookies that constantly make the same mistakes.”

Needless to say, their historic start to the season was a sign of survival, not superiority. And by week 11, their struggles were exploited in an unforeseen way. The Eagles’ most recent loss to the Giants was nothing short of a disaster. Jalen Hurts dislocated his middle finger, and A.J. Brown was removed from the game after banging up his knee following a dropped reception. 

Over their last six games, the Eagles are 1-5, and any possibility of Jalen Hurts reeling in an MVP trophy has quickly become an afterthought. 

Hurts has thrown five interceptions during this six-game stretch, and he has only eclipsed 200 passing yards in one of his last five games. Nevertheless, fans have confidence that Hurts will step up for Philadelphia in the playoffs, despite the offense’s recent struggles.

“Jalen Hurts is far from being an issue and, honestly, deserves way more credit than he is given. The offensive line has been an issue all year,” said sophomore Shane Mills.

Fans rallying behind the well-liked quarterback is no shocker, but head coach Nick Sirriani and his coaching staff have not gotten the same sense of Brotherly Love. 

“I think coaching is the biggest issue. Losing both the coordinators after the Super Bowl changed the team. [New offensive coordinator] Brian Johnson calls the same plays every week and doesn’t use Hurts’ arm,” said sophomore Zach Gaver. “Our defense is just awful, and our coordinator isn’t helping that.”

Whether the issue is Hurts, the offensive line, or the coaching staff, it has become clear that fans are concerned with the team’s struggles.

“There’s definitely reason to be concerned,” Shane said before the Eagles’ first-round exit from the playoffs. “Nothing has made it seem like they are going to turn it around. If anything, things have gotten worse, but again, it’s the playoffs, so you never know what is going to happen… These games are fun… I believe they are going to come back and stun people.”

Well, the people were stunned, but it was not because they came back, but due to the mere nine points the Eagles put on the board against the Buccaneers this Monday. With star receiver A.J. Brown sidelined due to injury, the Eagles fell far from a win in Tampa Bay, and the future of the organization–players, coaches, and front office members, alike–is unclear.

Fan-favorite and 2023-24 Pro-Bowler Jason Kelce announced his retirement from the NFL after Monday’s game, and coaches Nick Sirriani, Matt Patricia, Sean Desai and Brian Johnson remain on the hotseat following their team’s underwhelming performance. 

As players continue to express opinions about the organization and contracts expire, the drama surrounding the Eagles is bound to continue, but for now, all fans can do is wait.

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About the Contributor
Colin Daly
Colin Daly, Co-Editor
Grade: Sophomore What is a favorite hobby of yours: Some of my hobbies include watching and playing baseball, writing, and hanging out with my friends. What you enjoy/look forward to with The Hat Chat: Getting to cover Hatters sports and interviewing students and teachers. Where do you want to go to college?: Boston University Fun facts: I own about 18,000 sports cards and I love trying different Chili recipes.  

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