The Eagles 2021 season is over, thanks to an underwhelming performance Sunday afternoon in Tampa in the Wild Card round. Wednesday morning, head coach Nick Sirianni and general manager Howie Roseman met with the press to discuss the campaign and the future of the Philadelphia Eagles.
As far as how an Eagles presser in Philadelphia goes, this one was overall fairly tame. No proclamations of impressive accomplishments, no shocking admissions, no unorthodox analogies we can turn into social media fodder to fill the offseason. Great job guys.
However, there were some things that we found hard to believe/swallow in the 35-minute duration between the two and reporters.
Here are the five that stood out most:
Trading Assets for an “Elite QB”
Jimmy Kempski offered this scenario with the second question out the gate of this Eagles presser after Roseman stated the franchise was committed to starting QB Jalen Hurts for next season.
Kempski asked, “because you have extreme draft capital for this year, you will be in a better position than other teams to trade for an elite-level QB should one become available” and if “one became available at the right position at the right cost, would you make that move?”
As I pondered the scenario where the Eagles go for a third different starting QB in as many seasons, one image keeps coming to mind: a falling knife. This is a term my father taught me in the 90s when discussing stock prices and trying to buy one in freefall at or near the bottom.
I’m not a stock trader but I’ve kept the analogy in mind and used it in other situations, like trying to assess people and various situations.
The Eagles will select 15th, 16th, and 19th in April. The idea of moving those picks to get a former Super Bowl MVP seemed tempting before we saw what Hurts could do. He has so far convinced his bosses to keep him another season.
If an “elite QB” becomes available, is that a depreciating asset, like Russell Wilson who struggled against the Washington defense on a Monday night, scoring just 15 points in a loss, less than the Eagles tallied in both victories?
Maybe one of the top PA sports betting apps will write up some odds on the Eagles QB…
This question had a second part that warrants further consideration. The cost of the QB move is more than picks. It also would probably come with a heavy cap cost. Sportrac has the Eagles with about $12 million currently in cap space for next season. Each of those three picks comes with a cap cost of about $3 million. A new QB would add tens of millions to the roster salary, something we know from experience Roseman doesn’t do.
Roseman spoke about the continuing rebuild and how the draft assets will go towards the process of hosting playoff games and making another deep run. They’ll probably need to replace Brandon Brooks, the All-Pro guard who might retire, Derek Barnett, a first-round pick who will likely walk, and have other positions of need that merit more consideration than taking a flier on an aging gunslinger.
Are They Actually Keeping Reagor?
During this Eagles presser, Dave Zangaro brought up second-year wide receiver Jalen Reagor, who struggled through the year and muffed a punt early in the second half in Tampa that all but sealed the team’s fate.
Roseman claimed the team sat down with him and mentioned “things [Reagor] needs to develop, things we can help him develop, continue his growth…” while also discussing the decision-making process that led the team to select another small wide receiver they considered fast, over Justin Jefferson, who is making pass-catching in this league look a lot easier than Reagor does and would be really, really nice to have as a big target for Hurts.
Former players have mixed results as personnel leaders. However, here is a situation where the team needs someone in the room who has done this before. Some wideouts struggle early then blossom into stars.
Many people have not seen the potential in the first-round pick from TCU. His confidence doesn’t look great on the field. The team has some legendary WRs still close to the NovaCare Complex. Would it help to add another in Terrell Owens to mentor Reagor?
Reagor enters 2022 with a $3.6 million cap number and over double that in dead cap space. Cutting him would be costly but it might be best for both parties. Honestly, the team needs to find Hurts a taller receiver that can occupy secondary players and offer a second long reach besides Dallas Goedert, especially in the red zone.
“I really, really like this staff”
Nick Sirianni gave us this gem in the Eagles presser when Jeff McLane asked him about his coaching staff. McLane asked if the first-year head coach wants to retain all his underlings, notably defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who is under consideration for head coaching jobs.
Yes, people want the guy who gave multiple weeks of 80 percent-plus completion percentages to run a team. Are there better candidates out there? Certainly. Would this be addition by subtraction for the Eagles? Likely.
The Eagles finished 11th in yards allowed per game but were second to last with just 29 sacks. They collected just 16 takeaways in 17 games. They struggled against veteran QBs, especially in the first half of the season.
Like many of the coaches, Gannon made some adjustments and a weaker back half yielded more success. Yes, Sirianni is a new head coach and was complimentary of the crew he assembled.
Would keeping the same group helps him acclimate through the offseason? Probably. However, if the team wants to grow, they need to consider all options, including improving at coaching positions.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, the “Enforcer”
Part of Philadelphia’s sports personality comes from our fondness for tough guys. Play hard and defend your teammates, you’re revered. The Flyers had Dave Schultz (among dozens), the Sixers had Rick Mahorn, the Phillies had Shane Victorino (yeah, no one wanted to mess with that hothead). The Eagles have… a guy from Stanford they drafted in the second round who blocks well?
In going through the wide receiver corps, a group Sirianni said he “really likes” and “is very pleased with this group”, he cited Arcega-Whiteside as a “guy that would go out and get blocks when we needed him to, pave the way for the #1 rushing offense in the NFL.”
That’s great. He does block well on the edge. Receiver blocking is key to running game success at any level. Doing so with the guy we took instead of DK Metcalf is waving a white flag.
Sirianni didn’t rule out “adding a playmaker”, which the offense could probably use. I’m not sure if he’ll stand pat but the group is cap-friendly for now.
GM Compliments HC
I didn’t get to watch the press conference live, since I’m not a full-time reporter anymore. I got to watch the YouTube archived video at night. A reporter asked Roseman to evaluate Sirianni, and we got this freeze frame, which belongs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Roseman was, obviously, effusive in praising the first-year head coach. Sirianni deserves credit for the midseason adjustments that led to further success. I thought the Week 1 win against Atlanta actually worked against him, as the Eagles carved up the Falcons with short passing plays, instead of running more as they did later in the year.
Of course, Roseman somewhat credited his own intuitions in the pick by saying “some of those things that you think you know when you’re interviewing someone but you don’t really get until you’re part of it were incredible,” citing Sirianni’s communication skills.
Roseman also asserted that the coach is still developing and “he’s going to get better and better as he sees more things and more experience.” Following Roseman expressing his desire to help Sirianni continue to develop, the two shared a fist bump and smile. As much as we love chaos in this town, it was nice to see, it after a turbulent January last year.