TRADING OT Dennis Kelly for Titan WR Dorial Green-Beckham, was no big deal by itself. Trading QB Sam Bradford to the Vikings for a 1st round pick and conditional pick (likely a 4th, possibly a 3rd), seemed like an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. It was a big deal; but it was also seen as just getting getting maximum value for a player. No one was talking “conspiracy”. Even I couldn’t see the big picture yet.
Then came the moment when I couldn’t be fooled anymore. It was the moment when the Eagles expressed interest in either 49er WR Torrey Smith or Bears WR Alshon Jeffrey.
Their interest was no big deal. There were a few teams kicking the tires on those WR’s and the general perception is that we need help at that position. Being interested only made sense, right? Due diligence and whatnot, right? But then we-
Let me slow down for moment. This is that moment where it felt like you were doing only 35 mph, but then you glanced down, and saw that you were actually pushing 60. So I’m gonna slow down and do this in pieces.
Normally someone would walk you through all the “How” first and finish with the “Why”. Not me. I’m starting at “Why” so that by the time I get to “How” you’ll already be on board, and you’ll see those moves as natural parts of that process.
First the broad strokes: The Front Office is trying to sabotage this season without you (The Fan), realizing that it’s happening.
Last night during the Eagles/Cowboys game the commentators said something in passing that stuck in my ear like an ice pick. One of them mentioned that these two fan bases do not tolerate the term “rebuilding”. With both teams being on the Top 10 most expensive ticket list, I think it’s more that the ownerships, or in this case our ownership, is afraid of what the “R” word would do to ticket sales. So any smart owner has to operate on the Q.T. and make a good looking effort, all the while sandbagging the team to slow their progress, to later be in a better position to rebuild.
What do I mean by better position? What I mean is, picking earlier in any round is better than picking later in any round. If we don’t do well, our pick position improves. In every round. Instead of monster trades to move up, or tanking on purpose (like the Sixers did), which the fans hate, it’s much easier to merely sandbag the team to make it difficult to do well.
Examples of sandbagging would be
1) Adding a WR during training camp that you can’t place at #4 on your depth chart. The primary reason you can’t bench him is because you yourself (coaching staff, F.O.) talked up his talent, while fans were already unhappy with the guys we had. This is while knowing that his less than stellar work ethic would make learning the Offense take him longer than most.
2) Trade away the starting QB who by all accounts, was looking better than anyone expected him to, during preseason.
3) Instead of starting the experienced back-up QB, you start the rookie who only played in part of one preseason game, and didn’t look very good doing so.
4) That same rookie QB, who grew up idolizing Brett Favre, and who you lauded for his deep ball when you drafted him #2 overall, you put handcuffs on him and have him throwing Screens, Crosses, and Wheels.
5) Then you threaten to bring in another WR who would have to learn the Offense from the ground up at mid-season. This part hasn’t happened. (So far)
6) Now there’s talk of making a 33 year old change-of-pace RB, our primary RB, when he has NEVER been a primary back in his 12 year career. His all-time high number of carries in a season was 93. Back in 2009. He has never started more than 6 games in any season, and he only did that once. In 2012.
Not ONE of these changes points to helping the Offense to be more productive. In fact, EACH of these changes point to slowing down it’s development.
The whole idea is to make it look good to YOU, while we slowly lose ground. It’s a more ethical version of what the Sixers did, as long as you don’t realize it’s going on. And so far it seems to be working.
I’ve only noticed a handful of fans who seem confused by what’s happening. Most are still happy we started 3-0.
It’s been the rare fan that voices a concern for why we placed the season on Carson Wentz‘s shoulders, without running the ball a lot more to alleviate the pressure on him.
Not many fans have asked “If we were going to trade for a WR, why didn’t we trade for one that was already a good one?”
I don’t hear a lot of “What happens when 33 year old RB Darren Sproles wears down sharply in the next three or so weeks? How do we replace the team’s second leading receiver if he gets hurt or wears down due to overuse? Won’t that leave our rookie QB without his security blanket?”
None of this can be spun as a positive, but none of needs to be spun if YOU don’t notice it in the first place. Then again why would you notice it? What reputable journalist would write about something like this, and risk his behind the scenes access?
That’s where I come in. I’m not a journalist, I’m a fan. Like you. My job is to stick up for you, and represent you. My job is to speak the truth to you, that others lack the courage or motivation to bring you. Unlike journalists, I don’t work for the Eagles. I work you. I work for me. I work for US. I work for the Fans.
Earlier this year, even I couldn’t see the big picture yet. Then came the moment when I couldn’t be fooled anymore. And as of this moment, now YOU can’t be fooled anymore either.
NOTE: Lots of people won’t agree with, and some will even hotly argue with what was said here. I have no problem with that, and in fact (as always) I even welcome it. I am however, a ruthlessly patient man, and I also have no problem waiting to (yet again), be proven right.
Ive been saying it for years. They just refuse to add one or two pieces to give us a real superbowl squad. The team is being handcuffed. Wentz is talented. That speed receiver and a few parts will make a world of difference. Its a joke that Sproles is running the ball so much. I think Matthews just cannot take a pounding. They should go sign Ray Rice immediately.. I would even consider Josh Gordon if he is released.
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New personnel isn’t the answer for 2016. Remaking the roster at this point just signals a white flag waved above this year, regardless of how management wants to spin it.
Most Eagles fans went into the season thinking it’s a rebuilding year. Then we went 3-0…so everybody, even some skeptics I presume, got caught up in the Wentz hype. He’s a rookie & so is the HC. Now they r making rookie mistakes & the hype balloon is falling to earth (so to speak). This off season had best be directed at protecting Wentz & giving him TRUE talent at the WR position. After reading your article I am back in the “rebuilding” frame of mind. No other way to think from here on out, for me anyways…very insightful article.
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Thank you. I just wanted to put fans back on an even footing. Prior to the season everyone thought I was nuts to say 9-7 and a division win.
I’m in no way ready to back away from that statement BTW. However, it never occurred to me that the FO would end up being an obstacle to that goal.
I’m now left wondering whether the team can outplay it’s management. I’m also very curious to find out which side of that line Pederson is on.
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I just hope this is one of your rare wrong moments! I can’t abide tanking the season on purpose. However, you make a lot of sense if you’re right. One thing that doesn’t make sense is why only “these two fan bases wouldn’t tolerate the term “rebuilding”.” What fan base would tolerate being TOLD that? I see fellow Birds fans all over the place saying we’re in rebuilding mode and other fan bases saying they’re sick of hearing it. Tami was one of them if I remember correctly.
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I’ve been saying for years that we need to (take a year or so and) rebuild (it’s all over this site), and yes, Tami has also mentioned it. We’ve been talking about the state of the Eagles (and the Cowboys) for years now, so in many ways she’s better informed about our franchise than some of it’s fans are.
I expected us to be able to manage 9-7 and win a division that I assumed would be, as weak as it was last year. It seems that I was wrong about our forecast and the division, but at least we’re undergoing the badly needed overhaul.
I just wish that at THIS point in the season (said the same thing last year), instead of scraping for a one year wild card spot, we could turn our attention towards drafting to build a perennial playoff contender like we did under Andy Reid/Joe Banner.
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