Oh, I said it.
Welcome to the Philadelphia Eagles’ “villain era.”
For those who aren’t familiar with the phrase, this “era” refers to a shift in priorities and perspective on society and societal pressures
to always play nice.
Pop culture accepted this concept way before there was a name for it. Taylor Swift shifted her perspective in her music and released
“reputation,” an album that is a classic example of the “villain era.”
The Eagles are doing the same thing. Long gone are the days of being “underdogs” and “Super Bowl Champions.” The team is no longer the butt of NFC East jokes – even though all NFC East teams are the butt of NFC East jokes. The team isn’t focusing on the media anymore. They’re
doing them. They’re coming into this season a – somewhat – different and improved-on-paper team.
The birth of a new era in the offseason.
The Eagles weren’t expected to make the playoffs with the way they played for much of last season. The team, very reminiscent of the 2016
team with a lot of newbies that missed the playoff mark, was projected to win 4-5 games max. Instead, they manage to get into the Wildcard
round with a barely winning record. Of course, they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and lose – bad. The team missed key players due to injuries
and the same game issues crept back on the team.
After that day, it’s like the whole Eagles team shifted. They didn’t want that same feeling again.
Eagles general manager, Howie Roseman, made things happen to start early in the offseason. Some for better, some for worse. Overall, he
delivered in addressing the issues the team had.
Linebackers. Defensive issues. Offensive shakiness. You name it, Howie pretty much fixed it. The only two downsides were the instability of the safety room, especially after letting go of Rodney McLeod and Anthony Harris, and the running back room. The team wants to be more of a passing team anyway, but the running back room still remains up in the air.
We can go on and on (and I have gone on and on) but Howie had himself an incredible draft that only added promising depth and a future to the Eagles franchise.
2017-esque team chemistry
Jalen Hurts has a lot of chemistry with much of the offense and some of the defense, so this should be an exciting indication of just how fun it’s going to be to watch the brotherhood come alive again. If we remember 2017, the Birds were having fun.
Now? The Birds are having fun. We have a few guys who are passionate about being here (Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson) and we also have guys who just make sense to be here (Jordan Mailata, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Haason Reddick.)
Team chemistry is going to be so important for this team in order to thrive. Pressure is on Hurts, but I don’t see how he can’t execute with the talent surrounding him and protecting him.
What does this mean?
I’m not saying the Eagles are the clear, definitive team to beat in the upcoming season. We still have the Super Bowl-defending Rams, Tom Brady and the Bucs and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The 49ers are becoming a dark horse team.
In that same light, the NFC is also pretty wide open. Over on the AFC, it’s a very competitive conference with Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes. But the NFC? Just those three teams (we don’t really know what to expect of the 49ers yet.)
The Eagles have an easier schedule and a better roster, so our perspective is going to be significantly inflated from last season. The true test will come in the playoffs, which I see the Eagles easily making.
For now, I think the Eagles are just good enough to be talked about in the same respect as some of the other above-average teams, but not a Super Bowl team yet…perhaps.
What do you think? Are the Philadelphia Eagles the team to beat?