Questions are swirling around what the future holds for Philadelphia.
Nick Sirianni: ‘I’ll look at everything’
Through the first 12 weeks of the 2023 season, the Eagles had a league-best 10-1 record and statistically were one of the best teams in football in points scored (3rd in the NFL), third-down percentage (3rd), and red zone touchdown percentage (5th). The Eagles lost five of their final six games to close out the regular season and, in Monday night’s Wild Card Round defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, posted nine points, converted nary a single third or fourth down, and was successful on one of the two trips inside the 20-yard line.
“We couldn’t get out of the rut we were in and that’s all of us,” Head Coach Nick Sirianni said after the game. “We’ll have to look ourselves in the mirror and accept that and find answers and find solutions. Obviously when you start 10-1, and then you get into what happened for us, obviously the expectations were high. Expectations were higher when we started off 10-1 and we fell into a skid.
“I’ll look at everything. I’ll look at obviously the playcalling, I’ll look at the scheme, I’ll look at the practices. I’ll look at everything that we’re doing.”
The end for Jason Kelce?
An emotional Jason Kelce shared an embrace with Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland before heading into the locker room at Raymond James Stadium following the game. The 13th-year center, the second-longest tenured player only to Brandon Graham, has contemplated retirement for several seasons. He is still the best center in the game, earning Pro Bowl (7th time) and All-Pro honors (6th) this year. But it remains to be seen whether the 36-year-old will run it back for Year 14.
“If this was Kelce’s last game, or any of the guys, I was trying to give it everything I had, so it’s frustrating,” said right tackle Lane Johnson.
Johnson is the only member of the Core Four – Graham, Kelce, and Fletcher Cox – who is under contract for 2024. Kelce did not speak with reporters after the game.
“Love him. He’s one of my brothers. I never had a brother growing up, I was an only child, so these guys are my family,” Johnson said. “I love him. He’s one of the best centers to ever play the game. There are few guys who can do what he can on the football field athletically. I don’t think we’ll see another one like him for a long time.”
Washington wasted little time in naming their new general manager.
The Washington Commanders have officially hired San Francisco 49ers assistant general manager Adam Peters to be their general manager after a thorough but rapid process to find a new voice to lead the franchise, the team announced on Monday.
Peters, who has been in the 49ers’ front office for seven seasons, has helped build a roster that is considered by many to be one of the best in the NFL. In the time that Peters has spent in San Francisco, both as a vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager, the team has had four winning seasons and as many playoff selections. The 49ers have also won the NFC West in three of the last five seasons.
“I am incredibly grateful to Josh Harris and the Washington Commanders ownership group for this once in a lifetime opportunity,” Peters said. “My family and I are thrilled for the chance to be a part of the DMV community and look forward to connecting with such a storied, passionate Commanders’ fan base. I am eternally grateful to the York family, John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan and the entire 49ers organization for an amazing experience. Throughout my career in the NFL, I’ve learned that successful organizations begin with a strong ownership group willing to commit the resources needed to foster a culture of winning. We have that here in Washington and it’s my responsibility and privilege to carry out the mission of delivering a team that will ultimately compete for Super Bowls. I know how much the Commanders mean to our fans, our owners, the legends who paved the way for this franchise, and the NFL. The work starts now.”
Peters has been part of several winning organizations during his 21 years in the NFL. He got his career started as a scout for the New England Patriots, who made it to the Super Bowl three times and won twice in the six years he was there. He was then hired by the Broncos and rose from being a scout to the assistant director of college scouting and eventually director of college scouting. With help from Peyton Manning at quarterback from 2012-15, the Broncos made the playoffs in five consecutive seasons and won a Super Bowl against the Carolina Panthers.
Peters, one of the most coveted executives on the market this offseason, takes over a Commanders roster with nine draft picks, including the No. 2 overall selection and some of the most projected available cap space in the NFL when the new league year begins. There are also pieces to build around on both sides of the ball like wide receiver Terry McLaurin and running back Brian Robinson Jr. along with defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne.
The Giants place in the draft order could be crucial for the team’s trajectory.
John Schmeelk: The Giants are selecting sixth in the upcoming draft. No franchise wants to be picking that high, but when a team has the opportunity, it is essential to take advantage and select difference maker.
Picking so high and hitting on the selection can be a franchise-altering event. Truly special players can go a long way in changing the trajectory of a team, even if that player is not a quarterback. Would anyone argue selecting Ja’Marr Chase has not altered the Bengals’ future? Would anyone argue differently about Nick Bosa or Myles Garrett, anchors for two of the best defenses in the NFL?
Quarterbacks obviously have outsized impacts, from Joe Burrow to Trevor Lawrence, Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa, or C.J. Stroud. But determining what quarterback will be successful in the NFL is particularly difficult. It is not easy. Injuries, fit, and other factors can derail promising careers quickly, even for the most physically gifted players. The Giants need to continue to add players to their roster that other teams have to plan around, and the sixth pick in the draft will be the best way to do so this offseason.