As Eagles fans, we've been lucky over the last decade to witness such consistent success. Other than 2005, we've avoided watching a team just spiral out of control. Unfortunately, that's all changing now.
In hindsight, this was completely foreseeable. Andy Reid deserved to be fired after the 2011 season. His decision to go with Juan Castillo was indefensible (morbid humor), and the personnel holes were inexcusable. Lurie kept Reid around, though. That alone was probably a bad move, but he compounded his mistake at the same time by issuing an ultimatum for improvement. 8-8 wasn't going to be tolerated this season, and while we can debate the specifics, some combination of winning the NFC East or a playoff game is probably the bar Reid has to beat.
For many observers, myself included, that kind of ultimatum was comforting at the time. Lurie wasn't issuing a blank check to Reid. He was setting a standard and giving him one last chance. The problem that I didn't consider (and Lurie probably didn't either), is what happens if Andy can't reach that bar? What happens if he realizes, say, six games into the season, that his job is about to go down in flames?
Maybe he would fire his defensive coordinator, the right move but too late. Maybe he would start seriously considering starting a rookie quarterback to give the Eagles "a spark." And that might cause his starter and team leader to give up, even though he was far from the team's biggest problem. Maybe the rest of the team would smell the desperation and respond in kind. Change becomes a reason to trash people anonymously, and adversity becomes a reason to give up.
As a generic football team, you wouldn't count them out at 3-4. Not yet. But all indications are that this team has entered a death spiral. Morale is at an all time low, and desperation is peaking. The bye magic is gone. The coordinator change didn't work. The lame duck head coach will try anything. The offseason roster purge looms. They've even lost Dave Spadaro.
It's the end times.
Photo from Getty.