January 31, 2024   6 MIN READ

On The Rebound

Despite Skid, Coaching Changes, Birds Bank On Quick Bounce-Back


At the Eagles’ end-of-season press conference, head coach Nick Sirianni unveiled his blueprint to helming the 2024 Eagles back to prominence following a catastrophic late-season collapse.

During that 35-minute media session, Sirianni – who fancies himself as a cutting-edge offensive mind and maintained a heavy hand in the turbulent 2023 menu – expressed his intent to transition into more of a managerial-delegation role, handing over full autonomy to those presiding over the offense and defense.

Though probably reluctant to give up the steering wheel, the reality is Sirianni’s fate essentially rides on the performance of his hand-picked coordinators.

It was a move of professional self-preservation.

“I guess it would be very similar to what’s going on right now,” Sirianni said of his role going forward. “Does that mean I’ll sit more into defensive meetings at times? Maybe.

“Instead of always being in an offensive meeting, maybe I go to a defensive meeting here and there. But my job is to be the head coach of the team, not the head coach of the offense, not the head coach of the defense, not the head coach of the special teams, but be the head coach of the football team.”

Nick Sirianni

ITB PHOTO: Eagles HC Nick Sirianni will enter the 2024 season under major scrutiny following his team’s 2023 skid.

Sirianni spoke of “building the culture” and his team’s core values, which won’t change as the team makes wholesale coaching changes.

And so the sweeping, gusty winds of change should usher in a new school of thought from a team philosophical standpoint.

Newly appointed coordinators Vic Fangio (defense) and Kellen Moore (offense) have each experienced a great deal of success at the pro level, and team brass could be forced to pardon its typical roster building ideologies so that Fangio and Moore can fully execute their visions.

In Fangio’s case, that could constitute the Eagles’ prioritizing the safety and linebacker position, where the team has been notoriously frugal in allocating significant resources.

Linebackers and safeties are typically the most crucial components to Fangio’s defense. Both Eagles starting linebackers that finished the season – Zach Cunningham and Nicholas Morrow – along with safety Kevin Byard are pending free agents.

In that group, the only player likely to warrant marginal consideration of returning would be Cunningham.

Third-year linebacker Nakobe Dean, who endured an injury-riddled sophomore campaign, is under contract, but to bank on Dean fronting the unit for another offseason would be malpractice.

At least for this year, the Eagles can’t afford to cut corners and bargain-shop at linebacker if Fangio is to be expected to operate at full capacity.

Free agency offers a number of enticing options in both areas, particularly at safety, where it may be a prerequisite for the team to add a veteran given the responsibilities in Fangio’s defense.

If the Eagles look to go younger and add a building block through the draft, there will be opportunities to do so in the second round, where the team holds a pair of selections.

Tantalizing prospects like Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper and USC safety Calen Bullock immediately come to mind.

The team’s personnel staff is in Mobile, Ala., this week for the Senior Bowl, where they’ll be eyeing many of the top prospects.

As for the Eagles’ offense, the control goes to the 35-year-old Moore, who’s widely viewed as one of the game’s better offense’s minds but spent an underwhelming season in Los Angeles overseeing the Chargers’ 21st-ranked offense.

Sirianni’s term “fresh ideas” was repeated ad nauseu in his season-ending presser, and Moore checks all those boxes, if nothing else providing a high floor of offensive competency.

Expect a modern, pass-heavy  offense showcasing a hearty dose of pre-snap motion and 11 personnel. Jalen Hurts is also likely to take some snaps under center.

But unlike last year’s Eagles offense – which was overly reliant on a trio of pass-catchers – Moore has a track record of spreading the wealth.

Last season, five different Chargers garnered 60 or more pass targets. In his final season in Dallas, five players totaled 50 or more targets. The Eagles had three over 50 in 2023.

Quez Watkins, Olamide Zaccheaus, and Julio Jones are pending free agents whose returns are uncertain.

The logical course of action would be to supplement a razor-thin position with a free agent who isn’t cost-prohibitive, while adding a high-upside prospect in the later rounds.

The No. 3 receiver – and middle of the field, for that matter – will be points of emphasis under Moore.

The misconception behind the pass-centric Moore is that the running game suffers as a result, theoretically making it a less-than-inviting destination for free agents.

But three of Moore’s four seasons in Dallas yielded a 1,000-yard rusher. Last season appeared to be an aberration, as electric dual-threat Austin Ekeler rushed for only 628 yards over 14 games.

Moore’s history of churning out 1,000-yard rushers and involving the running backs in the passing game could be an ideal fit for D’Andre Swift, another pending free agent.

And just like they might have to do on the defensive side, the Eagles might need to go against their conventional wisdom and pay a 25-year-old dual-purpose back.

With their coordinators in place, the Eagles’ next step becomes filling out the coaching staff.  Only then can the team begin making difficult personnel decisions.

The 2024 season will surely be a challenging one for Sirianni, who enters under intense scrutiny, unenviable pressure and a new role to boot.

But general manager Howie Roseman, sitting beside Sirianni that afternoon at the press conference, never wavered in his support for the embattled head coach.

“I’ve seen it been done,” said Roseman. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with him, and I’ve seen what he has done winning games. Winning games, put us in a position where we’re competing for a world championship, putting us in a position where every year we’re in the playoff race and giving us an opportunity with the team to do that.

“Those things are hard to find. I don’t know the stat off my head, but I’m sure there’s not more than a handful of teams who have made the playoffs the last three years. It takes all of us. We had a tough stretch.”

Roseman mentioned Sirianni’s 10-1 record after the first 11 games and not losing “sight of the big picture.” He touted the personnel staff and of the challenge of getting the organization “back to the level and beyond that we were” in 2022.

“It’s not going to take a snap of the fingers,” Roseman insisted. “We’ve got to work hard. We’ve got to do whatever we can to have the right people, bring in the right people to do that, but we have a lot of those pieces in place. This cupboard isn’t even close to bare.”

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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