The ugly loss on Monday night ended after 11 p.m. ET, and a late night would soon become even later. As the season spiraled into an abyss following a defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, several Eagles leaders hung around to meet.
Sources say captains and team leaders such as quarterback Carson Wentz, defensive end Brandon Graham, and center Jason Kelce, among others, stayed after for an impromptu meeting. Head coach Doug Pederson was also present. They preached accountability and taking responsibility for their actions, how urgent the situation had become and how necessary it was to turn it around.
Can the Eagles do so against the Green Bay Packers? Here is where it all stands:
Despite winning a Super Bowl three years ago with a backup QB, advancing to the divisional round the following year and winning the division just last year, Pederson finds himself on the hot seat with his future in doubt, sources say. There is no guarantee he returns in 2021 despite his record, and the struggles of Wentz — and the lack of answers — would be part of that.
The public has begun speculating on Pederson’s future, and some in the building have done the same, fearing that Pederson’s job is on the line. They can sense the tension, the frustration, the disgust and the search for a resolution.
Pederson said this week he hasn’t received any assurances about his future from owner Jeffrey Lurie, who is also frustrated and has been around far less this year than in years past (which could also be related to the COVID-19 protocols). Lurie also did not attend the Week 11 loss at Cleveland, a rarity, though a team spokesman said it was because he was being careful health-wise as he planned to see his mother for Thanksgiving.
Among the changes the coaches have tried to make to turn it around: Pederson has given up some play-calling duties, the team leaders organized a players-only meeting on Wednesday to find answers, and the week of practice, especially Friday, was described as competitive and spirited.
It stands in contrast to a few weeks ago when Lurie left practice early after watching a particularly pedestrian 7-on-7 drill to tend to other business.
Pederson is on the hot seat but he is not alone.
There have already been three coaches fired this season, with two GMs being dismissed as well. When the Lions moved on from coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn, it was another indication of how active this offseason will be in the coaching world.
And while nothing has been firmly decided, Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone and New York Jets coach Adam Gase — with one win between them — also face an uphill battle to keep their jobs.
The case of Chargers coach Anthony Lynn is more curious. Inside the Los Angeles building, Lynn is widely respected as a leader and a very good coach, someone who went 21-11 in his first two seasons in the middle of relocation and won a road playoff game after going an AFC-best 12-4 two years ago.
But there have been struggles the last two seasons, with several in-game situations not meeting his usual standard and four losses by three points or fewer. It hasn’t worked.
It’s fair to say his status is in doubt, as well.
The organization hasn’t fired a coach in the middle of the season since 1998 when it moved on from Kevin Gilbride. And the Chargers remain committed to supporting Lynn with hopes of beating the New England Patriots today.
However, last week’s issues — two running plays with no timeouts on the goal line with the clock running out — could loom large. There are plenty of other factors involved late in games, but ultimately, it falls on the head coach.
Could the Chargers make a change if more in-game issues emerge? Potentially. The hope from all involved is that it doesn’t come to that.
With a month left in the season, the coaching carousel is only beginning to take shape.