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Eagles Stunned by Buccaneers in Playoff Blowout, Raising Questions About Hurts and Sirianni

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Jan 19, 2024

The Philadelphia Eagles entered the NFL playoffs with high hopes after a surprise 13-win season. But those hopes were quickly dashed on Sunday in a 31-14 blowout loss to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The lopsided defeat has raised tough questions about whether young quarterback Jalen Hurts and second-year coach Nick Sirianni are the right leaders to take the Eagles forward.

Hurts Struggles Mightily as Eagles Offense Sputters

Hurts endured arguably the worst game of his career, completing just 53% of his passes for 258 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He often held onto the ball too long, taking four sacks, and struggled to find open receivers downfield.

The Eagles offense managed only 279 total yards against a strong Bucs defense. But there were also signs that opposing defenses have figured out weaknesses in Hurts’ game that Philadelphia must address this offseason.

“You’ve got to give Tampa Bay credit, they had a good plan,” Hurts said after the game. “But overall, I didn’t do a good enough job. I didn’t put us in positions to be successful.”

Hurts’ passing limitations were on full display with top receiver DeVonta Smith sidelined by injury. The Eagles offense lacks playmakers beyond their rushing attack, which managed only 66 yards against Tampa’s fierce run defense.

“Jalen struggles without his top target when the run game isn’t clicking,” TheScore’s NFL analyst said.

The Eagles must add offensive weapons this offseason to aid Hurts’ development. But his shaky playoff performance also raises questions about whether he should remain the starter long-term.

Questions About Sirianni’s Leadership Ability

While Hurts shoulders much of the blame, reports have emerged of chaos on Philly’s coaching staff during their playoff defeat.

“Eagles offensive players don’t know if Sirianni or passing game coordinator Brian Johnson is calling plays,” Bleacher Report noted, indicating a lack of leadership from the head coach.

There is concern among players that Sirianni lacks control of his staff and has poor communication with his team. Defensive players also felt disconnected from erstwhile coordinator Matt Patricia’s gameplan on Sunday.

“Complete disconnect between the defensive players and coaching staff on Sunday,” an anonymous player told NJ Advance Media.

These reports of dysfunction cast doubt on Sirianni’s long-term future in Philadelphia. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations like the Eagles, sideline chaos and a lack of leadership are unacceptable.

What Happens Now for Philly?

The Eagles face a long offseason full of tough questions after their embarrassing playoff exit. Both Hurts and Sirianni have crucial third seasons ahead in 2024 that will determine their fates in Philadelphia.

Hurts must make major strides as a passer to show he can lead the franchise for the next decade. With the Eagles holding two first-round picks in the 2024 draft, they could be tempted to use one on a quarterback if Hurts does not progress. He likely has only next season to prove himself in Philly.

Sirianni must tighten control of his coaching staff and build better relationships with players. His staff badly mismanaged the playoff game, raising accountability questions. The front office will expect to see order restored next season.

The Eagles remain well-positioned for long-term success with a talented young roster outside of the quarterback position. But the playoff loss revealed possibly fatal flaws with Hurts as the quarterback and Sirianni as head coach. Both will be on short leashes when the team regroups this summer.

In the short term, the Eagles will watch from home as Brady and the Bucs face the winner of Cowboys-49ers for a spot in the Super Bowl. After a winter of reflection, Philly will return next season determined to make sure this year’s playoff embarrassment is not repeated.

Table 1: Key Offseason Questions Facing the Eagles

Position Question
Quarterback Has Jalen Hurts shown enough growth as a passer to remain starter long-term?
Head Coach Does Nick Sirianni have right leadership abilities and communication skills to lead team forward?
Offensive Weapons Eagles lack playmakers beyond rushing attach – must upgrade WR and TE groups
Defensive Coordinator Was Matt Patricia right choice for DC after disconnect with players in playoff loss?
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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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