After a historical collapse in which the Philadelphia Eagles turned a 10-1 start to the season into an 11-6 finish and a wildcard exit, head coach Nick Sirianni appeared to be on the hot seat.

However, he stayed. The coaches around him did not.

The Eagles had some serious regression in terms of the on-field product in 2023 versus 2022. A potential reason for that? Sirianni had both his offensive and defensive coordinators leave for head coaching gigs of their own — that’s not a great reflection on him.

Next season, he will have to prove that he is worthy of coaching in Philadelphia.

Former Coordinators Hold Their Weight,  Eagles Regress

Starting with Shane Steichen, the Eagles’ offensive coordinator in their 2022 run to the Super Bowl, he had a fantastic season with an otherwise underwhelming Indianapolis Colts roster in 2023 as their head coach. Despite his fourth-overall selection in quarterback Anthony Richardson going down due to injury and having to turn to Gardner Minshew to start 13 games, the Colts went 9-8 and were a routine check-down completion away from potentially heading to the postseason.

For a team that went 4-12-1 the season before and didn’t get many significant improvements to their roster, an excellent 2023 season can be largely attributed to Steichen’s excellence. Going from the third-worst to the 10th-best scoring team in football in just a season is not an unreasonable conclusion to draw.

As for the Eagles’ former defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon, his 4-13 campaign after taking over head coaching duties for the Arizona Cardinals might seem worse on paper than it actually was. In reality, he helped a rebuilding team show some snarl and finish with the exact same record as they did the season before. Doing so without Kyler Murray, Arizona’s starting quarterback, for nine games, Gannon did a fair job. He could be a nice coach for them for a while.

Getting to the Eagles, though? They were the only team of these three that regressed. It didn’t seem like it for a while with how good they started off, but everything fell apart late in the season. Philadelphia was winning close games every single week and that took a toll. In 2022, they were third in the NFL in points for and eighth in points against. In 2023, they were seventh in points for and 30th in points against in 2023. Steichen and Gannon were sorely missed.

What Do These Outcomes Say About Sirianni?

The implication with the Eagles getting worse by a decent margin is that, possibly, both Steichen and Gannon were a massive part of the solution in Philadelphia. There’s nothing management could have done to make them stay, but the team sort of lost its identity without its former coordinators. The clubs they left for gained a new one, and that’s the problem.

Photo: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Sirianni and the Eagles were unable to control the bleeding last season. One loss turned into three, and then all of a sudden, they were battling for their division instead of the top seed in the NFC. The Eagles were outcoached severely by teams like the aforementioned Cardinals, unable to make use of their immense talent advantage over a rebuilding club like that.

If all three of these coaches couldn’t win a Super Bowl in 2022 when they were together, how can Sirianni do it himself? Especially when he, with one of the best rosters in the league, couldn’t even keep a playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of all teams within two scores? That’s where a large amount of worry might come from.

The Importance of 2024 for Sirianni

With a relatively disappointing season now behind him, Sirianni is probably on the hot seat. His 2023 coordinators were fired, yet he was spared. A still high-skill roster is present in Philadelphia, so there are no more excuses left for him. Actions speak louder than words, starting with an improved Birds team in 2024.

Considering Andy Reid was fired from the Eagles after two disappointing seasons of his own in 2011 and 2012 despite coaching the team starting in 1999, it shows that Philadelphia might be running a two-strike system. Even someone who is arguably the best coach of the Super Bowl era for the team and one of the best coaches in league history was let go without a second thought. Yes, this could be Sirianni, too.

If Sirianni can help the Eagles return to the playoffs and perform well in them, he could have a longer leash. If he goes back to the Super Bowl at all, his leash could be extended well beyond just 2025. Everything is on the line for him, and he might not get another head coaching job for a while if he and the Birds have another disappointing season and he is let go.

In 2022, Sirianni almost helped the city of Philadelphia taste Super Bowl glory. A little bit over a calendar year later, he is on the hot seat.
Will he be up to the challenge, or will he falter? The Eagles’ success depends on the former.

Photo: Getty Images

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