Skip to main content
Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles News

Morning Roundup: What's next for the Eagles?

Jason Kelce and Jeff Stoutland
Jason Kelce and Jeff Stoutland

The 2023 season is in the books after Monday night's 32-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round. What happened? What's next for the Eagles? It's all here in our Morning Roundup, presented by DraftKings.

Looking Back

• Make sure to check out Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro's 10 immediate takeaways from the game.

• Read Owen Boyle's game recap to see how the matchup unfolded in real time.

Nick Sirianni: 'I'll look at everything'

Through the first 12 weeks of the 2023 season, the Eagles had a league-best 10-1 record and statistically were one of the best teams in football in points scored (3rd in the NFL), third-down percentage (3rd), and red zone touchdown percentage (5th). The Eagles lost five of their final six games to close out the regular season and, in Monday night's Wild Card Round defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, posted nine points, converted nary a single third or fourth down, and was successful on one of the two trips inside the 20-yard line.

"We couldn't get out of the rut we were in and that's all of us," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said after the game. "We'll have to look ourselves in the mirror and accept that and find answers and find solutions. Obviously when you start 10-1, and then you get into what happened for us, obviously the expectations were high. Expectations were higher when we started off 10-1 and we fell into a skid.

"I'll look at everything. I'll look at obviously the playcalling, I'll look at the scheme, I'll look at the practices. I'll look at everything that we're doing."

The Buccaneers prevented the Eagles' offense from getting in sync thanks to an aggressive game plan from Head Coach Todd Bowles, who is known for his affinity to bring pressure.

According to Next Gen Stats, quarterback Jalen Hurts faced 13 quick pressures, tied for the most quick pressures faced in a game in Hurts' career (including playoffs). Hurts was pressured on 51.3 percent of his dropbacks, his fourth-highest pressure rate faced in a game in his career. The Buccaneers generated 10 unblocked pressures, tied for the most in a game by any defense this season.

"We scored nine points. The better way to say that is how do you think the coaching staff and the players handled the blitz tonight, because it's not just on one person. We didn't do a good enough job – starts with me being able to put them in the right position to make plays," Sirianni said.

"Tried some different things, you know, hats off to them. They had a good game plan and we didn't coach or play well enough tonight."

Sirianni's message to the team was described as positive, but the disappointment regarding the way this run ended was evident considering the team's red-hot start to open the season.

"We're hurting right now. It's tough to go out the way we did," Sirianni said. "Hats off to the Bucs, they had a good game plan, they did a good job.

"I'm thinking about the guys. Again, there is a lot of guys in that locker room, all the guys in that locker room, every single one of them, that put their heart and soul into this." – Chris McPherson

It's win-or-go-home as the Eagles are in Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers on Monday night, but it's no typical prime-time showdown. These two teams clashed back in Week 3, but this time around, the winner advances to play Detroit in the Divisional Round.

Jalen Hurts reflects on the 2023 season

"It was not our turn."

That was a phrase echoed by quarterback Jalen Hurts multiple times in his postgame press conference following Monday night's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card game.

"Things didn't end the way we wanted, but it's simply not our turn," Hurts said. "We got a taste of it last year. Winning the Conference Championship and having an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl, and it wasn't our turn then."

Those accomplishments last season put high expectations on Hurts and this Eagles team. That made the internal standard higher for those on the field.

"I talked about the standard a lot this year," Hurts said. "The standard changes from year to year because this is a whole different team. That is one thing I have learned and one thing I will continue to mature on. Different years require different versions of a person and I'll just continue to learn to be the best leader I can be for this team and for this organization."

Hurts, just like the team, experienced many ups and downs this season.

The quarterback dealt with many challenges, whether it was an injured knee in the middle of the season, playing multiple games while sick, or starting in the playoffs a week after dislocating the middle finger on his throwing hand.

"It's definitely been a journey," Hurts said. "Every year has presented different joys and different challenges. I feel like I have been able to use those things to better myself and better the people around me."

In his postgame message, Hurts looked to get positives out of a negative situation.

During the quarterback's first season as a starter in 2021, the Eagles lost on the road to the Bucs in the NFC Wild Card Round. A year later, the team had a successful season that culminated in a Conference Championship and a trip to football's biggest game.

"As crazy as it is, you have to be able to use this for your advantage and find a positive out of this negative," Hurts said. "For whatever reason, the last time we were here, the very next opportunity we had, we had a pretty dang good year. We just have to learn from it all."

While it wasn't the Eagles' turn this year, Hurts knows what is needed for them to be prepared for their turn.

After the loss, Hurts already came to terms with the outcome of the game and was focused on how he and his teammates can get back to where they want to be next season.

"I think a time of self-reflection in the offseason for sure," Hurts said. "My number one message is use every opportunity to learn and grow. It may not show now, but it will show.

"As I said, it wasn't our turn. We've had the opportunities, we've had the crumbs, we've had everything to our disposal, but it wasn't our turn, and I can accept that. And I think we can accept that knowing that the sun will rise tomorrow and there will be another opportunity to attack it." – Owen Boyle

The end for Jason Kelce?

An emotional Jason Kelce shared an embrace with Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland before heading into the locker room at Raymond James Stadium following the game. The 13th-year center, the second-longest tenured player only to Brandon Graham, has contemplated retirement for several seasons. He is still the best center in the game, earning Pro Bowl (7th time) and All-Pro honors (6th) this year. But it remains to be seen whether the 36-year-old will run it back for Year 14.

"If this was Kelce's last game, or any of the guys, I was trying to give it everything I had, so it's frustrating," said right tackle Lane Johnson.

Johnson is the only member of the Core Four – Graham, Kelce, and Fletcher Cox – who is under contract for 2024. Kelce did not speak with reporters after the game.

"Love him. He's one of my brothers. I never had a brother growing up, I was an only child, so these guys are my family," Johnson said. "I love him. He's one of the best centers to ever play the game. There are few guys who can do what he can on the football field athletically. I don't think we'll see another one like him for a long time."

Sirianni shared a similar sentiment.

"I love him. I love him. Yeah, obviously we're not there at that position yet – ready to talk about that, but he's special and I love him. He's one of the most special guys I've been around," the head coach said. "Yeah, obviously always – he's always got a place here and always want him to play. See what happens as time progresses here."

Johnson, for his part, said that he plans to continue to play for a few more seasons, but does not want to experience what transpired at the end of 2023 again.

"It's very embarassing, you go from 10-1 to losing 6 of 7 or whatever we did. We've done all the press conferences, all the explaining, trying to, and not getting it corrected. Hopefully, as long as I'm playing, I'll never have to be a part of something like this again, so that's my plan," Johnson said.

"We've offered plenty of explanations, but at the end of the day, we never did get the result that we wanted to, so we've got to change. It is what it is." – Chris McPherson

DeVonta Smith carries the load without A.J. Brown

A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith have been one of the best wide receiver duos since the former's arrival in Philadelphia following a draft-day trade in 2022. Both players surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau in each of the past two seasons and after Smith set the single-season franchise record for most receptions by a wide receiver (95) in 2022, Brown broke it with 106 this year.

The Eagles have enjoyed the two of them on the field to complement each other – with Brown's physical, ball-is-mine mentality and Smith's brilliant body control, route running, and sideline awareness. But the Eagles didn't have Smith due to an ankle injury in the regular-season finale against the Giants and then lost Brown to a knee injury. In the week leading up to Monday night's playoff game, Smith told reporters to "count me in," but Brown missed his first game as an Eagle.

Smith, the former No. 10 overall pick, responded with a playoff-career-high 148 yards on eight receptions (12 targets). According to Next Gen Stats, Smith ate up off coverage as he had six catches for 128 yards when facing 5-plus yards of cushion. Smith's 55-yard reception in the second quarter proved to be one of the few highlights that set up the team's only touchdown.

"It's very frustrating, you know, especially when you know you have the talent, you have the right mindset, you have the right things going," Smith said about the offense. "And like I said, it's just small details you're missing."

Smith said that the offense knew it would have to beat the blitz in order to be productive. The answers were there, but the execution simply wasn't.

"We knew what they were going to do. We were prepared for it – just sometimes we missed," Smith said. "Tonight, I wouldn't say it was anybody figuring anybody out. We knew what they were going to do. They knew what we were trying to do. That's why they blitzed every play – they knew we were trying to run the ball. And like I said, we had everything we wanted. We just didn't execute consistently." – Chris McPherson

Related Content