Philadelphia Eagles In Trouble After Two Key Losses

Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia Eagles
NFL Analysis Network

The Philadelphia Eagles are on the cusp of a new era in 2024 following the retirement of longtime franchise pillars Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox at the close of the previous season.

To many observers, the departure of Kelce and Cox signifies a significant shift for the Eagles, potentially leaving them without their traditional identity as they head into the upcoming season.

Kelce and Cox both announced their retirements within a week of each other. Kelce bid farewell during a press conference on March 4, while Cox followed suit with a heartfelt letter posted on the Eagles’ official website on March 10. With over a decade of service each, both players were synonymous with Philadelphia football.

One league executive doesn’t see things going well for the Eagles without their two strongest leaders.

“I just don’t know who they are. I think they lost their identity and lost their confidence. Teams say they want to build from the inside out, but you lost your two staple inside players in Kelce and Cox. Not only that, but those two guys were the culture guys. You lose those guys in a year when the head coach already has his back against the wall, I don’t see it ending well.”

Kelce, known for his durability and skill, boasted an impressive streak of 167 consecutive starts at center in both regular season and playoff games, stretching back to Week 9 of the 2014 season until the end of his illustrious career.

Meanwhile, Cox, a first-round draft pick in 2012, amassed 182 starts over his 12-year tenure, earning accolades such as four All-Pro selections and seven Pro Bowl appearances.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest centers in NFL history, the 36-year-old Kelce garnered All-Pro honors in six of his final seven seasons, playing a pivotal role in the Eagles’ offensive strategies, including the famed “Brotherly Shove” play, despite his personal reservations about it.

Now faced with the challenge of filling the leadership void left by Kelce and Cox, the Eagles will rely on emerging voices in the locker room. While the roster still boasts considerable talent with players like Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, Saquon Barkley, and Lane Johnson, new leaders will need to step up.

Kelce and Cox served as team captains for six seasons, sharing the record for the longest tenured captains on the Eagles’ 2023 roster. Brandon Graham, a five-time captain, remains with the team after signing a one-year contract extension in March.

Looking to bounce back from a disappointing conclusion to the 2023 season, during which they lost six of their last seven games, including a lopsided defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card game, the Eagles are eager for redemption.

Head coach Nick Sirianni returns for his fourth season at the helm, albeit with significant changes to his coaching staff, including the appointment of Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator and the hiring of Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator.

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