Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Eagles are no longer front page news

Jeffrey Lurie has a problem.

It's right there on the front page of our Monday newspaper. It also was apparent on the front page of Monday's Philadelphia Daily News.

Or perhaps better said, it's not there.

Oh, there is a "teaser" to the latest Eagles loss. But the Eagles are no longer leading the front page on Mondays. There was a time when that would be unthinkable. Not anymore.

It's not the first time either. Last Monday, after that dreadful effort vs. the Bengals, the Birds were not the lead story in either newspaper.

The most important decision I make here most days is what will lead our front page. We use it as a billboard to lure readers into the rest of the newspaper.

Yes, we use large headlines in an attempt to grab readers' attention. Some people call that "sensationalism." I call it classic tabloid journalism.

In a way, that is our front page's job. When I see someone stop and peer at one of our honor boxes, I know that front page is doing its job. When they lean in and take a close look, I have a smile on my face. When they plunk down their hard-earned cash to buy a copy, I say 'Mission Accomplished.' Of course when they sometimes open the box and take all the papers inside, I'm not quite as thrilled.

There was a time when I knew what my front page story was going to be just about every Monday in the fall.

Very simply put, in my best news judgment, the Eagles are becoming irrelevant.

They lost again Sunday, giving up a first half lead another NFC East foe, the Redskins, and once again seeing an attempt by rookie QB Carson Wentz to lead the team to victory with a last-minute drive come up short.

They are now 5-8 after starting the season 3-0. They are winless against the NFC East.

Don't blame Lentz. I think he's the real deal.

It's the rest of the team that is not.

And apparently I'm not alone.

Did you notice anything strange about the Linc on Sunday? Unless I missed something, it looked less than full.

All of this should be a concern to Lurie. He hired a no-name coach who had never been a head coach in the NFL when he turned the reins of the team over to Doug Pederson. Fans immediately chafed at the idea of Pederson being "Andy Reid Lite," since Pederson was the former' longtime Eagles head coach's offensive guy in Kansas City.

Lurie allowed this team to come into a season with a rookie quarterback and almost no offensive weapons.

He then maybe the best player on the team, right offensive tackle Lane Johnson, inexplicably pick up a second PED violation, thus earning a 10-week vacation and sabotaging the team's season.

Yes, the Eagles surprised everyone with a 3-0 start. Pederson, Howie Roseman and Wentz were the talk of the town. The Eagles have lost 8 of 10 since then.

They are winless against NFC opponents, with dates remaining against both the Giants and Cowboys that sure look like losses.

Now there is talk that maybe the team should shelve Wentz for the rest of the season instead of risking him in front of banged -up offensive line, including right tackle Matt Tobin, a backup pressed into service who almost got the rookie signal caller killed in the final minute of Sunday's Redskins' game. Wentz was driving the Eagles to what could have been a signature comeback win. Instead, he got blindsided, coughed up the ball - and the game. The Redskins recovered, took a knee and walked off with a win they probably didn't deserve.

Lurie now is facing perhaps the ultimate in Philly sports ignominy.

His Eagles are no longer front page news.

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