We just can't help ourselves. There we were watching the Houston Texans duke it out with the Cleveland Browns during the Wild Card Round of the NFL/AFC Playoffs, and we found ourselves doing what Philadelphia Eagles fans often do. We kept paying attention to former Birds on the winning team's roster, both coaches and players.
Their head coach, DeMeco Ryans, is a former Eagles middle linebacker. Matt Burke, a former Birds run game coordinator/defensive line coach is the defensive coordinator. Another Eagles assistant, Cory Undlin is over there too. Then, there are the players.
You may have noticed that two former Eagles, defensive end Derek Barnett and cornerback Steven Nelson, combined for a big play. Barnett got home on a pass rush, affecting the flight of a Joe Flacco pass attempt. Nelson was a beneficiary. A beautiful pick-six was the result. The Houston Texans never looked back.
Yeah... We can't just sit here and let that ride! Why aren't we talking about why Derek Barnett didn't do some of this more often when he was in Philly? Since leaving the City of Brotherly Love, he has appeared in six regular-season games with the Texans. He started four of them. 19 tackles and 2.5 sacks were the result. In the Wild Card Round, he racked up two more tackles, including one for a loss of yardage, and the aforementioned sack.
Look at yourselves... Some of you said he had no talent and no one would want him after he left Philly. We tried to tell you. Former first-rounders will always land somewhere. They'll always get another opportunity. This does shine a light on the Eagles coaching staff though.
We like Tracy Rocker. We'll never forget how Philly landed Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph late and Rocker got them ready for action, but why couldn't he help Barnett get better? Why are we continuing to blame Jordan Davis because he isn't where we'd like him to be?
Yeah... Again, we aren't letting this ride!
The Eagles can ill afford to allow good talent to walk out without reaching their potential and for their assistant coaches to underachieve without fear of accountability.
Say what you will about former Eagles wide receivers coach/offensive coordinator Mike Groh. Yeah, he wasn't the greatest O.C., but for two seasons, Nelson Agholor NEVER looked better than he did when Groh was his position coach. Groh got the best out of his guy. That's coaching! That's what we're looking for.
Why isn't Aaron Moorehead getting more out of Quez Watkins? Why did Mack Hollins get better AFTER HE LEFT? Why couldn't Derek Barnett do in Philly what he is doing in Houston? It makes us ask a lot of questions.
We hate to bang on Moorehead. He's only one example of a problem that can be highlighted all over the Eagles coaching staff. Players like A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith don't excel because they're playing under the tutelage of great coaches. They excel because they're phenomenal.
Where you can better judge coaching is how they advance the marginal to below-average players and folks... That too often doesn't happen unless we're talking about the occasional Dennard Wilson. Yeah, we know! He's in Baltimore now helping Kyle Hamilton become a star and working his magic with the Ravens defensive backfield.
This isn't the usual 'fire everybody' take, but it is some unsolicited advice for making the Eagles coaching staff better. Guys need to be held accountable. If you don't need any more evidence, look at what Derek Barnett is doing. There's no reason why he shouldn't have done any of that while wearing the midnight green.