Adam Thielen touchdown

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles are going through a Super Bowl hangover

Dave Uram
October 09, 2018 - 2:02 pm

How can a team returning most of its key players from an incredible Super Bowl run look so terrible?

Related: 9 players the Eagles could trade for

“We’re playing like we’re a young rookie team and we’re not,” Carson Wentz said after the Eagles lost 23-21 to the Vikings.

The Eagles aren’t 2-3 because of lack of effort. They’re certainly trying, hence the near comeback from down 17 points to Minnesota. The Birds are below .500 because of inconsistent execution and self inflicting mistakes.

“I think we just got to be locked in a little bit more,” Wentz said of the pre-snap penalties at his Tuesday press conference. “I think sometimes we let the little details kind of skip us and guys are just trying to play fast and do all these things and I think it’s just a lack of focus here and there that we got to work on.”

They’re committing illegal formation and false start penalties. They’re dropping passes, blocking poorly and allowing big plays on defense. Not to mention, Doug Pederson has returned to lack of balance in the play calling, with some fans speculating that to be a result of new offensive coordinator Mike Groh stepping in for Frank Reich.

These faults aren’t a result of a bad team or poorly constructed roster. Professional athletes aren’t robots. They’re not super human either. They’re regular people like you and I, only in extremely high profile jobs that require excellent athletic ability.

So, it’s not far-fetched to say that some members of the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles are going through a Super Bowl hangover, which is lackluster performances after competing at the highest level the NFL offers.

“You probably have to ask them because I’m over it,” Pederson said at his Monday press conference. “I’m trying to fix our problems right now, currently. It seems like that we’re trying to move on and move past, but we kind of keep getting compared to last season.”

“I think the Super Bowl was in February and I don’t think anybody is hung over that long,” Fletcher Cox said. “I think you got to ask other players that. I think you all heard coach say that. I’m over it. We lost two games in a row and I think the biggest thing for us right now is to get a win and nothing else is important. We need to get a win and turn things around.”

Unfortunately for Pederson, Cox, and the Birds, that’s a storm they’ll need to weather all season. They may try to move on, but the city and sports world will always use the 2017 “underdogs” as a measuring stick for future squads, including the current collection of players, which has most of its guys back from last year.

Reich, John DeFilipo, LeGarrette Blount, Trey Burton, Brent Celek, Torrey Smith, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, Patrick Robinson and Mychal Kendrick are notable names not with the Eagles.

Blount was very impactful in the postseason, Burton was a reliable option for Wentz, Robinson recorded four regular season interceptions and one very important pick six in the playoffs other others put together their fair share of contributions. Their departures shouldn’t result in a big drop off from 2017.

In fairness, the injury bug is back in the Eagles locker room. In fact, it never left. For most, if not all of the season, the team has missed Tim Jernigan, Rodney McLeod, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, Alshon Jeffery, Mack Hollins, Chris Maragos and newcomers Mike Wallace and Richard Rodgers.

“We played a month, almost a month and a week longer than all the other teams, so our injury level was different and healing times and there’s all kinds of things that can sort of push things back in the regular season just a little bit, and that’s kind of where we are right now as a team,” Pederson explained. “We’re starting to get guys healthy, but then there’s always a setback.”

Jay Ajayi and his ACL injury is the latest

But, injuries shouldn’t be an excuse, as they weren’t during the team’s Super Bowl run. At various points along the way, that squad lost Wentz, Jason Peters, Sproles, Jordan Hicks and Maragos. They still found a way to win games, eventually the biggest one of them all.

You can take a look back at previous Super Bowl Champs and say they didn’t experience a hangover, but every team is different.

Just put your focus on the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles. On paper, they’re very similar to the 2017 version. It’s just really, really, really hard to duplicate the magic of a Super Bowl run.