After starting the season by defeating a St. Louis Rams team that lost their best player on the second play of the game, the Eagles went on to lose four straight.
The defense, which boasted having three great cornerbacks, never seemed to know how to use them. Their big free-agent signing on the defensive line, Jason Babin, specializes in pressuring the opposition's quarterback but not much else.
The Wide Nine formation implemented by Jim Washburn doesn't exactly jive with the rest of the personnel on the defensive side of the ball, allowing teams to basically run at will on the Birds.
Their offensive line coach turned defensive coordinator has been out-coached pretty much every second of the season.
Casey Matthews became a walking joke and went from being the middle linebacker calling the plays on opening day to becoming a name that is never mentioned at all by broadcasters and color commentators on game day.
On the offense's side of the ball, there is not much of an identity.
They make big plays now and again, but there's no grit, no heart, no leadership. Michael Vick, after playing nine very good games for the Eagles in 2010, has reverted to the Michael Vick who was a struggling turnover machine in Atlanta.
After seemingly being surprised with Vick's resurgence in '10, defensive coordinators have apparently found the template to containing and defeating Vick. The Eagles should know, considering they are the ones who wrote and implemented it during the 2004 NFC Championship game.
To add insult to injury, first round pick Danny Watkins couldn't even get on the field.
The Eagles did beat the plummeting Redskins and dominated the Cowboys after they had their bye week—the one thing still consistent about Andy Reid teams, their domination after a bye week.
The team itself and the fanbase were pumped. Two wins against division rivals? That was something to be excited about. Until you realized how bad the division stunk.
On Monday Night Football they choked one up to the Chicago Bears. They never pressured the famously skittish Jay Cutler. DeSean Jackson, trying to relive the glory of the Miracle in the New Meadowlands, fumbled away a punt that led to Chicago points. The following week he'd miss Special Teams meetings and be suspended a game for doing so by his coach.
The Arizona Cardinals came to town and the Heir Apparent Kevin Kolb didn't even play. Instead a truly horrid back up QB named John Skelton suited up and outplayed Michael Vick, who played his worst game as an Eagle.
Afterwards the excuse machine was put into action for Vick.
He broke his ribs, though there's some doubt as to when. Incidentally Tony Romo broke his ribs and had his lung collapse, and he led the Dallas Cowboys to victory without missing a game.
The other excuse was he didn't have DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin missed much of the game.
But Vick's predecessor had marginal-to-terrible wide receivers—save for 2004 when Terrell Owens was an Eagle and 2009 when DeSean Jackson and Maclin began maturing into the players they are now—yet he found ways to consistently win.
Earlier in the season on the goal line against the 49ers, free agent signee Ronnie Brown performed one of the worst half back options in NFL history. Brown has been so bad the Eagles traded him at the deadline only to have the trade rejected due to medical reasons.
Newly acquired punter Chas Henry was called on to throw a pass on a fake punt at a crucial moment of the Chicago game, and threw the football as if it were a shot put.
There was arrogance on the part of the Eagles to start the 2011 season, from the owner on down to the fan tailgating in the parking lot.
Andy Reid's belief that he knows all seems to finally be his undoing.
Elevating an offensive line coach to defensive coordinator? Still refusing to balance your offense after all of these years? Giving an injury-prone, 31-year-old quarterback who never won anything in the NFL a six-year $100-million-dollar deal? Signing a backup quarterback who has had his own on and off field trouble to a $5-million-dollar deal while refusing to pay your most explosive receiving weapon what he's worth?
This train wreck was a long time coming. It dates back to the Kevin Kolb draft and even before that. It started when the Eagles kept making deals looking down the road hoping to keep the team relevant and a contender in the future, instead of adding pieces that would help them win the Super Bowl "now" or actually "then" while they had the likes of Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins, Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Westbrook, Chad Lewis, Sheldon Brown, Lito Sheppard, Ike Reese, Duce Staley, David Akers and Jim Johnson on board.
Their about-face decision to bring in big names and wedge them together like jigsaw pieces from different puzzles was both baffling and disheartening and seems to have blown up in their faces.
They had their chance between 2000 and 2009 to tweak things for the, at that time, present. They didn't. They wanted to keep the team on a even keel for years to come.
Now, with all of these big-name mercenaries on the field and on the sidelines, the ship has tipped over.
When a ship tips over there's only one direction it can go.