Taking offense at the Eagles offseason

Cutline: Jason Kelce says he believes the NFL will not let players work together in the locker room unless it is completely safe. Photo by Al Thompson

The National Football League season never ends, it just rolls toward the next thing.

Next up for NFL fans is the annual March trip to tropical Indianapolis for the NFL Combine, known mostly for pictures of Tom Brady’s collegiate dad-bod, endless 40-yard dash footage and the largest football meat market on earth.

While the Eagles coaches and brass will be looking over potential players whom every fan will be overreacting about at draft time.

Meanwhile, every Eagles fan brave enough to think back on the end of last season has the very same thought. What on God’s Kelly Green earth happened to the Eagles?

More specifically, what happened to the Eagles offense? And what’s next?

Step one, as it is with any NFL offense, is to figure out what happened to Jalen Hurts.

Hurts was as good a young quarterback as there was in 2022. And for a minute, he was paid like it. The contract extension Hurts signed briefly made him the highest-paid player in the league and that mantle didn’t always sit well on his shoulders.

As a further complication, Hurts was put into positions where he was asked to carry too much of the load. As the Eagles offense became more and more predictable, more and more responsibility fell on the quarterback’s shoulders.

The Eagles need to simplify the game for Hurts. That starts with talent.

AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith are two of the best wide receivers across the entire league. Beyond that Hurts had no help. Dallas Goedert, good as he is, was not available all season. Again.

D’Andre Swift was a terrific addition at running back with Kenneth Gainwell. The issue was usage. At times the Eagles’ run game was a forgotten part of the equation. That fact put even more pressure on Hurts.

The offensive line is rightly thought of as among the very best in the sport.

Center Jason Kelce and right tackle Lane Johnson are the very best at their position in the league. Landon Dickerson and Cam Jurgens are two young, star guards. Jordan Mailata is more than just an interesting story, he could eventually become one of the league’s best left tackles.

Next year will definitely be different, even if Kelce decides he wants to play another season. Without Kelce, Jurgens is most likely prepared to slide into the middle of the Eagles line.

Fortunately, the Eagles’ most important personnel move was retaining line coach Jeff Stoutland, who is maybe the team’s most important employee beyond Jeffrey Lurie. One potential offensive coordinator candidate was crossed off the list unceremoniously when he suggested that he would like to bring in a new line coach.

The combination of Kelce and Stoutland has made the Eagles a force from when Chip Kelly enticed Stoutland to Philly from the University of Alabama.

The Eagles have much more to work with on the offensive side of the ball and new coordinator Kellen Moore should be able to bring some stability to the unit while bringing more diversity to its execution.

The Eagles offense became stale last season. A fresh new approach should be able to turn Hurts back into the player who signed the biggest contract in NFL history (for a week or so).

A fresh influx of players, a real third wide receiver, a No. 2 tight end, a replacement for Swift if the numbers don’t line up for him to return. These things alone should click the Eagles offense back to where it should be.

The offense is the reason Eagles fans should have optimism that next year will be more like the 10-1 start than the colossal collapse. As the nonstop NFL season wears on, things should get better.