In an alternate universe, Sunday’s match up between the 2-1 Eagles and 2-1 Titans features the same quarterback battle between Carson Wentz and Marcus Mariota. Only if a few moves back in 2015 and 2016 took a different route, the two would be under center for the opposing team.
There is a scenario where Sunday features Marcus Mariota’s Eagles and Carson Wentz’s Titans.
What actually happened
Three years after the Chip Kelly era ended in Philadelphia, Eagles fans know the tale. Back in 2015 when Kelly won the power struggle with Howie Roseman, he began to reshape the roster by trading LeSean McCoy, letting Jeremy Maclin walk, trading Nick Foles for Sam Bradford. He replaced McCoy with Demarco Murray and Ryan Mathews while spending big on free agent corner Byron Maxwell.
To finish the roster overhaul, many expected the former Oregon Head Coach to move up in the draft for the QB he groomed into a Heisman winner with the Ducks. It seemed like the Eagles were set to do what it took to get Mariota in midnight green.
The targeted draft spot was the second overall pick owned by the Tennessee Titans. Kelly to this day says the trade talks didn’t even get to an offer as the Titans were clear they were comfortable making the pick and selecting a quarterback.
However, the rumors that Kelly offered any signal caller and defensive player on the Eagles roster, plus a bunch of picks doesn’t seem that far fetched considering Kelly thought Mariota had the potential to win “multiple Super Bowls.”
Either way the Titans identified Mariota as their quarterback of the future and selected him second overall. The Eagles stuck with Sam Bradford, regressed on offense, and Kelly was fired after the Eagles were eliminated from the 2015 playoffs in a week 16 loss to Washington.
The following year, the Eagles accomplished what Kelly couldn’t and got to pick two after a trade with Miami going from pick thirteen to eight, and then a trade with Cleveland going from pick eight to two.
The Titans meanwhile sat at first overall but had already invested in Mariota the year prior, so they collected draft picks by moving down in a trade with the Rams for Jared Goff.
What if the Titans were willing to deal in 2015 with the Eagles? They liked Zach Mettenberger or Sam Bradford enough to pass on Mariota and give him to his former college coach.
In an alternate universe
In this hypothetical, the Eagles select Mariota with the second overall pick. They have enough success in 2015 to keep Kelly as the head coach and head of personnel, taking them out of the quarterback market.
The Titans meanwhile have another down year as Bradford continues his underwhelming career and have the first overall pick.
Without Mariota, the Titans are not interested in moving down with the Rams and select a big, strong armed, mobile quarterback in Carson Wentz as they see the success Mariota had with his legs in Philly.
Clearly they were interested in that style of quarterback in the real world taking Mariota.
Just those two moves could have changed the fabric of the NFL universe.
It could have us watching Mariota and the Eagles against Wentz and the Titans.
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Louie dives into how the Eagles can do damage in a surprisingly underwhelming NFC conference, where Maddox will lineup in the secondary next year, and brings you our weekly “Stock Up, Stock Down” segment on the Locked on Eagles podcast!
From dog masks to ski masks
With the season on the line, on the road, against one of the best teams in the NFL, Nick Foles and the Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive with a 30-23 victory against the Rams.
How was Jim Schwartz able to hold one of the top offenses in the league to 23 points?
How does Nick Foles keep pulling off the impossible?
Will he be the guy the rest of the reason including perhaps playoffs?
Louie and Gino break down the memorable victory over the Rams.
No easy way out
By Lars Lewis
The term ‘No Easy Way Out’ refers to a song by Robert Tepper from a famous movie involving a couple key factors that relate to what was witnessed Sunday night in Los Angeles.
One factor, a fighter from Philadelphia whose back is against the wall and senses the walls closing in as he encounters the other factor, a cyborg-like monster who has wiped out essentially any sort of defense that’s faced him.
Yes, there was a lot of Rocky IV in this game and I’ll explain why.
It seemed the Eagles, who had once again called upon their Rocky Balboa in Nick Foles, longed for one more puncher’s chance against a foe that could certainly put away their faint playoff hopes for good.
We’re not indestructible,
Baby better get that straight
I think it’s unbelievable
How you give into the hands of fate
So you figured out the first piece of the puzzle, but what about that certain monster who loomed so large over Rocky physically but also mentally?
Yeah, that was Ivan Drago, and Sean McVay fits him to a tee.
I mean think about it. Blonde, spiky hair, blue eyes, chiseled face, and a borderline unfair amount of gifts both possess(ed). Drago’s superhuman power and technique coincides with McVay’s absurd memory that teeters between scary and let’s face it, rather annoying.
Doug Pederson, following the highest of highs last season when he beat Lord Palpa…err I mean Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl, has never faced the kind of scrutiny the way he’s had this year and especially leading into the game Sunday.
I see all the angry faces
Afraid that could be you and me
Talkin about what might have been
I’m thinkin about what I used to be
When it got to game time in the L.A. Coliseum, just like Rocky when he walked to the ring in Moscow, the Eagles knew they were fueled by a burning desire set ablaze through a heartbreaking defeat in Dallas coinciding with Rocky’s loss of Apollo in the film.
Foles throughout the first three quarters resembled the Foles we all saw on that fateful February night, hitting Alshon Jeffrey for big gains, moving it up and down the field and consistently getting into the red-zone to allow his trio of running backs to do their damage.
“You see he’s not a machine! He’s a man!” Tony “Duke” Evers
The Rams as the Chicago Bears proved last week, are indeed human and Foles, along with a sterling performance from Jim Schwartz’ defense for most of the night, has assured Rocko one more round as they play Houston and then close the season in D.C for maybe, just maybe, a second shot at the title.
There’s no easy way out there’s no shortcut home