Moving On from Marcus Mariota: A Eulogy to the 2015 Eagles Offseason


Were it not for the events leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, maybe hopes would have not reached the fever pitch they did. This time last season, the Eagles quarterback situation seemed as stable as it had been in years. A shaky, injury-riddled season by Nick Foles and a disastrous redemption tour by Mark Sanchez later, and Eagles fans had revved up the hype train on a path for inevitable disappointment.

It seemed impossible. An unprecedented 18-pick jump in the first round with two quarterbacks at the top of the class felt like something out of a movie. Yet, were there ever an instance where a fairytale scenario with all the pieces coming together seemed appropriate, it was this one. A Heisman trophy winning quarterback reuniting with the coach who provided him the initial platform to showcase his skills to lead a title-starved city to a Super Bowl was the perfect outcome for a city destined for imperfection. Each one of us, down to the most respected reporters and insiders in the city, bought the narrative hook-line-and sinker. Like a losing lottery ticket, however, dreams were dashed in a flash.

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As the moment of truth grew closer, the proposals grew more outlandish. How on Earth could the Titans pass up the reported deals that were on the table? To say that the trade felt more like a formality than a possibility at certain points would be an understatement. Even after the Titans turned in their selection, there was the lingering hope that maybe something might happen later in the evening. But it was not to be. Marcus Mariota is a Tennessee Titan and dozens of Philadelphians donning custom-made #8 jerseys and chanting, ‘do the deal!’ were forced to face the reality we so blindingly ignored for months.

Though the reality of not landing Marcus Mariota may fade over time, Sam Bradford’s inside track on the QB1 slot on the 2015 depth chart will not. Like it or not, the former number one pick whose young career has been dashed by injuries and inconsistency is next up to the dish to try to provide Philadelphia with the signal-caller it has lacked for so long. After exuding such enthusiasm and carrying the Eagles banner upon his introduction at the NovaCare Complex, Bradford was put through the proverbial ringer by a fanbase clamoring for the draft’s shiniest toy.

Threatened by a carbon copy of what he once was, a top-of-the-class talent with all the makings of a franchise quarterback, Bradford kept quiet as the ‘silly season’ ran its course. Now those rumors and rumblings have been put to bed. Once again, Sam Bradford has the chance to deliver for a franchise and meet the potential that was worth spending a first overall pick on a long time ago.

There may never be a more perfect storm than the 2015 offseason and pursuit, no matter how serious Chip Kelly claims it was, of Marcus Mariota. Given the lack of distractions by the city’s other teams, the dearth of information provided by the parties involved, the glowing persona exuded by the desired target, or the fit that seemed too perfect here and too imperfect elsewhere; Philadelphia will most likely never hitch its wagon to an unattainable object like it did with Mariota.

Sam Bradford might fully recover from his knee injuries and force the city to its hands and knees in praise for the organization not pulling the trigger on a deal for the 2nd overall pick. Perhaps Kelly was telling the truth and the jump was too great a distance to make. One near certainty in all of this is that, if and when Kelly leaves Philadelphia, fans will wonder what made the organization blink at not doing whatever it took to acquire the perfect quarterback for the coach they had to have.

Next: Morning Phil-Up: Getting To Know Nelson Agholor

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