A.J. Brown on Eagles' recent slide: 'It is not the coaches. It is us'

The Eagles' struggles of late might cost them the NFC East title

The Philadelphia Eagles have lost four of their past five games, hurting their chances at the NFC East title and ending any hope of earning the conference's top seed. Wide receiver A.J. Brown did not speak to reporters after the team's past two games, fueling speculation that he was frustrated with his role in the team's struggling offense.

Brown had double-digit targets in the four games before Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but in Week 17, he caught only four balls for 53 yards in the 35-31 loss. Getting one of their main playmakers involved more in the offense is something the Eagles' coaching staff knows is key to turning things around.

"A.J. is a fantastic player. He demands a lot of attention defensively," Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said this week. "He's had a fantastic year to this point. I think he's still on pace to have a career year. A.J. is somebody that obviously everybody in this building has a lot of trust, a lot of respect for, and we've got to do a great job of getting him the ball. I have to do a great job of getting him the ball."

On Wednesday, Brown elected to speak to the media to clear the air. He said he didn't meet with reporters because he didn't want to add any more negativity to the situation, and he squashed reports that he and head coach Nick Sirianni were not on the same page.

"I could tell you that there may be things that Nick wants to fix about himself and I'll say, but the one thing I can respect: Loyalty is not one of them," Brown said. "And I say that because he takes up for us when it has nothing to do with him, and he gets the blame. But that comes with his job, and sometimes Jalen [Hurts] does the same thing. Just like Brian, he gets the wrong end of the stick sometimes, when it be us.

"But like I said today, the coaches played zero snaps this year. It is not the coaches. It is us. Like I said, if one person goes the wrong way, the whole play is over with. As you guys see in this glimpse, it is highs and lows. So that's why I feel like we are close. We are close to continue to getting better and continue to take that next step. All this freaking adversity, we're right there."

A.J. Brown headshot
A.J. Brown
WR - PHI - #11
2023 - 2024 season

Brown added that he apologized to his teammates for their having to answer questions about the situation when he chose not to meet with reporters after the past two games.

Away from the field, Brown reportedly organized a team-bonding trip at an escape room last week to improve camaraderie as the playoffs approach. After reaching the Super Bowl last season, the expectations are just as high for 2024.

"I want to win, and I'm doing everything in my power to win," Brown said. "I wake up before the sun comes up, I go home hours after the sun goes down.

"This is our life. We dedicate our whole entire life to this s***. It's serious to us, and it comes with frustration because if one man goes the wrong way a half-inch, the play is over. It doesn't work. ... That's why it's the greatest game it is today because it takes all 11 to be on the same page."

The Eagles (11-5) head into Week 18 needing help to win the division over the Dallas Cowboys. There are two ways they can clinch the NFC's second seed: Philadelphia needs to win or tie against the New York Giants and in both situations needs the Cowboys to lose the Washington Commanders. Fail to do that, and they will take the No. 5 seed and begin the playoffs on the road against the NFC South champion.