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Conflicting claims emerge as to why the Eagles collapsed

The 2023 Eagles went from 10-1 to 11-6 and one and done. As it was all falling apart, it seemed as if there was a compelling story as to why it happened, one that might never see the light of day — at least not for a while.

This week, Craig Carton of FS1 has claimed that he knows what happened, without disclosing what he knows. And it has prompted a mini-media scuffle between Carton and Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Jeff Kotuby of BarrettSportsMedia.com has the details, and the clip of Carton's original explanation.

"It is a problem that would splinter any group of men — any group of men," Carton said on the air. "It is a real significant problem and it cannot be fixed. . . . I'm not gonna tell you more than that. I know what the problem was. I know they're trying to fix it. I don't think it can be fixed. So it will be very interesting to see if a high-profile player is no longer with the Eagles."

Carton obviously knows (or thinks he knows) more than he said. His co-hosts clearly know what he knows (or thinks he knows). Watching the clip, it seems likely if not obvious that they goaded him into talking about it — and that they then tried to coax him to go the rest of the way with it. He didn't, for now.

Enter Schefter. Appearing on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia, the topic of Carton's claim came up. Said Schefter, via Kotuby: “I texted someone in the organization yesterday, and the text I got back was, ‘None of that ‘S’ happened.'"

Well, no S, Adam. No one with the team is going to say, "Carton is absolutely right." They're trying to fix it. Part of fixing it is concealing it. So, no, sending a text to whoever gives you a five-minute head's up about the team's next official transaction is going to get anything other than a denial. Moreover, that person is going to be very happy if you push to the world the team's official position on the situation, thereby keeping the Philly branch of the BREAKING NEWS FROM ADAM SCHEFTER pipeline flowing, just as free agency is approaching.

Regardless of whether Carton is right, Schefter's claim hardly proves Carton wrong. As Carton himself told Erich Richter of the New York Post.

“Considering I never said what the situation was, what exactly are the Eagles denying?” Carton said. “I don’t know what the Eagles are denying. Just because the team is denying something and saying it didn’t happen, we should believe them?

“The fact that this has become such a big deal is comical. When Adam called Howie Roseman, what story did he ask him about in relation to what I said? I was very specific not to reveal what I know to be true. So again, what is ‘total S’ and what is being denied?”

We still don't know. But something happened both to cause the Eagles to lose all but one of their games after starting 10-1 and to do so with a lackluster overall demeanor and a constant sense of frustration and thinly-veiled internal acrimony. Surely, it's something more than Big Dom not being around to babysit Nick Sirianni during games.

Beyond the question of what Carton knows (or thinks he knows) is the question of whether it can be fixed. And then the question becomes, if the team decides it can't be fixed, which "high-profile player is no longer with the Eagles," if any.