Stop making plans for a parade down Broad Street, Eagles fans. Turn off the music. The party is over. The Birds are in trouble. Sounding the alarm is none other than John Kincade, host of 97.5 The Fanatic’s morning show. After the Eagles’ victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, he posted a column on the radio station’s website entitled, “Eagles fans — Paint me officially ‘concerned.’

Friends, Philadelphians, Eagles fans, lend me your ears. I have come not to bury Mr. Kincade but to praise him. John is an experienced radio voice who knows what moves the needle. He doesn’t need some loudmouth blogger telling him how to do his job any more than Darius Slay needs Billy from Mayfair to explain to him how to shut down Justin Jefferson. Besides, writing is hard. It’s an art that requires us to weave the complicated and dissonant thoughts swimming in our head into a coherent narrative. There are few prospects more daunting than the blank page and the blinking cursor, taunting you to fill the empty void with something — anything — until you desperately appropriate a popular Shakespeare quote, turning it on its head slightly and hoping that it works.

So I am reluctant to criticize others who try their hand at the written word. I think it’s worth spending time on Kincade’s piece, however, not because the premise of worrying over a 10-1 football team is a bit ridiculous but because I have a hunch he’s not alone in his concern over the state of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Some elements of the fan base have a difficult time embracing success. Something awful is always lurking around the corner, and the good times are always due to end yesterday. They protect themselves from impending disappointment by imagining problems or catastrophizing minor setbacks. It’s a defense mechanism. Nobody wants to get hurt.  And yet, that’s the risk you take when you make an emotional investment in a team. You might as well sit back, embrace the corresponding vulnerability, and enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts.

I understand, then, when Kincade offers this observation about the Eagles:

“What it is continues to be a genuine feeling of concern and it’s not getting quieter, it’s getting louder. The voice in my head saying, this team doesn’t look like the one that rampaged to a 7-0 start. The last 4 games have a commonality. It is one of injury, head scratching coaching decisions, reckless turnovers and genuine flat play. Will the real Eagles please stand up?”

The Birds certainly have looked a bit vulnerable in the past few weeks, especially during a Monday night letdown against the Washington Commanders two weeks ago. The listless performance against an inferior opponent was dominated by uncharacteristic turnovers and very poor defensive play. The Eagles followed up this effort with a come-from-behind victory against an underachieving Colts squad that had recently fired head coach Frank Reich and replaced him with former center and ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday. The script flipped in that game, with the defense asserting itself while Jalen Hurts and company struggled to find their footing.

While the contests have gotten tighter and the play has been uneven, the results have been the same. The Eagles are winning games, and they’re doing it in a variety of ways. They are the first franchise to 10 wins in the 2022 campaign, and they have maintained a two-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East, the best division in football.

Sure, there are question marks. The kickoff coverage is atrocious, and special teams coordinator Michael Clay has yet to clean up the operation. Multiple times on Sunday night the Packers enjoyed short fields courtesy of long returns. Meanwhile, Jonathan Gannon’s unit continues to struggle defending the run. As Kincade points out, the team will certainly benefit from the impending return of defensive tackle Jordan Davis. Nickel corner Avonte Maddox’s absence has also hurt, a pain that will be exacerbated by safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s extended time among the wounded:

But that’s football. Key players get injured and roster depth is tested as reserves are pressed into active duty. Every team in the NFL will contend with the same problem as the calendar turns to December. What every team does not have is a general manager like Howie Roseman. None of Roseman’s peers have proven better at quickly assembling a team into a title contender.

After his line leaked like a sieve in the aforementioned loss to the Commanders, Roseman scooped up free agents Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph to fortify the defense. Their impact was felt immediately as the Eagles held the Colts’ running game and star tailback Jonathan Taylor under 100 yards.

Roseman’s skills are not limited to identifying plug-and-play defensive linemen. The Eagles are not even two years removed from an offseason in which they parted ways with Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson and traded disgruntled franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, swallowing a $33.8 million dead cap charge in the process. They replaced Pederson with Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, a young coach who lacked playcalling and head coaching experience. Like Pederson during the 2016 hiring cycle, Sirianni was not interviewed by any other team with a vacancy for the top sideline job. When the Eagles reached him with their interview request, Sirianni was vacationing with family and didn’t have a suit on hand.

And so, an inexperienced and young head coach was tasked with developing a young and inexperienced (on the NFL level) quarterback. The results have spoken for themselves. Hurts is firmly in the MVP conversation, and an organizational question mark heading into the year has turned into a resounding exclamation point. The radio chatter in Philadelphia has focused less on Hurts’ intangibles and a lot more on his talent of late.

Meanwhile, Roseman has taken advantage of Hurts’ first contract and the stability he created by building his roster from the inside out — focusing on the offensive and defensive lines, with some key free agent pickups and trade acquisitions supplementing the firm foundation in place.

At some point, Kincade and others inclined to lean into the Negadelphia mindset will need to get comfortable with the fact that they are supporting one of the best-run operations in the game. Postseason success isn’t guaranteed, but the Birds will once again punch a ticket to the playoffs. Since it’s impossible to zero out the bad breaks that can derail a season, we might as well enjoy this run. There will always be time to question Hurts and the direction of the franchise if the Eagles falter in January. Only one team can hoist the Lombardi Trophy, and it doesn’t require much creativity to predict failure in a game defined by it.

Here’s the thing about being a fan though – pessimism isn’t courageous, hope is.

So do yourself a favor, John Kincade, and take the advice of a recent visitor to our fair city: R-E-L-A-X. And once you do, perhaps you’ll notice the real Eagles have been standing up, week in and week out. They’re a resilient group, battle-tested and ready for the challenge ahead.