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Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox back Nick Sirianni amidst Eagles' collapse: He's a winner

The Philadelphia Eagles went from nearly winning a Super Bowl against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs last year to suffering an ignominious 32-9 defeat against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Super Wild Card Weekend this season. The loss at Raymond James Stadium on Monday night completed Philadelphia's stunning collapse -- the Eagles started the 2023 NFL season by winning 10 of their first 11 games before losing six times in the final seven games they played.

The Philadelphia free-fall has brought into question the future of head coach Nick Sirianni, along with the playing futures of longtime Eagles stalwarts Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce. The Philly veterans spoke to reporters on Wednesday to wrap up the season -- and Cox offered an impassioned defense of Sirianni, despite the Eagles' tough end to the 2023 campaign.

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Cox, a six-time Pro Bowl selection who has spent his entire career with the Eagles, pointed out Wednesday that it would be strange for the franchise to fire a head coach who has won 10 or more games in consecutive seasons -- with an NFC championship to boot. Cox claimed to be unaware of the speculation surrounding Sirianni's future and dismissed it out of hand -- even though the veteran defensive tackle is a free agent this spring and may not return to Philly.

"Come on, man. He's the head football coach of this team, man," Cox said. "There (isn't) even (any) f*****g discussion about that. I don't (have) anything to say about that. You're a clown, bro. Get out of my face."

Kelce was more measured if not diplomatic in his response to the mounting speculation around Sirianni. The 36-year-old All-Pro center might not be playing under Sirianni next year, either -- Kelce is set to retire, pending an official announcement -- but he made it clear just how much he appreciates the coach, who has a 36-20 record (including the playoffs) since replacing Doug Pederson in 2021.

"I love Nick, I think he's a great head coach," Kelce said. "Obviously, nobody was good enough this year. I wasn't, none of the players, none of the coaches were good enough down the stretch. ... But I'll always have faith in Nick Sirianni."

Sirianni's status seems secure

In spite of the noise surrounding him, Sirianni is in position to ride out the turbulence and keep his job entering next season -- although everything is pending a meeting with team owner Jeffrey Lurie in the coming days.

Lurie will have the final say on Sirianni's future in Philadelphia and could yet dismiss the 42-year-old if he is not satisfied with the coach's plan to improve the Eagles. Sirianni and general manager Howie Roseman are reportedly canvassing the NFL to overhaul the coaching staff, and changes are expected to be made to Philly's defense -- only two teams allowed more points than the Eagles did in 2023, while the possible departures of Cox and Kelce will create gaps on both lines that wil need to be plugged.

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