The 2023 season couldn't have begun much better for the Philadelphia Eagles. Coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII, the Eagles began the 2023 season 10-1, seemingly putting to rest the idea that a Super Bowl Hangover was going to claim another victim. However, Philadelphia's season took a drastic turn, falling apart as fast as you can say “Fly Eagles, Fly.” Philly lost five of their final six games of the regular season, missed out on an NFC East division title, and wound up being bounced in the Wild Card Round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The collateral damage of this meltdown wound up costing the coordinators on both sides of the ball their jobs, but there's no guarantee that things will be hunky dory in the City of Brotherly Love moving forward because of those personnel changes. Over the final few weeks of the 2023 regular season, rumors were running rampant in Philadelphia that the Eagles late-season swoon had something to do with locker room turmoil that wide receiver AJ Brown was possibly at the center of. Brown will return to Philadelphia in 2024 for his third season with the Eagles, and according to the All-Pro receiver himself, his presence within the Eagles locker room is vital, and possibly even misunderstood.

“I'm the person you need on this team because I am willing to hold people accountable, make people around me better. But nobody sees that,” AJ Brown said during an appearance on 94 WIP radio in Philadelphia. “All you see is the little flare ups…Nobody in that building works harder than me, I can stand on that and say that.”

To say that the Eagles go as AJ Brown goes is not necessarily accurate, but if you look at the numbers, there's certainly some correlation. In the first eight games of the season, the Eagles were 7-1 and AJ Brown was not just the top target of quarterback Jalen Hurts, but also by any statistical measure one of the three best receivers in the league. In just eight games, look at the numbers he put up:

83 targets, 60 receptions, 939 yards, 5 touchdowns

Those first eight weeks of the season include a six-week stretch where Brown had at least 125 receiving yards in each game, setting the NFL record. Over the course of the final nine games of the season, Brown wasn't nearly as productive and the Eagles, who went 4-5 over the back half of the season, paid dearly for it:

75 targets, 46 receptions, 517 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 lost fumbles

Brown didn't find the end zone in the final six games of the regular season, and he suffered a knee sprain in week 18 that kept him out of Philadelphia' Wild Card Round loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Along with Brown, quarterback Jalen Hurts and head coach Nick Sirianni will be returning for the Eagles' 2024 campaign. There is still the foundation of a Super Bowl contender here, but Philadelphia can't afford to deal with any of the in-fighting that plagued their locker room last year.