It might not be their biggest mistake this season, but the Eagles opted to spend Wednesday night at a hotel in Dearborn, Mich., about 10 miles west of downtown Detroit. The plan is to bus into the city on Thursday morning for their appointment as opponent in the Lions' annual Thanksgiving Day home game.
What doesn't seem to worry anyone is that one of the nation's largest Thanksgiving parades will be traveling north to south through Detroit for the 89th consecutive year and will form a line comprised of bands, floats, balloons and something called the Big Head Corps to block the way at exactly the time the Eagles will attempt to reach Ford Field.
"We'll get to the game," Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin said with a sigh. "They do this every year."
Barwin should probably know. He has a tattoo of the Detroit skyline on his right biceps, with the parade route stretching roughly from his elbow to near his armpit. Barwin is certain there is a plan to get the buses carrying Eagles players, coaches and staff around or through the parade in plenty of time.
I'm not so sure. Bigger details than this have been overlooked in getting the Eagles from the height of expectation to where they are right now, which is 4-6 and coming off a paddling of monstrous proportion in Lincoln Financial Field. Tell the truth, I'm siding with the parade.
One of the larger oversights was Chip Kelly's failure to put a franchise-quality quarterback on the roster by his third season. If you can't recognize the need for an elite quarterback in the NFL, how are you ever going to deal with the Big Head Corps?
Kelly could perhaps be forgiven for hoping Sam Bradford - Heisman Trophy winner in college, ACL Trophy winner in the pros - could stay healthy enough to be an effective stopgap until he finds a young, mobile quarterback to fit his system. But Bradford was healthy for the first eight games and still inconsistent. Now, he's out (we think) for a second game and the Eagles offense is held hostage by the wild imaginings of Mark Sanchez.
OK, then. There's a detail they missed: Quarterback. Kind of a large one, too, almost as large as the crowd of one million that will line Thursday's parade route.
What else? Well, in no particular order, Kelly didn't get the details right on the offensive line, the receivers and the running backs. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles took roster chances that left the linebacker unit suspect in the middle of the field and didn't improve a lackluster pass rush. That hasn't killed them yet against mostly so-so opposing quarterbacks, but they are about to enter a stretch in which they play three of the highest-ranked in succession - Tom Brady of New England (111.1), Tyrod Taylor of Buffalo (100.9) and Carson Palmer of Arizona (108.6). We'll see how the "improved" secondary looks in those games.
The common thread on most of these missed details is Kelly's stubborn belief he could bring in players who are always injured and they wouldn't be with the Eagles, or that holdovers with their own age or injury issues would be just fine. He constructed a roster that could hold together only with a high degree of difficulty and, not surprisingly, it has not.
So, there are two things about which I'm not convinced. I'm not sure the Eagles have given enough respect to the enormity of the Detroit Thanksgiving parade - did I mention Tim Allen is the grand marshal this year? - and I'm also not sure anyone would notice the difference if the team literally failed to show up, instead of just figuratively, as was the case versus Tampa Bay.
Philadelphia parade aficionados would want it noted here that our city's Thanksgiving parade, originally organized by Gimbels department store, is in its 96th year and is the oldest in the nation. Detroit's, originally the property of the J.L. Hudson department store, and the Macy's Parade in New York, are tied for second.
The three parades were all designed with the same purpose, an event that attracted many spectators and culminated at the front door of the department store where it would deposit Santa Claus and swing open the holiday shopping season, not to mention those front doors.
Iconic department stores have mostly come and gone, but parades and the fabulous National Football League have endured and prospered. Since Ford Field opened in 2002, they come together within three blocks of one another every Thanksgiving Day in downtown Detroit. At least until this year, that hasn't been a logistic problem for the visiting team involved. But this is the 2015 Eagles. Anything is possible. Not only wouldn't I bet on them to win the game. I think they're even money just to get there.