It’s Settled: What to Do About Our 8-8 Eagles
February 7, 2012 • 856 views
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Back in October, I wrote a column declaring the Eagles season as over in my mind, and I still stand by that. I don’t care if we went 8-8: I would have rather them go 4-12.
This Eagle’s season was our worst nightmare come alive. After a ridiculous first season, Michael Vick floundered, got hurt, and totally underperformed all year. It seemed totally hopeless. But there was an upside to the terrible season.
If we kept losing we could end up one of the worst teams in the league and get an awesome draft pick next year. Along with that, Andy would finally get fired and we could enter a new era of Philadelphia Eagles who might actually win a super bowl.
But then the Eagles did something at which they have always been number 1 in the NFL: screwing themselves over. Sure, were we in playoff contention until week 16? Yeah, but were we really? Let’s be honest; sitting at 4-8, only the delusional, and probably slightly inebriated fan base was calling a 4-win run and a miraculous playoff bid. Even so, how far would they have gone? Wildcard? Divisional? Who cares? Super Bowl or Bust.
It became very clear to me in Week 13 that we were not going to win any super bowls this year, so I started planning for next year. Unfortunately, the Eagles didn’t get the memo and kept winning games despite the fact that realistically they were playing for nothing.
This reminds me of the 76ers a few years back, who were so mediocre that from the start of the season I had no expectations for them. It’s in times like these that I would push the team to do the opposite of what they want to: lose. Eventually, the Sixers became bad enough that they could snag an early draft pick and start over.
So there’s nothing we can do about their mediocrity for now. Reid is back for another year and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. However, what does this mean for next year? What can we do to fix an 8-8 team and make a super bowl team?
Here’s my answer: Absolutely nothing.
Okay, let me elaborate. The last few weeks have been promising to say the least (yet, of course, being promising at the end of the season is pretty useless). That being said, if Vick is healthy and Shady is playing to his potential, we have a really good offense that needs no alterations.
Vick had a bad year but he can recover. He also seemed to mature a bit at the end of the year, avoiding injury. If he can stay like that all year then he can probably stay healthy. Shady McCoy is a monster of a running back, so the running game needs no changes. The Offensive Line turned out to be surprisingly good as Jason Peters finally showed up.
The receivers present a difficult situation. Desean Jackson’s contract is running out, and while Maclin has proven himself to be an elite receiver, it’s unclear what he’ll be able to do without Jackson distracting the top defensive backs.
Meanwhile, Riley Cooper, Tim Tebow’s college roommate (coincidence? I think not), has turned out to be an effective weapon mostly due to the fact that no one covers him. So what should we do about Jackson? Should we let him go, and just let the offense ride on Maclin?
Personally, I think our offense is too good to let anything change. Jackson will want a lot of money, but honestly he’s worth it in the end. If we maintain the offensive exactly the way it was, we will have enough power to beat any defense.
When I said that we change absolutely nothing, I lied. There are two things we need to change and any Eagles fan knows what they are: Juan Castillo and the linebackers. I don’t even need to explain why they need to be changed, so instead I will just tell you why nothing else needs to be changed.
The D-Line could have been better, but we honestly can’t ask for much more. Jason Babin was a beast all season and he basically applies all the pressure that we need on a quarterback to be successful. If they continue with the momentum of the last four games, we could have a dangerous defensive line.
The corner conundrum is tricky because we had three all-pro cornerbacks who underperformed. Out of the three, Asante Samuel surprisingly came out on top, but I’m not so quick to drop the other two. Our secondary has so much talent that the only reason it failed must have been the coaching. Nate Allen will be back hopefully so there is some presence in the deep secondary. If better coaching doesn’t get Nnamdi Asomugha, DRC and Asante Samuel to form an elite secondary, I don’t know what will.
Once again, this leaves us at the linebackers. We can use our 13th overall pick to get Courtney Upshaw from Alabama or Melvin Ingram from South Carolina to add a new hot talent into the mix. Knowing Reid, he’ll probably draft an O-Lineman in the first round, but hey, we can hope. Better yet, how about we trade down to the early second round and draft our next quarterback of the future.
Pardon the following digression, but I have a comment about the quarterback of the future. Michael Vick will be our quarterback for the next few years; I can say that for sure. But then what next? The Colts managed to get lucky (Pun totally intended) this year. They had a terrible year, but now there will be no in between time between Peyton Manning’s retirement or trade and Andrew Luck becoming the new franchise quarterback. Drafting Kevin Kolb was a mistake from the beginning. The reason teams go through rebuilding periods is because quarterbacks of the future rarely come by trading down to the early second round. Some force needs to be applied for a team to receive their next franchise quarterback.
As far as I can tell, Mike Kafka isn’t the quarterback of the future, but he and Vince Young will be fine backups until we need to start thinking about the next great Eagles quarterback.
Back to the Eagles next year: We have an elite team that can go all the way with the right circumstances and the right coaching. Let’s hope