This is my first fanpost here at BGN. Please be nice. ;-)
I don't think that anymore can be said about last night's game other than we just got outplayed by a better Dallas Cowboys team. That being said, the Eagles do have a lot of potential with their solid young core of players and with a few tweaks, might be able to make a real push at the Super Bowl next year.
Yeah, yeah, that's said pretty much every year with this team, and I'm used to that disappointment, but in theory, the Eagles really are just a few steps away from being a real contender.
So what do I think they should do?
For starters, the Eagles had a lot of injuries, including losing Stewart Bradley, their rock star starting middle linebacker to injury during training camp, Quintin Demps during the year, Ellis Hobbs as a kick returner thus leaving us with the helpless Macho Harris in that role, and the beating our secondary took today.
They'll get a lot of key players back next year. There will be free agency, although with the uncapped year coming, there may not be a lot going on there, there will be trades, and there will be the draft. This team has a young core and it will improve. But what moves do you make?
First of all, right now, I would trade Brian Westbrook. He's too fragile and too old for a running back whose game is speed and quickness and elusiveness to be effective anymore. That being said, if you can get a team to bite like the Raiders would or the Redskins would and get a really good return (3rd round draft pick or better), then go for it. Make the move. You have 2 running backs in Shady McCoy and Leonard Weaver. It will be getting something at the cost of nothing. The Eagles were 7-1 this year when Westbrook was NOT in the line-up. This team won't miss him at all. they no longer need him. I know that a lot of fans would hate to part with Westbrook, but he was useless to this team this year.
Second question, the quarterbacks. Yes, McNabb is maddingly inconsistent at times. But yes, he is also the Eagles best option to win right now. This game was not his fault. He can't be blamed for a complete collapse from the offensive line. He got no protection today, snaps were consistently off their mark, and he never got a chance to see the field. Kevin Kolb had 2 impressive games this year, but he has not been tested at all with the rigors of a full season. Can you trust Michael Vick to be a full-time starter?
As far as the draft and free agency goes: Make sure Jamaal Jackson and Stewart Bradley get healthy pronto and retool that offensive line and secondary. Macho Harris is clearly not ready yet, and I have not been wowed by the play of either Mikell or Jones. Those should be Reid's number one priorities this off-season. Sure the Eagles could use a 4th or 5th string receiver, but that should not be addressed at the start of free agency or the early portion in the draft. That's something you worry about once all the headliners are gone and you are in the 4th round of the draft. Whatever the Eagles do, they better make Sheldon Brown happy. He is a much better tackler and cover corner than Asante Samuel. Samuel may get the big plays, but when he is not getting a great INT, he is easily beaten in coverage and frequently whiffs on too many tackles.
I'm not sure how much of a statement I can make about the Eagles linebackers because without Bradley they just fell to pieces. There was never any consistency there. Personally I liked Akeem Jordan and Chris Gocong on the outside with Bradley in the middle, but the injuries just threw everything off and sent that entire part of the defense in a season long tail spin.
McNabb may be a wiley old vet who can be very inconsistent, but this Eagles team does not need to be completely nuked. They have a core of very good and promising young playmakers (Maclin, Jackson, Avant, McCoy, Celek, etc.) that can be around for awhile and they need to take advantage of that. Give McNabb better protection and he might be able to find more open receivers. He has the receivers that he's always wanted and the tight end they've always needed. He just needs to get the balls to them and a defense to make sure that he can't be outscored.