With another heart breaking playoff loss in the books, it's time to reflect on what is needed to reload and prep for another season in 2011 (hopefully). First up is the Eagle's defense.
We stunk. We stunk on Sunday and most of the year. Worst red-zone d since '86? 377 points allowed? 54 20+ big plays allowed? 5.2 yards per play? I don't think even my compost pile has anything more rotten than our D in 2010. However, I still have hope with the young gun in Sean McDermott. Those here at BGN that do keep faith with Micky D know that he did the best with what he had. He had horrible RCB play, inconsistent pass rush, and rotten linebacker play at ALL levels. Some shark. Micky D needs impact players that make an impact like offensive player. The only player that can do that is Asante Samuel. Unfortunately Trent Cole isn't this kind of player. He doesn't change the game with sacks or turnovers like a Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, or Julius Peppers. I love Trent Cole and I even have his jersey and It's the only one I wear (cause my other one is a McNabb jersey. Cole is a role player in a sense. He need many of those and they are very important in any good defense. They basically need to be pro-bowl snubs. With any good defense, you need impact players at at least two different positions. That is why free-agency will be much more beneficial to our team than the draft. With unexperienced players you get inconsistence play and many mistakes. Just look at the pic above to see the inexperience of this defense. We need to build with the draft for sure, but reload with impact vets. Drafting rookies and expecting them to make an impact immediately will get us the same results this year.
Step One: A new linebacker coach
Billy Shuey is not getting it done with the linebackers. Two back-to-back years with problems with the backers are major concerns. Yes, poor individual match-ups are the fault of the players. But with consistent problems with guys like Steward Bradley who since the start of 06 was solid for us occurs, it isn't good.Bill has no playing experienced at either the pro or college levels. So let's get a guy who is exactly the opposite.
Although Singletary had a rough year coaching in 2010, he had a solid defense for two years as a head coach. Famous for his play as a linebacker, he is now an amazing linebacker coach that has resurrected former Eagles LB Takeo Spikes and has developed one of the best middle linebackers of the game today in Patrick Willis. Adding him will help develop our relatively young players like Chanley, Clayton, and Foku while possibly could be the only one to resurrect Ernie Sims career. And most importantly, can bring a swagger that I feel that has been missing from the Eagles D since JJ's passing.
Step Two: Bringing in impact vets
Positions of need: DT, SAM, WILL, MIKE, RCB, S
The Eagles pass rush was abysmal this season. We couldn't get consistent pressure on many quarterbacks, leaving the secondary out to dry. And while lots criticize our ends, lots of it should be placed on our tackles. It is extremely difficult when only our ends are rushing. Yeah, we play a two gap system where they have to read the run, but that is a little misguided. First of all the best way to stop the run is penetration. Don't just sit in your gap and let them cut back right next to you. Fight back into the backfield and crush the guy that's 2-3 times smaller than you. And second, on when you know they are going to pass or it's third and long, you can not worry about the run too many times. Bunkley and Patterson aren't fitting the bill. JJ had Corey Simon, he penetrated the line and lit people up. We need a pass rushing line. Here are my top five guys that can fix our problem (not in any particular order).
Brother of the well known Kris Jenkins, Cullen is a relatively underrated player. He plays end in a 3-4 system and sacks are hard to accomplish in a 3-4 system as a DL men. However, he has amazing leverage skills that allow him to get penetration in the run and pass. He has somewhat of a durability issue only playing 11 games this season, but still accomplished 7 sacks in capers 3-4 system.
2. Haloti Ngata
Long-time Raven's 3-4 DE/NT will become a free-agent. He is one of the best in the game today and causes the offensive line fits in both the run and pass game.
He's young and extremely underrated. His numbers of late might get him snubbed from the pro-bowl, but make no mistake, he is the best player on the Seattle Seahawks.
He may be old and he may have had a quiet season, Franklin dominates anyone in the middle. He commands attention as well as a long term deal.
Yeah he shows little to no effort and he has barley played. But the Redskins will get rid of him this off-season, either in a trade or in a release. All his guaranteeing money was paid last season (the big deal about Albert taking the money and not showing up to practice) so it's basically 5 years 27 mill. In 08 he had 8.5 sacks and Tennessee had it's best D with him there. Maybe like Peppers, all he needs is a change of scenery. I think a 4th pick and Patterson or Bunckley would be worth it.
Other mentionable DT's:
Current Starter(s): Mosie Foku, Ernie Sims, Steward Bradley, Jamar Chanley, Akeem Jordan
Our play from all but Foku, who continued from a strong rookie season, were disappointing. All but Foku don't deserve to not earn their starting job. Sims was inefficient, whether it be missing assignments or tackles. Bradley was slow with his knee, Akeem was disappointing and the rookie Chaney played decent. But we need better than decent. Even with the core being much more stable, we had the same results as 2009. Pass coverage, blitzing, and tackling were all poor. We really need all three positions.
1. Chad Greenway (OLB)
Chad was the best LB for the Minnesota Vikings in 2010. He is athletic and can cover tight ends with ease, something that a healthy Sims or a 80% Bradley can't accomplish. Greenway can look to leave the mess in Minnesota or can stay with familiarity in Fraszer.
2. Stephan Tulloch (MLB)
Tulloch has emerged as a star with the Titans this year and is one of the up and coming linebackers that will be great. He has speed to cover linebackers and quick moves to get to the quarterback on the blitz.
3. James Anderson (SAM)
Something that the Eagles haven't had in a while is a true SAM backer, let alone good SAM backer play until this season with Foku. Anderson was one of the few bright spots on the Carolina defense. He has a bright future ahead of him.
4. Barrett Ruud (MLB)
Another young and talented hard-nose backer that the Eagles should really look at. He is a good pass rusher but his skills in the Tampa Two covering the deep middle isn't suited for him or the Bucs. So that marriage doesn't have a promising future.
5.Kirk Morrison (MLB)
Traded to the Jags on the draft last year, Morrison is a talented player, but it looks like he doesn't have a promising future with the Jags either. I remember that many here at BGN were looking for the Eagles to make a move for him. He is very good at covering tight ends as well as rushing.
Other notable LB's:
The only bright spots in the secondary this year were Allen and Coelman were pleasant surprises in the secondary, Asante's tackling has improved much since last year. However, RCB has been a revolving door with Hobbs, Patterson, and Hanson. All three were disappointments, however Patterson did do the best job and proved when he is discipline is his coverage, he can contribute both in coverage and the run game. However, he is more suited to the nickel package as with Hanson. Mikkel I felt got too much credit this season, I remember many dropped picks and miscommunication deep this season. He should be equally accountable for the many 20+ plays we gave up this season. We need impact players at RCB and SS in order for our blitzes to be much more successful. There are too many talented DB's in free-agency to do nothing.
If Revis has an Island, Asomugha should have a continent. He is able to consistently able to take away a third of the field. The only reason his stats suck and his contract was voided was because of the lack of throws to him. Only 11 completions on him? That's insane. Having him in green will allow Asante to break the INT record and would allow coverage to shift to Samuels side in a blitz, allowing the only "weakness" to Asomugha's frontier.
2. Champ Bailey
The longtime Bronco could be leaving Mile high for good. He has slowed down with age, but his 80% is better than 3/4 of the leagues DB's 100%. Hey an eye for an eye am I right?
3. Johnathan Joseph
The Bengals have one of the best CB duo's in Joseph and Hall. Although both had down years, they are easily in the 10 ten CB's today. If we have to settle for Joseph instead of Asomugha, I'd be "ok" with it.
Grimes had a fantastic season for an improved Falcons defense. Going into the final week, he’s one back of the leader in deflected passes. As an undrafted player, he’s worked his way and improved each season to become one of the league’s better corners now. With the secondary struggles in Atlanta over the past few years, they’ll show their appreciation for Grimes in the offseason.
5. Josh Wilson
He entered the Raven's organization in a trade with the Seahawks because of a lack of depth at DB for the Ravens. Now he is their best CB and compliments Ed Reed well is the back field. Him in midnight green would be a solid addition.
Best Possible Scenario? Nnamdi Asomugha, Barrett Ruud, Trade for Albert Haynesworth for 4th and Patterson/Bunckley, and Singletary as LB coach.
Trent Cole lately hasn’t been productive. For our D to improve, we need a better supporting cast for him to become more productive like in 2007.