This upcoming offseason is probably the most significant in Andy Reid's tenure as the Eagles' Head Football Coach. Let’s hope, that a man (Andy Reid), who often tries to outsmart everyone in the NFL with off-the-wall decisions, this time uses common sense, and takes the obvious steps towards getting us a Super Bowl win. However, before I outline these steps, let’s take a look at our current Philadelphia Eagle squad.
First of all, with a few adjustments on the line, this offense is Super Bowl ready right now. Andy sucks at in-game adjustments, but when it comes to preparation, he is a top three NFL coach. I say that to say this, the blitz will not consistently slow down our offense next year. Blitz pickup, hot route options, and getting rid of the football early will be the most stressed points to our offense in the offseason. When perfected, they will work. Did you see when Desean broke off his route in the last minute of the Packers game to beat the blitz? He was a shoe string tackle away from going 85 yards to the house, and sending us to Chicago. If they can perfect it, we can become unblitzable. The second and equally important point of this offseason should be to work at eliminating mental errors. We CANNOT go through another season with so many penalties! These are drive killers. I can’t even guess at how many times we followed up a big play with a false start this season (especially in the red-zone). We need to make sure that we sure up this aspect, and not be such a penalized football team. Besides that, just a few minor tweaks will make all the difference. Desean must work at coming back to the ball and running crisper routes. Also, we must make Celek relevant once again in the passing game.
· Beating the blitz.
· Eliminate dumb penalties.
· Sure up route running.
· Get Celek involved again.
Our defense is an entirely different monster. To say that we need help at right corner back is the understatement of the century, and I’ll explain how when I get to my steps at fixing this team. For the sake of outlines, we need help at RCB, defensive tackle, linebacker, d-end, and safety depth. That’s a lot of help, but it can be accomplished. The most important thing that needs to get done is the signing of a defensive coordinator. The sooner we get a GOOD coordinator in here, the sooner our current players can start learning and committing to a defensive scheme and philosophy. An often used excuse over the course of last year was that the players we had on the field didn’t have the knowledge to execute McDermott’s schemes. If this is true, then you have to make sure that’s a non-issue this year. At tackle, we need a disruptive force that can get a push up the middle. We need a linebacker that can cover a tightend, and make plays against the pass. Last, we need an animal at defensive end. Trent Cole is a nice player, but we need an elite pass rusher that can relentlessly hunt the quarter back. The wish at defensive end may be a long shot for this year, but the other two can be accomplished. With all this being said, we had rookies get valuable playoff experience on defense. There are a few promising players that can build off this past year.
· Master new D-Coordinator’s concepts.
· Eliminate dumb penalties.
· Build off this year’s experience, and make yourself a better player.
Next is the outline of the steps that should be taken to drastically improve this football team. Keep in mind, these moves are what should be done to win NOW, and assuming a CBA is in place. Of coarse you should always think to the future, but the window for this Vick-led team is 2 or 3 years. You need to build to accommodate that window, and get a Super Bowl win. As a fan, I would take one or two sub-par rebuilding seasons as long as they’re followed by a SUPERBOWL WIN. Here goes:
· Franchise Tag Vick. Get this done as soon as possible. If a 2/3 year deal can be agreed upon that would not completely break the bank, get that done. Bottom line, get Vick under contract so he can focus on the task at hand: Winning a Super Bowl.
· Extend Desean Jackson. Don’t be cheap, but don’t be generous. He is a top three playmaker in the NFL, but he is NOT a top three receiver. The quicker he can be signed the better chance at eliminating distractions. Again the entire team’s focus should be on Winning a Super Bowl.
· Sign Nnamdi Asomugha. This is a MUST. There is no excuse not to sign him. He’s 30 years old, big deal. This one time Andy Reid has to go against his philosophy, and sign this guy to a three year mega-deal.
· Sign Chad Greenway. This is almost as important as signing Nnamdi. Being 28, he has 4+ years at playing at a high level. He is a tackling machine, and he can do something we haven’t seen a linebacker do here in a long time: cover in the pass game.
· Trade Kevin Kolb. God bless him, but he doesn’t impress me one bit. I’ve read on multiple occasions, from good sources, that teams in need of a QB would part with their first round pick for him. Those teams are (in drafting order):
§ Arizona Cardinals: Pick #5
§ Cleveland Browns: Pick #6
§ San Francisco 49ers: Pick #7
§ Tennessee Titans: Pick #8
§ Minnesota Vikings: Pick #12
§ Oakland Raiders: Pick #17
With the Cardinals, Browns, 49ers, and Titans, that first rounder alone would be a steal for Kolb. From the rest, that pick accompanied with a third rounder, would be of equal value. There are a number of options we would have with a top ten pick, the 23rd pick, and a second round pick.
· Do not re-sign or release:
§ Eldra Buckley – Do not resign: Must I explain.
§ Leonard Weaver – Release: Injury is significant, probably wont be the same player, Owen Schmidt filled in nicely.
§ Reggie Wells – Do not resign: Must I explain.
§ Victor Abiamiri – Do not resign: This guy can’t get on the field.
§ Ernie Sims – Do not resign: Terrible, terrible, terrible excuse of a linebacker. His mistakes are many, and he brought little to this defense.
§ Ellis Hobbs – Do not resign: Same boat, if not worse, as Weaver.
§ Sav Rocca – I’m tired of him booming 60 yard netters in the first quarter, and shanking 25 yard punts when it counts.
§ Quintin Mikell: Although he’s not the best, we can’t afford to have turnover at his position right now. Especially not knowing whether or not Nate Allen will be the same player or if Coleman will regress.
§ David Akers: Everyone hates him right now, but it’s extremely rare for him to have a game like he did against the Packers. You need consistency in the kicking game, and he brings it.
· Draft – 1st & 2nd round:
§ The 1st & 2nd rounds of the Eagles’ draft should be focused on improving the defensive and offensive lines. We’ll assume that we’ve already signed Asomghua and Greenway, Gotten a top ten or teen pick for Kolb, and cut or not resigned Justice, Wells, and Abiamiri.
§ The following players are top ten talents. If they’ve not been taken, they should be selected immediately when we pick. In order:
· Nick Fairly – DT, Auburn
· Da’Quan Bowers – DE, Clemson
· Marcell Darius – DT, Alabama
§ These players are not top ten talent, but should be selected by the Eagles with either a teen pick (traded for Kolb), or their own 23rd pick in the draft:
· Gabe Carimi – OT, Wisconsin
· Adrian Clayton – DE, Iowa
· Stephen Paea – DT, Oregon
· Allen Bailey – DE, Miami
§ These players would be good value in the 2nd round, and obviously would be selected according to what we took in the 1st:
· Mike Pouncy – OL, Florida
· John Moffitt – OL, Wisconsin
· Marvin Austin – DT, North Carolina
§ Any of these players would be nice additions to the Eagles. We need to sure up the right side of our offensive line with young talent, and get a disruptive force at the defensive tackle position. Although a long shot, Fairly would look oh so nice in an Eagle uniform. I like Carimi because we could start him off at the right tackle position, and transition him to the left tackle when Peters’ contract is up. Pouncy would give us options at either center or right guard. His brother is incredibly solid in Pittsburgh. An offensive line of Peters, Herrimans, Jackson, Pouncy, and Carimi sounds a lot better than what we had this year.
So there we are; an easy to follow blue print on how to make this team an instant Super Bowl contender. Please Andy, don’t get fancy or over think. Simply look at this roster and you can see where the needs are. Spend the money, draft the players, and let’s win a Super Bowl for this fan base in 2012.