After an incredibly disappointing 2011 campaign, the Philadelphia Eagles will enter the offseason with a lot of holes to fill, in both the coaching, and in offensive/defensive personnel. The Linebacking corp is a complete and utter mess, as well as the both safety positions, and of course, the DC position. After the jump is my quick outlook on how this coming offseason might shape up.
Disclaimer: This is not necessarily what I want to happen, but what I feel might happen in the upcoming offseason.
Head Coach: Andy Reid
I have this sharp pain shooting through my stomach as I type this, but I have this creeping feeling that Andy Reid will be the Philadelphia Eagles HC in 2012. Jeffrey Lurie is loyal to Andy Reid and IMO will let him coach out his contract. He sees AR as the best candidate for the job, and is not yet willing to give up on one of the winningest coaches in the NFL over the last decade. Personally I’m not a fan of this move, and feel as though Andy has grown stale. The locker room seems to have lost faith in Reid, and the fat man has completely and utterly failed to fulfill his duty as a motivator for this football team. This may be all true, however, Lurie will most likely give Big Red one last shot at turning this thing around.
Defensive Coordinator: Steve Spagnoulo
Andy knows that his days here are numbered, and is going to go into panic mode. Despite his relationship with Juan Castillo, Andy’s hand is forced and Castillo is demoted to defensive assistant. Now, with a vacancy at the DC position, Andy knows that he has to hit on a REAL DC. There is no more “experimenting”, as there are no more second chances. Seeing as how Andy would like to keep the 4-3 defense intact, he pulls some strings and hires an old friend in Steve Spagnoulo. Rams fans have been calling for coach Spags’ head as of late, and here they get there wish, coincidentally, so do Eagles fans. Spagnoulo may look like a failure as a head coach in this league, but he is a proven DC (similar to Wade Phillips). Spagnoulo is an instant upgrade at the DC position, and will find himself welcomed in open arms by Andy and Co. after being left out in the cold by St. Louis. Hopefully Spags can bring some of that 2007 magic with him.
Offensive Coordinator: Joe Lombardi
Same as Juan Castillo, MM is cast out in Reid’s desperation to retain his job. Andy brings in some candidates to interview for the latest coaching vacancy, and ultimately settles on Joe Lombardi. Reid actually reaches away from his coaching tree on this one, and brings in some fresh blood at the OC position. Lombardi is currently the QB coach for the saints, and has studied under Pete Carmichael Jr. This may be a bit of a reach but Lombardi is an up and comer, with a pretty good resume.
Other Coaching Changes:
The rest of the coaching staff remains largely unchanged. Mudd and Washburn stay for at least one more campaign, and the other coaches positions stay mostly the same, save for a possible switch at LB coach. I feel that Seth Joyner could be a possibility as LB coach. He has said that he would like to return to the Eagles as a LB coach, and seeing how the LB corp has turned out this year we could use a former All Pro. I realize that being a good player does not always translate to being a successful coach, however, we need wholesale change in the Linebacking department, and I feel that Joyner could be a healthy change. Maybe an old pro can instill some pride in our young linebackers? My thoughts; it couldn’t hurt.
Free Agency: Who is out and who is in?
Derek Landri - I have been very impressed with this guy. He plays with a lot of fire and passion, and has recorded some impressive tackles for a loss in run defense. Resigned
Desean Jackson - IMO the Eagles should cut ties with Desean, and I think they will. Look for the Eagles to franchise Desean and then trade him for yet another 2nd round pick (maybe from Jacksonville?). With the money the Eagles save they can extend Shady and Maclin in the near future. Desean can take his ridiculous contract expectations with him somewhere else as far as this FO is concerned. Gone
Trevor Laws - Has been much improved over the last few years, is doing a pretty solid job, and should be inexpensive to retain. Resigned
Owen Schmitt - Solid FB, and has done a good job blocking for Shady. Resigned
Evan Mathis - Mathis has been an excellent find, and has done a great job filling in for Herremans at the Left Guard position, allowing Todd to scoot over to RT where he has been more than serviceable. Our lines great improvement can be in part attributed to the signing of Mathis. Resigned
Steve Smith - Deflects passes to defensive backs, turns into a wet noodle when he’s about to get hit, injury prone. To me this screams gone, however with DJack out we are going to need a receiver who is familiar with the system, and we all know the kind of potential SS has. We keep him if the figures are right, and they should be. Resigned
Juqua Parker - Getting up there in age and isn’t really needed with the talent and depth at the DE position. Gone
Ronnie Brown - Hasn’t really made much noise, and will be remembered for that ugly goal line abortion. Gone
Vince Young - The Eagles will establish Kafka as the long term 2, Vince goes to another team for a chance at a starting gig. Gone
Akeem Jordan - Solid Contributor on special teams, and can be a rotational player, although he has not played very well in a starting role. However we will need room for our new blood in the LB corp, and Jordan is the odd man out. Gone
King Dunlap - Another guy who has greatly improved. I used to laugh at this guy, as did a lot of other Birds fans, and now he has us eating our words with some impressive spot starts over the past year or so. Resigned
Free Agent Signings
The Eagles could go a lot of different ways in free agency. There are a few big names out there this year, and I feel that this upcoming offseason will be interesting to say the least. I’ll make this short and only cover the two major signings.
D’Qwell Jackson - MLB:
The Eagles desperately need a veteran presence in the linebacking corp, and Jackson will bring just that. Jackson is a sound tackler, and will provide an anchor for our corp, taking the pressure off our young LBs.
Laron Landry - SS:
Its safe to say that coming into the season most Eagles fans felt as though we were pretty set at the safety position. It seemed as though Nate Allen was a budding star that was derailed by a season ending injury, and Kurt Coleman seemed to be a solid starter in his own right. Little did we know just how atrocious they could be. Granted they have both shown flashes throughout the season, but overall they have both been very disappointing. Well the best way to fix that problem is to sign one of the deadliest safeties in the game. Laron Landry. Landry is a physical beast, and you better believe he can lay the wood. He is the tone setter that this defense needs, and is solid in all facets of his game.
The 2012 NFL Draft: Hopefully this years motto is “quality over quantity”
1st Round: The Philadelphia Eagles own the 4th overall pick in the draft after finishing 5 - 11.
- I firmly believe that this might be the year where Andy really breaks down, and finally leaves behind his old ways. He knows that his job is on the line, and that he has no choice but to drastically alter his game plan on draft day.
1st round (4th overall): Justin Blackmon, WR - Oklahoma State
Its been a while since we’ve been in the position to draft an elite draft prospect, and to commemorate the occasion we draft the talented Justin Blackmon. Blackmon possesses excellent ball skills, and has great hands. His route running may leave a bit to be desired but he is an elite talent, and will surely blossom into one of the NFL’s best. Blackmon will fill the void left by Desean, and although he is not the deep threat Desean is, he can really work the middle of the field, and will look great lining opposite of Maclin for years to come.
- In a surprise move the Eagles trade the 2nd acquired in the Kolb trade, along with a 2013 1st, and a 2012 4th, in order to acquire the Titans 17th overall selection in the 2012 draft. And with the 17th overall pick the Eagles select...
1st Round (17th overall from Tennessee): Luke Kuechly, LB - Boston College
Break up the band because the Andy Reid regime just selected a 1st round Linebacker. Kuechly is the 2011 Butkus award winner, and is one of the most intelligent and instinctual Linebackers in the country. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for with his instincts and intelligence, as well as his block shedding ability. He has a nose for the ball, and seems to always step up and make big plays for his team in clutch moments. Kuechly is a tackling machine, and will look great in midnight green.
2nd Round (36th overall): Ronnell Lewis, LB - Oklahoma
Insanity!! Another Linebacker! As you can see Andy finally broke down, and some way, somehow, drafting some LBs with high end picks. Well this time around the eagles snag Ronnell Lewis, a promising young backer out of Oklahoma. He does a good job of tackling in space, and has good speed. Lewis should slide nicely into the WILL Linebacker slot.
2nd Round (37th overall from Jacksonville): Dwayne Allen, TE - Clemson
Taking a page right out of DJackfan10’s book on this one. He may have gotten a little bit of criticism on this pick, (mostly because of how early it was) but IMO Dwayne Allen will still be available this early in the 2nd. As we already know, Dwayne Allen is a very good blocker, and will allow Celek to abandon his blocking duties and go out and catch some more passes. Dwayne Allen is also a very capable pass catcher, and will pay dividends in the passing game as well as in blocking assignments. I am a huge fan of how teams such as the Patriots and Panthers have utilized two TE sets, and feel that the Eagles can have similar success with a Celek - Allen duo.
- Justin Blackmon will do well to fill the void that Desean Jackson created, and will soon have Philadelphia fans forgetting the whole debacle. With this pick we get a premium talent at WR, solidifying the position.
- Kuechly and Lewis will slide into starting roles alongside D’Qwell Jackson, who will guide the rookies with his veteran experience.
-The addition of Dwayne Allen makes our offense all the more scary.
The Philadelphia Eagles 2012 Depth Chart
QB: Mike Vick/ Mike Kafka
RB: Lesean Mccoy/ Dion Lewis
FB: Owen Schmitt
TE: Brent Celek/ Dwayne Allen
LT: Jason Peters/ King Dunlap
LG: Evan Mathis/ Julian Vandervelde
C: Jason Kelce
RG: Danny Watkins
DT: Cullen Jenkins/ Derek Landri/ Trevor Laws
SAM: D’Qwell Jackson/ Jamar Chaney
MIKE: Luke Kuechly/ Keenan Clayton
WILL: Ronnell Lewis/ Brian Rolle
FS: Nate Allen/ Kurt Coleman
SS: Laron Landry/ Jaiquawn Jarrett
K: Alex Henery
P: Chas Henry
PUP: Colt Anderson
Prediction Time: The Eagles will be playing a weak schedule next year, and will thrive in comparison to this year greatly in part because of that. They will finish with a final record of 10 - 6, good enough for a wildcard spot, and will lose in the NFC championship game to the Green Bay Packers 28 - 24.
Final Words: I did not include an in depth 7 round draft because I’m not really caught up on college football, as of right now, but I plan to do some research and get a post out there come draft time. I also realize this affected the depth chart, and with a full 7 round draft and a few other FA additions, the depth chart would be far different. I’m open to criticism, and I hope you guys enjoyed the post I threw together.