I'm reading a bunch of articles about the Eagles, how all these fans and columnists want Reid out because he's moving us in the wrong direction and its time to move on. This is crazy because in my mind we weren't that far off the last (at least) 2 years.
There's no doubt that with a little retooling on the O-line we have an offense that can and will dominate and maybe a new pair of eyes on the O-line will be good for us (plus as good as Castillo was with the O-line, this Mudd guy is a legend. Jim Johnson type stuff. He also gave Peyton Manning the protection to make him possibly the top QB in the NFL. Sooo..) Plus with Weaver coming back that'll give Celeck a chance to go catch passes again, adding another weapon to an already bad ass O. In my mind, all that separates our O from a Super Bowl Champion O is the line. Fix that and we have a contender.
The defense is the real issue here. Pretty much every loss this season was a product of a shaky D. Sure if the O stepped up we maybe could have beaten our own D and just stole wins by outscoring every opponent, but lets be real: this is the NFL, you cant rely 100% on either side of the ball every week. It takes both sides of the ball some weeks to win. In the same way, if our D had been a little better some weeks we probably could have squeezed out some games when our offense was slowed (see week 12 in Chicago.) The year we went to the Super Bowl, we had the 3rd ranked defense in the league, behind the Steelers (the only team to give us a legitimate loss during the regular season) and the Patriots (who of course, we lost to by 3 in the SB.) That was not a coincidence. (Side note: that was also practically the only year we gave poor Donovan, who gets a lot of crap too, a good WR to work with...also not a coincidence.) One thing that usually stands out to me on a great defense is the giant giant fat man in the middle of the D-line. Vince Wilfork, BJ Raji, Casey Hampton, etc, are all giant fat guys who create the opportunity to apply pressure to the QB. When we went to the Super Bowl our fat man was Hollis Thomas. He was a champ.. Interestingly, when we cut Hollis, he went to the Saints and was actually considered an important part to the D there too when they went to the NFC Championship Game. I think that's one of the biggest things we've been missing the last few years. We built our defense around speed, drafting and signing smaller, quicker guys and while those guys can be important, they cant make up the entire line. Imagine if we had a giant in the middle, smashing through so that an O-lineman would have to at least pay some attention to him, then little Trent Cole (one of the top DE's in the league anyway) shoots around and gets the QB. With that one change were looking better already.
I think the one position we have pretty solidly handled is linebackers. Especially with the discovery of Jamar Chaney we can move Bradley back to his natural position of outside linebacker. But I guess it never hurts to add some white guy with long hair. They tend to work out well.
The other position we need to address is the D-backs. Asante is great but he's never been a shutdown corner. With him always trying to jump routes, and his inability to tackle, he's best as a compliment to a shutdown corner. Not really sure why we traded Sheldon Brown and Gocong for just draft picks, but I wish we still had Brown. I think one way for Andy to A: improve the team dramatically and B: reassure the fans he hasn't actually lost his mind is to go out and sign a big name CB. Cromartie or Asomugha would be huge. Fingers crossed. I think we have something to work with at safety too. We all like Mikell (one of the most underrated safetys in the league) and I think Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman have to potential to be good for a while.
Special teams is special teams. Sure its great to have a great one, but it's not totally necessary to win a Super Bowl. Regardless good ol' Rocca is getting better and better, plus punters live forever so we could have him for a long time. But one thing that we have unquestionably one of the top at the position in the league is kicker.
David Akers is above all else, consistent and in a league when one of the most common mid-season replacements in the league (according to my unofficial stats) is the kicker, we're lucky to have him. There's a rumor that Akers is going to walk if we don't give him a decent offer and I think if we do that it could be one of the biggest mistakes in the Andy Reid era. THAT could be what finally convinces me Reid has to go. I can see it now... "and the Philadelphia Eagles are 30 yards away from a Super Bowl Championship, all that separates the two is this field goal...Bob Kicker (aka somebody other than Akers) lines up for the kick.... perfect snap.... gets it away...and its.... NO GOOD!! Eagles lose by 2!!" I would literally go beat the shit out of Andy with a bag of frozen oranges. Seriously. I'm not kidding. You're welcome to join, the more the merrier.
One thing I will say Reid needs to change is his apparent need to shock fans with head scratcher moves. I have faith in the Castillo thing, but drafting guys that everyone else sees as sleepers so early in the draft has gotten really old. People (including myself) criticize Al Davis but even though he seems to pick the wrong guys I think his "just take the big name on the board" strategy is sometimes the way to go. Even if the pick is a bust, the fans will at least be on your side. Its like Reid wants to completely alienate his fan base while also staying partners. But I guess that's to be expected, right? ...God knows Reid loves to have his cake and eat it too...get it? Cause he's fat? Classic hate-on-Reid action.
In 12 years with the Eagles Reid has led us to 1st or 2nd in the NFC East 9 times, only missing the playoffs three times (including his first season and the Mike McMahon disaster season.) Not too shabby. As Eagles fans we always have a "Super Bowl or Bust" mentality, but its important to step back every now and then and realize that at least were not the Bills... or Browns... or Panthers. At least we make it to the playoffs. Honestly, as long as Reid keeps getting us there, I'll be willing to stick with him. It takes a little luck to win a Super Bowl, so we'll have our day one day. Because everyone knows luck comes to those who persevere.