So I haven't posted in awhile and I felt the need to chime in on a familiar theme. How can we elevate the Eagles to Superbowl champions? What follows is my completely uncomplicated plan of what we can do before the draft.
The pipe dreams for free agent signings have been abundant. Asomugha, Haynesworth, Greenway. There is only one big name free agent we should be gunning for.
1) Logan Mankins is the second best guard in the league behind only Steve Hutchinson. He's young, at the prime age of 28, strong as hell, and plays with that nasty streak needed if you want to be a premiere offensive lineman. Many people have thought getting Asomugha above all else is the best way to fix the holes in this team. I disagree. As we seen in the last several weeks of the season, the right side of our O line was in complete shambles. Vick was destroyed more often then not, and even Shady had trouble finding the holes needed for the monster gains he was achieving earlier in the season. While some of this is absolutely attributed to defenses adjusting, quite a large function of this poor play was a right side consisting of Cole, Justice, and Dunlap. I believe this more then anything else compounded the entire team in such a fashion that we were once again bounced in the first round. We couldn't move the ball, thus leading to us not being able to score, double fucking the defense as they had to spend more time on the field and they didn't have a point cushion to play off of.
While our defense is in no way even close to being a superbowl worthy defense and needs plenty of work, the exposure of our offense was the biggest detriment to our success over the last few weeks and the first round of the playoffs. Logan Mankins would vastly improve this situation as his presence alone would help shield the deficiencies of our Center and RT, whomever those might be.
2) Now we still obviously need to do some massive work on the defensive side of the ball, but with the large contract Mankins would require, we'd be looking for cheaper while still effective players. Enter Jonathan Jospeh, free agent CB from the Bengals. While obviously nowhere near the player Asomugha is, Jonathan Joseph is still a damn fine cornerback. He is younger, will only be 27 when the season starts, and is mucho better then any other option we have for RCB, Patterson, Hanson and even though I believe with more seasoning he could be good as of right now Lindley. Jospeh would prove to have an immediate impact as now there wouldn't be a giant passing lane on the right side with a Open 24/7 sign on it. Jospeh could be signed for a relatively nice 5 year contract and is my choice for a CB target.
3) Next position needed is our WLB. As a fan of Ernie Sims even I am proclaiming him a giant bust for us. Just a terrible season on his part by all accounts. I see a lot of people are talking about shuffling Chaney into the middle, and then moving Bradley or even possibly Fokou to the WLB spot. I see that as a bad choice. Fokou was easily ouir best LB last year so moving him makes no sense. While Chaney did well, I'm not exactly ready to give up on Bradley yet either. I think the MLB spot should be an open competition with the loser becoming the back up. So what is the right choice? Keenan Clayton. In limited playing time the kid impressed last year. He has great speed although he needs help on his coverage skills, but no more then Sims did last year. The difference is Clayton plays with a sense of discipline. While Sims might ooo and aww us with a few big hits, he is a boom or bust type of guy. Clayton on the other hand, keeps it simple and basic, breaking down and wrapping the ball carrier to the field. Impressive on the replay screen? Hell yeah, if your a fan of solid tackling skills and keeping plays to a minimum gain. Solid, basic, form tackling has been a huge achilles heel for us the last 3 years and it's refreshing to see somebody just do the damn job. I am officially an advocate for the promotion of Clayton.
4) After these three positions are taken care of its all about finding suitable back ups. Nick Cole and MJG are fine as back up guards, however we need a serious replacement for King Dunlap. I hope Austin Howard can be that guy and with Mudd on board, I look forward to seeing his continued development. I think another strong safety would suit us too. While I love the potential of Kurt Coleman, I originally argued that his size wouldn't matter if his will was strong. Now I am not so sure. While heart can often times get you to where you want to go, that only happens in professional sports if you are only slightly undersized. I'm not sure how much weight his frame can support so grabbing another option couldn't hurt. Finally we need a WLB back up, with some experience. Sorta in the mold of Ike Reese. Reese was never the best but was an adequate fill in and his experience paid huge dividends for us a few times. While I am all for Clayton being the starter, in case of injury having a more experienced back up can only benefit us.
So there it is, 1 major free agent, 1 additonal immediately contributing free agent, 1 in team promotion, and a couple free agent back ups and our team has instantly become that more dangerous. This allows us to focus solely on the draft and limit our reaches. We can focus on CB and RT in the first 2 rounds and get the players that will contribute over the long term.
"And so from that, I've always been fascinated with the idea that
complexity can come out of such simplicity." Will Wright