There's always next year, right? Time to look ahead to 2013 and beyond.
Please, just make it stop. You're saying I have to endure six more games? Blech, this sucks. It's the antithesis of fun. That's why I didn't even bother watching the second half of the slaughter at FedEx Field. I picked up my house's order of delicious pho and stayed downstairs in front of the main TV to watch Red Zone with everyone else. I chose to enjoy the rest of my Sunday afternoon. I think I deserved that much.
So, is this rock bottom for the Eagles? Can this team even find rock bottom? Will they win another game in 2012? It's a fair question, seeing as how the Eagles haven't been competitive for 13 of the last 16 quarters. I foolishly tweeted earlier in the week that I thought the Eagles would beat the Skins. Of course, I also thought it would only delay the inevitable, and that an implosion against the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football would officially end whatever faint hope remained for the season. I have to stop giving this team even a morsel of credit. Robert Griffin III, en route to the first perfect rookie quarterback rating in NFL history, made a hapless -- and historically atrocious -- Eagles defense his prison playground bitch while showcasing the scintillating skills that will torment us for years to come. His counterpart Nick Foles didn't look good, but it's not like he got any help from his supporting cast (self destruct mode, engage) or coaching staff. The rookie was fighting a losing battle from start. His first interception was the result of a drop by Brent Celek, whose (unfortunately) abysmal season continues. I feel bad for Brent. He's been a favorite of mine since his collegiate days at Cincinnati, and it pains me to see the Eagles' sickness infect him. I want Celek to be part of the future, one of the veteran holdovers who experiences success with the new regime. One of the next group of Brian Dawkins, Troy Vincent, Tra Thomas, Jeremiah Trotter, Hugh Douglas, and Ike Reese. A Chad Lewis 2.0, perhaps? Celek turns 28 in January and has been a paragon of durability. I think he's got plenty of good football left and expect a bounce-back.
While I was trying to come up with ways to make things suck a little less, I thought it would be a constructive idea to open the floor up to the fans of this blog. Do you really want me to go through the whole rant spiel once again and break the game down in depressing detail? I'm not even qualified to give you a real recap of the game, on account of the whole aforementioned pho and football (see: phootball) over Eagles thing. Besides, if I wrote about the game, I'd have to acknowledge Andy Reid's brazen arrogance of player use during inconsequential situations finally coming home to roost. The fact that LeSean McCoy was the sacrificial lamb for his soon-to-be-former coach's unforgivable lunkheadedness (not a word) makes me angry beyond reason. Then the cherry on top was that I had to suffer the indignation of listening to Andy spit in my face with that post-game horse shit reason for Shady being on the field. I hope the next coach doesn't treat me like a total idiot. I hope he doesn't put his top players at risk when it's unnecessary either. Maybe he'll, I don't know, actually put his players in better position, instead of merely saying he will?
Anyway, let's not keep reliving the horror porn that is the Philadelphia Eagles. Instead let's pool our mind power and brainstorm ways to make it better. Wouldn't you rather do that as a cathartic outlet than focus on the present disaster?
User birdsofprey vented after the Cowboys loss that he was tired of reading the same thing over and over again in my articles. After first thinking, Well screw this guy, I then thought, You know, I'm tired of WRITING the same thing over and over again. Go ahead, you guys throw out what you think the Eagles need to do in the offseason. Coaching hires (including offensive and defensive coordinator), trades, free agent and draft targets. Have at it. This is the NFL, a smart offseason highlighted by the right moves can have you back competing the very next season. For the latest example, I doubt I have to remind you of the Colts and the fairly alright job Ryan Grigson has engineered.
Call this an exercise in creative crowdsourcing. I'll comb through the comments sections and aggregate the best suggestions based on replies, formal recommendations, and my own considerations. I'll then put together a piece to be published on the site. Cool? Cool. I'll get us started.
I fancy myself an amateur -- very amateur -- scout, and the primal Curious George in me always has an eye on the future. I love the draft and find talent evaluation to be both intellectually stimulating and personally satisfying. The practice (and concept) fascinates me. I've been watching college football and charting prospects all season, so let me know which players you like. The Eagles currently hold all of their draft picks for 2013. As of today, their draft position would be sixth -- see: 6th! -- overall in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh round. Past trades involving draft pick compensation are as follows: The Eagles received what was reported as a conditional 2013 sixth or seventh round pick from the Broncos for Brodrick Bunkley last year; the Eagles received a 2013 conditional seventh round pick from the Colts in the trade for Moise Fokou and Greg Lloyd; the Eagles traded what was reported as a conditional 2013 seventh round pick to Cleveland for David Sims (who I'd like to see more of since he can't be any more inept than Nate Allen or Kurt Coleman). I'll go into detail and examine prospects throughout the draft in the coming months, but it's imperative the Eagles strike gold on their first selection. What side of the ball do you want to see addressed at #6 overall? Offense? Defense? Why do I get the feeling Luke Joeckel will be the selection du jour?
There's a solid crop of free agents out there, and the Eagles will have money to spend. Even though foraying into the free agent market hasn't been kind to this team lately, I imagine the new head coach will want to attempt to acquire a proven franchise building block via the open market, as Andy Reid did with Jon Runyan. The Runyan signing is a fitting segue to mentioning Ryan Clady, who will turn 27 in September 2013 (same age Runyan turned his first season with the Eagles), is among the best left tackles in the league, and will be seeking a Joe Thomas-esque contract. He'll likely get it. While I'm sure there will be a large contingent of people clamoring for Jake Long if the Eagles go offensive tackle, I think Clady's better. He'd bookend the line with a fully recovered Jason Peters in an ideal scenario, but also provides insurance in case the latter is never the same again after the double-Achilles tear.
Depending what happens with Nick Foles down the stretch and the determinations made about his potential going forward, the Eagles might be wise to go after Matt Moore. Remember, he played well as a starter for the Panthers in 2009 and most recently with the Dolphins in 2011. It's not Moore's fault Joe Philbin wanted to draft and develop his own guy. Once Ryan Tannehill was picked, there's no way the journeyman incumbent was going to keep his starting job. If nothing else, Moore could serve as a serviceable stopgap for the Eagles -- a better Doug Pederson, if you will. He will turn 29 in August and is still smack dab in the middle of a quarterback's prime age. I think Moore represents a shrewd and worthwhile investment on a short-term deal.
Other free agents who catch my eye after a quick initial perusal of the list: FS Jairus Byrd (one of the league's premier performers at his position and a desperately needed playmaker), FS Dashon Goldson (see Jairus Byrd comment), RT Sebastian Vollmer (been a rock for the Patriots), TE Jared Cook (a superlatively freakish and talented player who needs to find the right situation), WR Danny Amendola (could do a lot worse than having our very own Wes Welker clone on offense), DE Mike DeVito (if a switch to a 3-4 defense should occur), DE Michael Bennett (brother of Martellus having a breakout season for Buccaneers), ILB Dannell Ellerbe (breakout season for the Ravens), CB Tracy Porter (a better option than Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, if you ask me), S Jamarca Sanford (lacks ideal height but makes up for it in build -- a physical player and punishing hitter with a knack for forcing fumbles who's been effective as a starter for Vikings), SS William Moore (a player I liked coming out of college who's working on his third consecutive highly productive season), SS James Ihedigbo (I advocated his signing in 2011; great special teams guy and situational player/blitzer on defense)
It's up to you, Eagles fans. Fix your beloved team.