The 2012 Philadelphia Eagles: What Now?

In the wake of the embarrassing loss to the equally pitiful Panthers on national television, it seems fitting to look towards the future of the Eagles franchise.

The 2012 Eagles season has been, for all purposes, absolutely terrible. This team, which was touted to be a Super Bowl contender, if not one that makes a deep playoff run, fell in its face, plunging ever deeper into the despair of losing; of never being good enough. So now, here we sit, a broken and beaten-down franchise, chastised over bad coaching (here's looking at you, Andy "Fatty" Reid), an inability to win close games, and an all around lack of heart among virtually every player on the team.

The 2012 offseason was full of hope, as many fans got the feeling that the Eagles had finally learned from their mistakes of the 2011 season, and with the timely arrival of key free agent acquisitions such as LB DeMeco Ryans and LT Demetress Bell, as well as a strong draft that brought in players like Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, and Vinny Curry, things were looking up for the team.

The season began with a rush of hope, as the Eagles ran away with close victories against the Browns, Ravens, and Giants, and went into Week 5 with a 3-1 record. But soon, any optimism about this team disintegrated as they dropped 7 (seven!) straight games. It became clear that this team lacked the heart and spirit to win games. In fact, they were just plain unlikable; we saw that many on the team cared more about their paychecks than the good of the team (Jason Babin). And with dreadful coaching by the "genius" Andy Reid, the Eagles went from a playoff contender to the laughingstock of the the league.

So, here we are. At this point, many Eagles fans have retired their jerseys (and hope, for that matter), resigned to the fact that the team that was supposed to finally reach the Promised Land is one of the worst in the league. Because of this, many have turned their attention to the future. Here, we will take a look at what the future has in store for the Eagles.

First of all, Andy Reid is gone. There is no question of that. The question now is who will take his place. Names of replacements have sprung up everywhere: John Gruden, Bill Cowher, and Chip Kelly are a few popular candidates. My personal choice is Gruden, as I believe that he would bring some fire, some identity to this team. But the more probable situation is Kelly. I don't know what to feel about him yet. Maybe it will be good to get some fresh blood in this coaching staff, but I would prefer a coach with NFL experience. We will have to see.

At quarterback, things get complicated. You can either press your luck and hope that Foles improves behind a more stable offensive line (and hopefully a more improved corps of receivers), or you can hope that Vick is willing to restructure his contract and pray that he can stay healthy for another season. That will be a decision for the new coach and his staff. I would take Foles; I think that if he can get a stable offense around him, he could be an effective quarterback.

For the rest of the roster, the Eagles need to trim the fat and rebuild the team around a select group of players. Guys like LeSean McCoy, DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Jason Peters, DeSean Jackson, Jason Kelce, and Fletcher Cox can lead the team into the new era. They will have to base their offensive attack around McCoy and Bryce Brown, two extremely talented running backs, and configure a strong defense around young players. If you have a strong run game; you don't need a great quarterback, and if you have a mixture of veterans and young guys on defense, you can be very effective.

So, Eagles fans, although this season has been tumultuous and, at times, gut-wrenching, we can take solstice in the fact that change will soon come. This offseason will set the tone for the franchise for years to come. We will see the arrival of a new coach, and a restructuring of the team itself. Hopefully, this change will finally manifest itself into a Super Bowl.

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