(1) Stay off the national radar
(2) Intensify practices and focus on basics - blocking, catching, tackling, pass rushing. Don't presume guys making lots of money have lots of expertise. Make them prove it.
(3) Make roster spot competitions wherever possible.
(4) Follow the leaders - Mudd and Washburn had huge and immediate impacts.
(5) Tweak, don't restock, the roster.
(6) There is no tomorrow. There is no yesterday. Coach the guys to play today as hard as they can.
(7) No matter who it is, what their position, what their "perceived" value is to the team, if they pull up or dog plays, bench them. No exceptions.
(8) Likewise, no matter who it is, what their position, what their perceived value is to the team, if they make their plays, fill their responsibilities, regardless of age, PAY THEM!
You want to read more? See you after the jump...
The season was lost last year before we ever had a practice, before we finished completing our roster. The infamous "Dream Team" label got mentioned by several euphoric acquisitions, and the media - starved for football headlines due to the lockout - ran with it and gave the NFL the poster team for "this is the team we have to beat". Okay. That experiment failed miserably. So let's advise our "guys" to s.t.f.u. about lawding about a team that has not won any games yet. Fans get to trash talk... players? wait until you show it on the field.
We heard lots of "we have to fix that" last year... and more often we never saw it fixed. Let's make it a point to coach and discuss the basic tackling, blocking, passing decisions this offseason. Let's give some transparency to the fact that we are serious about looking stupid on the field last year, and the guys will have to work a little harder this year as a result.
So the spots where we had no competition? WR, RB, QB, MLB at first - those ended up looking ridiculously error prone last year. The positions where we had guys who could realistically start? OL, DL, CB... They looked pretty solid throughout the year. Give guys realistic chances to start, don't "assume" starting positions - especially not kids we just drafted. Imagine the furor if Avant was in the mix for a starting WR position last year. While it may have hurt the relationship with DJax in contract negotiation, it would set us up nicely for this year.
Let's stop kidding ourselves. Mudd and Washburn had huge undertakings. Lousy line play on both sides of the ball and no offseason. So what did they do? They completely turned it around! Our offensive line settled in as one of the best in the NFL in 2011, and our defensive line led us to lead the NFL in sacks. We've got a solid core groups of guys who are performing well.
Last year's roster was a complete overhaul. We allowed all free agents to walk, we signed marquis names to the team. And it's well documented that we did not have sufficient time to form all these moving parts into a cohesive team. So this off season, we have plenty of time so let's give our guys a smiling goodbye and prepare to invade free agency again? Wrong. Each guy comes with a sack of "this worked elsewhere" and "this didn't work elsewhere" baggage. Each guy - from first year to NFL elder statesman - has to porter that baggage into the role the eagles have prepared for them. Is it any wonder we had NA playing zone, when we had so many new faces alongside new techniques on that defense? Keep it Simple Stupid! Is it any wonder we had difficulty wrapping up the runners? The front 7 was, by design, a get the lead and sack the qb defense. What we failed to strategize was the offense giving up the ball so often that we were trying to defend running later into the game... with linebackers and safeties who were in unfamilar roles playing behind unfamiliar faces...
Forget Andy's history - we can't go back and change anything . Forget the winningnest coach in the eagles history, the domination of the NFC East under his tenure. And forget the high and quickly dashed expectations of 2011. Let's focus on what we can change - the next game we play.
Let's sacrifice the sacred cows. I understand why Andy defended DJax when he did. And Vick. And Vince Young. And Castillo. But this year? Let's sacrifice those sacred cows. Playing half a.s.s.ed should be an automatic benching - if you are Nate Allen or Michael Vick or DJax.
And the flip side of this is equally necessary. Cullen Jenkins is due a nice payout, and he excelled in virtually everything we asked of the man. Pay him and be grateful when you do so. The other players need to see that the guys who perform and are often overlooked by the media are noticed by management.
So there you have it. Do these 8 things effectively and we will end up in the SB.
We still have free agency, draft, off season to go through. But I'm confident in this prescription. You want to feel better?
The Doctor is in. Take one and call me in the morning after the 2013 SB.