Don't tune this article out before you read some thoughts here. Each year we buy into the hype (at least in some measure) that this could "be the year". We know what the ultimate goal is each year, and some years have a better feel of reaching that goal than others.
2011 was a season of knowing we didn't have all the issues addressed, and yet the hope that the new faces and the media build up might take us over the top sank in to even some of the staunchest nay sayers in the fan base. And yet, there it was, starting us in the face. A 4th round LB was named the starting MLB before ever setting foot in a game. We knew that our LB's would be deficient - having released nearly the entire cast and hanging hopes on Matthews, Chaney, and one more from the cast of late round draft choices. What ensued was predictable, and dreadfully disappointing. What followed was a disaster that even to this fanbase was a new epitome of "did they just collapse that far?".
So we went out and addressed the linebackers this offeseason, and I think we've managed some room for hope there. Kendricks and Ryans as two of the starting 3 simply seem to be bettter than anyone trio we could field last year.
So where did we miss the planning? Is there anyplace where the eagles could/should/would have done more? I think yes, and I'll toss my ideas out there after the jump.
I am of the opinion that the Eagles front office has made positive personnel decisions this offseason, and believe the team is stonger over all for it. But we have areas where we did not address our roster, or did so in such a way as NOT to reassure me that we are any better off in 2012.
(1) Quarterback - Vick is clearly the starter, and our success runs on a healthy Vick playing all or nearly all of our 16 starts. But Vick did get injured the past two years, so what is our backup situation? Pretty bleak. Kafka is our backup quarterback that has shown little except confidence from Andy as to why he is next in line behind Vick. He's young, inexperienced, and if he enters a game with playoff implications, I can only hope our defense is playing very well.
(2) Running back - Shady is clearly the starter here. But we've apparently abandoned the fullback position used several years ago (by default) and are now emphasizing one back sets. But if McCoy gets hurt? Now we have no lead blocker to help our backup, and Dion Lewis showed little in 2011. While we did add bodies to the mix in the draft, do we really feel stronger there? I don't feel that we are.
(3) Center - Kelce came out of nowhere to wrest the starting job from a fan favorite - Jamaal Jackson. But in the aftermath, we now have Kelce as our starter and nobody qualified to snap the ball behind him. As simple as the position sounds, the fact that the center touches the ball as often as the quarterback is serious stuff. You only need to see a game where the snap is not automatic to realize just how ugly a bad game can get.
(4) Cornerback - yes. We traded Asante for a 7th round pick, but it was the equivalent of a cut. We had AS, NA, and DRC on our roster last year. Do we believe that our current CBs of NA/DRC will last 16 games each? If not, who do we have on our roster who will step up in that critical moment to deny a reception?
So there you have it... from the monday mood I'm feeling.... will we hit a snag that was preventable THIS season? I don't think we cannot rule out the likelihood. Which do you feel is the weakest link in our 2012 strategy?