Going into this offseason waht should be the Eagles #1 priority. What move should be made before any other? Nick Fierro from The Express-Times(?) thinks it should be resigning Jeff Garcia.
In many cases, it is the second-most important position on the team -- as it proved to be with the Eagles in 2006.
With all due respect to running back Brian Westbrook, the Eagles would not have even sniffed the playoffs had they plugged in, say, Mike McMahon after Donovan McNabb was lost for the season with a knee injury on Nov. 19.
Okay, I agree that the Eagles would never have made the playoffs with Mike McMahon. That said, I disagree with the idea that Garcia is a #1 priority. Backup QB is not the second most important position on the team. Having a capable backup is a nice thing to have, but it's not essential.
How many backup QBs played in the NFC/AFC championship games this weekend? Zero.
Garcia did a great job resurrecting the season, as did Westbrook, as did the playcalling of Marty Morningwheg. However, why did we lose to the Saints? Why did we lose games even when McNabb was healthy? The run defense! Let us never forget that. One hundred percent the #1 priority of this offseason has to be to beef up the run defense. If we went into this season with McNabb as the starter and AJ Feeley as the backup, I'm okay with that. Plus, that would allow for the Birds to draft a young QB or even bring back Koy to hold FGs if they want. I don't want to overpay for Garcia, I'd rather see that money thrown at a linebacker.
Let's be honest here. Was Garcia going to get us a Superbowl? He was good enough to manage and win games in the second half, he was just good enough to beat the Giants in the first round... but was he going to make the throws needed to beat the Saints? Maybe if the run defense showed up... Was he going to be able to make the throws to beat the Bears? The Colts? I don't think so, and would it even have mattered if he could? The Bears and Colts would have run all over us. The number one priority in the offseason has to be the thing that is most likely going to get you a superbowl title. That's not Garcia.
With McNabb at QB, the playcalling like it was in the second half, and a real run defense I see this team as a legit threat next year. Should McNabb go down again, would AJ Feeley be any less likely than Garcia to lead us to a title? Not in my opinion.
The offseason priorities as I see them.
#1 - Shore up the run defense. Whether it's by getting a big DT in the middle or getting a playmaking LB, just do it. There is no bigger priority. The run defense was by far the worst unit on this team and is the clear #1 priority in the offseason.
#2 - Resign Stallworth. He had some hammy issues, but he was every bit the deep threat we needed for the most part and he changed the way defenses play us. He opened up things for Reggie Brown and the other recievers. With Donte, Reggie, Baskett, Avant, Westbrook, and LJ we'd have a very solid and very young group of receivers mostly locked up long term.
3# - Get help at safety. Whether it's someone to start at SS or someone to eventually replace Dawkins I think it's just a hair ahead of resigning Garcia on the depth chart. The safety is just too important of a role in this particular defense to ignore. Mike Lewis is as good as gone and Considine gives a ton of effort but is probably not built to be an every down player. Someone good against the run and pass would be invaluable at the SS spot. At FS, we saw this season how important Dawk is to this defense. He was amazing, but he's 33. The clock is ticking and if the Eagles don't have a real playmaker waiting in the wings at this spot, the results could be devastating. This is a first round pick worthy need in my opinion.
#4 - Re-sign Garcia
#5 (tie) - Get a threat in the return game. Get a backup RB. Buckhalter is a free agent, and while I wouldn't mind bringing him back it would be nice to see a capable short yardage back to compliment Westbrook.