Despite going 10-6 for a second straight season, the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles failed to qualify for the playoffs after losing three critical games down the stretch. The focus now turns to what the Eagles need to do in order to improve from a "good" team to a "great" team. The Birds will have an opportunity to upgrade their roster in the offseason through free agency and the 2015 NFL Draft. Philadelphia has plenty of cap space to work with and also owns eight draft picks.
There are several areas of concern on the Eagles roster that need to be addressed. But the question we ask today is: which one position do the Eagles need to upgrade the most?
Secondary is obviously high on the list. The Eagles gave up too many big plays through the air in 2014. Their 72 plays of 20+ yards allowed ranked as the third most since 1991. Much-maligned cornerback Bradley Fletcher, who is scheduled to be a free agent, was often burned in coverage. On the other side, Cary Williams was up and down and has a high cap number heading into 2015. The Eagles could really use a new pair of starting cornerbacks.
The Birds could afford to address the safety position as well. Nate Allen is scheduled to be a free agent and could be upgraded. Malcolm Jenkins is already in place as one of the two starters.
While the secondary definitely needs to be upgraded, it's far from their only problem. The fact is that Philadelphia turned the ball over more than any other team in 2014. The Eagles lead the NFL in turnovers since 2011 with 130. The quarterback position has been responsible for 94 (72.3%) of those. Nick Foles led the NFL in turnovers before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 9. Due to a lack of viable options, Philadelphia might not have much of a choice but to stick with him again in 2015. But just because they can't easily upgrade doesn't make it a big concern.
And even if Foles has earned your confidence, it's unclear what the Eagles have behind him. Mark Sanchez will be a free agent and he could look to test the market. Matt Barkley seems like a non-factor. If Foles falters or gets hurt again, the Eagles are looking awfully thin at the most important position in the game.
Secondary and quarterback are the biggest issues that come to mind. There are other positions that need to be upgraded as well. Veteran insider linebacker DeMeco Ryans is coming off an Achilles injury and his future is uncertain. The offensive line is aging. Riley Cooper was arguably one of the worst starting wide receivers in the league last season. And so on.
It's up to Chip Kelly to get the job done. He's the man fully in charge of Philadelphia's player personnel department now due to the Eagles power structure change early in the year. Vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz will serve as his right hand man along the way.
So, which position do you want to see the Eagles attack first and foremost?