Monday, January 11, 2010

My RX for the Eagles

First and foremost, let's begin with a simple statement: the Eagles' collapse at the end of the 2009 season is UNACCEPTABLE. Changes MUST OCCUR. The Defense devolved into something pitiful, so let's start there:

In my fantasy of how to recombobulate the Sean McDermott's defense, I would make some basic moves: I would get Brian Dawkins back from the Broncos. I don't care what you say about Denver's own defense implosion that Dawk appeared helpless to stave off in 2009, the Eagles CLEARLY lacked a "spark" in the backfield...."Macho" Harris looks like he has some talent -- IF he can whip that lump of shit between his ears he calls a brain into some resembling a smart football player (TOO MANY RETARDED plays by Harris this year...not in the missed assignment category, but in the dumbfuck penalty dept.) Quintin Demps and Sean Jones would be thanked for their faithful service and allowed to find employment elsewhere, I hear Detroit might need some DBs. I would resign Sheldon Brown. Not to an extravagant contract mind you, but a solid pay-raise. The man is a WARRIOR, plays hurt and plays well - the closest thing we had to Dawk on the D. A lot of people have a problem with Asante Samuel's tackling ability (or lack thereof). In general: I don't. The man is world-class 'bout coming up with the some schemes that play to his ability to free-lance...

As for the Linebackers: I can only say this for 2010: Welcome back Stewart Bradley...I don't think the detrimental effects of Bradley's absence from the line-up this year can be over-stated. The Eagles D went from a having a sideline-to-sideline, three-down MLB would could cover opposing TEs to having, well, let's be a honest, a cobbled together mish-mash of smaller guys used to playing Weakside LB (the WILL position in the Eagles D) and Jeremiah Trotter, who, god bless him, did his best to provide the Eagles D a spark this year. With a healthy Bradley back in the middle, Witherspoon at WILL (yeah, I'd keep him), the Eagles would only have to a find a decent SAM (strongside backer)....the way Gocong disappeared from the D I would be surprised if the Eagles felt he was the long-term answer. Moise Fokou needs seasoning and was clearly overmatched by circumstances this year....HEY HOW ABOUT THIS FOR YA: DRAFT ONE!!!

I think the Eagles have fewer problems along the D-Line....I could be wrong...Aside from Trent Cole, the group played solid, but Clemons clearly isn't a gangbuster and Parker is alright....still the Eagles DL can be effective with the rotation they have....I see the Eagles tapping the draft for another DL this offseason...

Special Teams: Bye bye Sav....Rocca was way too inconsistent this year. Sometimes uncorking punts that looked like kickoffs....other times I think Timmy from Southpark could've done a better job. Akers was solid to great all year. Stay in shape and the Kicking is solid so long as we give Akers time to develop chemistry with a new holder. AND NO, Akers' preference and rapport with Sav would not save him in my world, sorry Dave.

As for the Offense....I am concerned about the O-Line...the loss of stalwart Center Jamaal Jackson so late in the season means he probably won't really be ready to play and be back to his old self for next season. Look at Free Agent pick-up Andrews, ACL tear in December 2008, not really back in the swing much at all this year. Peters will round into shape and I think Stacy Andrews secures the RG position next training camp...Ultimately health will determine the cohesion of the unit, much like this year...Shaky early with Herremanns out, Peaked down the stretch and helped the Eagles to build an impressive win-streak in Nov/Dec, then essentially collapsed with the injury to the C Jackson. The Eagles almost always choose a OL in the draft, and personally I think they HAVE to look at the top-rated Centers....

WR - Easy-peasy here. Jackson and Maclin will form a deadly tandem next year, Avant has the slot position locked down...the only way Brown makes the team is if for salary cap considerations. Like Curtis...still both will compete in training camp and be looking to bounce back from forgettable 2009s...Unfortunately for them, I just don't see it happening.

TE - A healthy Celek, with a nice extension, sweet...I'd really like to see the Eagles pick-up a more blocking-oriented TE, but I doubt they will. HOWEVER, if it were MY TEAM, I would be tracking down one of those dudes who blocks like an extra OL...

RBs - I'd sign Weaver, because he gives the Eagles offense a big-back dimension that simply was not there prior to his arrival. Lesean McCoy will only be better with a year in the system under his belt. There is a lot of scuttlebutt about whether the clusterfuck in Dallas was Brian Westbrook's last game in a Philly uniform. My prescription would have him stay with the Birds. The Eagles need leadership. Yes, they need production, but I give Westy 2010. Let him get fully healthy in the offseason and see if the team can coax a revival year out of him. Its a real shame to think this, because it seems like just yesterday that Brian was this electrifying, spectacular play-maker....Not sure if the old Westbrook will ever be back but I give him a shot after an injury-derailed season.

QB - This is where the axe falls. My Rx calls for the beginning of the Kevin Kolb Era. Its time...Looks at Green Bay, Rodgers was marooned behind Brett Favre, but he flourished this year. 2010 is the last year of Kolb's contract. He played in 2 games this year, and set an all-time NFL record by being the first QB to ever throw for 300+ yards in his first two NFL starts. For me, its time to see what the man can do. Will he make more mistakes? Sure he will. He'll only have 2 games worth of experience...but I tell you what. The man can throw the rock, and he appears to have the accuracy with his throws that will make him a better match for Andy Reid's Offense that the strong-armed, relatively slow release, sometimes touchless throws that plague McNabb and send the offense into fits and starts. I mean, every Eagles watcher is familiar with McNabb's gopher-balls, were he just absolutely drills a laser shot into the turf at the feet of an otherwise wide-open receiver. I didn't get to see the beginning of the Eagles clusterfuck playoff game against Dallas, but from what I've read, McNabb began the most important game of the season is customary form, badly missing on pass after pass. Seriously, how the FUCK does that happen?

After these two consecutive debacles in Dallas, which turned a promising season in utter ashes in the span of 7 days, McNabb said "Blame me, I take full responsibility." OK Dude, much as I love ya, and think you are the best QB in franchise history, I am willing to take you up on the offer. Someone's head gotta roll for this shit, and you just put yours in the guillotine. Personally I am sick of athletes and politicians who offer up the "I'm responsible" claim after something goes wrong, sometimes horribly wrong, and then expect no repercussions. Fine, you responsible. You're FIRED.

Is the Eagles' problem larger than McNabb? Yes. Would trading him "improve the team" for 2010? Not necessarily, but I tell you what, much as I appreciate what McNabb has done for the team, I've had my fill of passes thrown in the dirt. 11-year veteran QBs do NOT wither and blow away like 5 did to end this season. How can the Eagles truly, I mean TRULY, expect to get over the hump with Donovan? This year was his chance to show what he could do with new, faster weapons...the answer is play pretty well, and at times spectacularly....but all these improved weapons did not change the rollercoaster, streaky nature of the Eagles O with McNabb at the helm.