Eagles Offseason Checklist

The Philadelphia Eagles have several players participating in this weekends upcoming pro bowl in Hawaii which means only one thing…They once again, are not playing in the Super Bowl. However, although still tough, it must be a little easier pill to swallow for Philadelphia fans simply because they did not have set expectations going into the season anyway. Experts had predictions that ranged from 6-10 to 8-8. Surely the ones who predicted 10-6, were not in the majority.
Be that as it may, they still did not play in the big game and change is going to come. Head Coach Andy Reid has already begun his quest to purge the defense which was historically bad in the red zone. Reid fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott who has quickly landed on his feet in Carolina. Reid has also dismissed Defensive line coach Rory Segrest and Linebacker coach Bill Shuey in addition to losing Secondary coach Dick Jauron. The Eagles defense needs to look drastically different next year and with all the coaching changes, it certainly will.
The first step on the Eagles checklist is quite simple… Pick a quarterback. We might as well title this part sign Michael Vick because it is only a formality and his play warranted the opportunity, but out of respect for Kevin Kolb who has been very professional, we call this step “Pick a quarterback”.
Expect Vick to get a long-term deal this offseason. He clearly deserves it and the Eagles feel like he is the quarterback for the job. He gives the Eagles the best chance to win and that fact is not lost on the Eagles leadership. They took a huge chance signing Vick and it is finally paying off. The Birds would be foolish to let another team benefit from Vick’s second chance.
The second step immediately has to do with the offensive line. This is perhaps the most logical step to go after signing Vick simply because if you are going to give Vick a raise you got to protect him. The left side of the line is great with Herremans and Peters but with a lefty quarterback it’s the right side that needs to be the strongest. Honestly, the line played much better last year than they get credit for but they still must improve. Jamaal Jackson will once again look to make a return to his center spot and will have to supplant Mike McGlynn who played fairly well in his first season starting. The Eagles biggest task will be to address RG. Since Shawn Andrews began having his, “issues” we’ll call them, the RG spot has been a revolving door. First it was his brother Stacy Andrews and now this back and forth between both Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles. Expect the Birds to address this spot in the draft. It is time to find a long-term solution at that spot.
Now we flip it over to the other side of the ball. There are a few key spots that need addressing. First is the Defensive line. The Eagles need much stronger play from every spot on the line, including from Trent Cole. He looked incredibly winded coming down the stretch and was manhandled late in the season. There has been talk of the Eagles re-acquiring pro bowl DE Jason Babin and DT Albert Haynesworth, both of which are acquisitions that would not be a problem. I am all for Babin coming back, but I have reservations about Haynesworth. He is talented of course but high character guys are important and his attitude could come back to bite the Birds down the line, a la Terrell Owens.
Next would be linebacker. They just are not talented enough. None of them are. Stewart Bradley is good, not great. He has to improve immensely still. The Eagles have to strive to acquire a top flight linebacker at any spot because the play has to improve at that position. Bradley and Sims both underperformed this past season and they have to improve or be prepared to be backups.
The last step is pretty simple. It can be summed up in two words. Nnamdi Asomugha. Not the easiest words, but Eagles fans are going to get to know them very soon. Asomugha is a free agent and he has to sign with the Eagles. He and Asante Samuel would form the best 1-2 corner punch in the NFL hands down. Dmitri Patterson did a stellar job replacing Ellis Hobbs but he should not be starting on a typical top flight defense.
All of these steps in the process are merely possibilities. Do not expect them all to happen, but do not be surprised if they all do. Remember, when the Eagles brass feels like it has a chance to win, they go all in on free agents. They did it in 2004 and if they feel like they are close, they will do it again.

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