Offseason Analysis: Philadelphia Eagles
Jase Patrizio, one of my best friends and an Eagles fanatic, was kind enough to analyize the Eagles’ Offseason plans for me.
The surprising Birds made it to the NFC championship game and lost a heartbreaker to the Arizona Cardinals for a chance to win their first Super Bowl title. What is an Eagles season without controversy? As Big Reid would say, “I’m not gonna get into all that stuff.”
This offensive line could look a lot different come September. Long time Eagles OTs Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas are UFAs and the front office has proven time and time again that they will part ways with players who are in the twilight of their careers if they need to. With that said, the line protected their quarterback well this year with RFA Nick Cole (filling in for Max Jean-Gilles who was filling in for Shawn Andrews) allowing 23 sacks (down from 44 last year). UFA RB Correll Buckhalter has filled in admirably for BWest and had some nice games. They could use a strong FB and/or a bruising, punishing RB like Brandon Jacobs to take some of the load of Westy. A running game similar to the formula of the New York Giants or the Tennessee Titans would make BWest even more dangerous. Maybe Kyle Eckel is the answer at FB (who was a great cure for our short yardage maladies). Oh wait, I forgot we’re running the West Coast Offense rarely do we run. I’m going to give you an exclusive piece of news here…We need to go after an ELITE Wide Receiver. Insert your true #1 playmaking, gamebreaking, stud WR [ here(Boldin, Housh ] and line him up with #2 Kevin Curtis and burner DeSean Jackson in the slot and things could get fun. They will probably re-sign Big Bank Hank who got some nice red zone grabs and be done at WR. Just a hunch. Throw a BIG DOG TE in the mix with hands and crushing blocking ability for those critical red zone points. I could see Owen Daniels fitting nicely in this puzzle. TE LJ Smith has been great at times but has had some bad luck with injuries, I don’t see him in an Eagles Uniform this year. Plus emerging TE Brent Celek has been exciting to watch this year and he will continue to grow.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Birds were impressively ranked #3 in total defense the league for the regular season. They had 29 takeaways (19 last year). On the bright side, UFA FS Brian Dawkins and CB Assante Samuel both went to the Pro Bowl. Here’s my rant, get ready! BDawk should remain and Eagle for remainder of his career. He’s the longest tenured athlete in Philadelphia since 1996 and has played the most games as an Eagle at 183. I can’t tell you how I would feel seeing him in any other color than Midnight Green and Black. He still has it and continues to be a presence on and off the field and in the locker room. You ever watch the NFL video highlights? I would go to war with the X factor. Maybe his pass coverage has declined to offer some criticism but he’s still one the very best. He needs to get a ring. Hopefully, Joe Banner feels like I do. Unlikely, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him gone. Lito Sheppards’s value has taken a hit due to the solid play of UFA Joselio Hanson who has managed to keep him off the field in the nickel. The front office should have traded him while they could. I wouldn’t be surprised if we went after a big name defensive free agent. I could see them going after T Albert Haynesworth or DE Julius Peppers and then you would see Trent Cole having a big year. You know how they like to make a big splash with big defensive stars. Haynesworth could be labeled as risk, but he’s just a star and commands attention from opponents which would give Jim Johnson even more ability to create pressure with his defense. We have a nice rotation at DE with Juqua Parker, Chris Clemons and Darren Howard. The Tackles Mike Patterson and Broderick Bunkley had a good year. The LBs were solid this year and Akeem Jordan broke into the starting lineup. This young LB corps will continue to grow and get better.
Let me know if I left anything out and/or share your comments. Thanks Lester for letting me give my take.