Rest in Peace, 2012.
For the Philadelphia Eagles, misery has come to be accepted. Fifty plus years without a football championship and now the 2012 regular season is a washout. Any sign of relief is needed for die-hard fans. There are a number of fans and those in the media that know how to interpret the mishaps from everything the Andy Reid tenure has brought to this moment on November 11, 2012.
It may be an uncommon reaction coming from someone bubbling in the frustration in the epicenter of the Eagles’ fan-base, but with a sagging 3-6 record and a 5-game losing streak, it is time to think about 2013 and the improvements necessary to breathe new life. It may require a nose-dive to one of the top five spots in the 2013 NFL Draft or loaded blockbuster trades and signings. How will it all play out after the season is over?
Firstly, there is zero offensive line. Despite severe injuries of left tackle Jason Peters, guard Todd Herremans, and center Jason Kelce, the backups have not shown any signs of competency besides there first game protecting rookie QB Nick Foles (after the injury to Vick). The emergence of a stonewall offensive lineman like years past—Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan, Shawn Andrews—is necessary.
Second, the defense needs a wake up. Sunday’s game against Dallas proved the concept of tackling is still not ingrained in the minds of Eagles’ defenders. About six missed the Cowboys’ RB Felix Jones on a 10-yard screen that ended as a touchdown. A few quarters later, QB Tony Romo evaded Fletcher Cox and Jason Babin on a high-pressure situation to pass it deep to Miles Austin for a 25-yard gain. There are improvements with linebackers Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans, but with a line that never sacks a quarterback alongside softy secondary players that have put Brian Dawkins’ name to shame simply cannot move on going into 2013.
Note: The Eagles actually played the Cowboys yesterday but… This is pretty much what happened.
Other methods of improvement should come by the weaponry of the offense. As much as wide receivers DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Jason Avant have done steadily well, they are no A-Team. One (or two) need to be traded while they are hot for some value. In return, the Eagles must bring in a tall wide receiver in the caliber of a Terrell Owens or Calvin Johnson. That is a rarity in the NFL, but the NY Giants struck gold with a no-name receiver like Victor Cruz.
With the ammo on offense, star running back LeSean McCoy is at the peak of his career with incredible mind-bending skills. He may have the talent to match Barry Sanders at his prime. Yet, the offensive line still needs reconstruction and a return to the running game will do him good. What will do him better is if he has a complementary bruising back (in the form of Brandon Jacobs) to pound it in on 1-yard stands. The Eagles have not seen that since fullback Leonard Weaver of 2009.
It would be best for the Eagles’ ownership to dump the majority of the coaching staff. There are no answers on a week to week basis after one chronic mistake is not adjusted on top of another. The offensive coordinator Marty Morniwheg, defensive line coach Jim Washburn (and the wide nine gimmick plan) need to go. Andy Reid is the main man that must leave as well. The questionable scouting of talent from 2010 to 2011 has damaged the organization as a whole. The Eagles are taking steps backwards, not forwards.
The 1998 season where the Eagles slopped out a 3-13 record did not all come at a loss. They built from scratch and moved on from Ray Rhodes. They drafted QB Donovan McNabb and retooled other ailing parts to a wrecked franchise. By 2000, the Eagles had become relevant again.
2012 is the new 1998. The Eagles talent is at a loss, and the sepulchral march to January will test the will of all Eagle fans, as long as the Andy Reid regime comes to an end.