Sunday, January 10, 2010

Eagles: One and Done

In the aftermath of two straight Texas trouncings, I'm going to step back and try to evaluate this Eagles team objectively. So if you're looking for emotional condemnations of McSuck and Big Incompetent, you'll have to wait until next season.

Here's what the Eagles are: 11-1 against non-playoff teams, 0-5 against playoff teams. And of those games, three against the Cowboys, the Saints, and the Chargers, only one was competitive. The other four games exposed mighty flaws - an inability to stop the run, an inconsistent pass rush, an offensive line that can't block, and consistent mistakes from the linebacker and safety positions.

Some of it was certainly due to injuries; health at this time of year is an underreported indicator of success. The Eagles were missing five projected starters (the Andrews sisters, Stewart Bradley, Jamaal Jackson, Quintin Demps) for the game while the Cowboys were missing zero. Technically, I could count Kevin Curtis as a sixth projected starter, but I'm assuming by this point in the season he would have been passed by Maclin on the depth chart anyway. Cornelius Ingram, who might have developed into an important role-player in 2TE sets, was also out for the year.

Generally, injuries are random and unavoidable, but look again at that list: three of those players were known risks (Andrews, Andrews, Ingram) who were coming off season-ending injuries! Additionally, the positions of safety and tackle were intentionally weakened by the Eagles when they chose not to resign key veterans to those positions. So a lot of the 'randomness' in this case was predictable and easily avoided, or at least prepared for.

The personnel department has a lot of work to do between now and April. 2-3 new defensive starters are needed for next year, at LB, S, and DE. The OL needs more depth, at least, and possible replacements for one or both of the Andrews. Another RB to replace Westbrook and another WR or two to replace Curtis and Brown. A young QB to be scouted and drafted to fill the developmental 3rd QB spot. 1-2 corners must be brought in also, to replace Sheldon down the road and provide some immediate depth.

It's important to remember that the Eagles were 11-5 and in the playoffs, a position that 20 NFL franchises envy. But beating up on bad teams, while failing miserably against good teams, is only a mediocre accomplishment. I refuse to make too much of it. This is a team that went from having the best roster in the league to a middling team with a lot of holes.

And oh yeah, the coach and QB suck. There, I feel better.


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