Eagles 2007 Season is Over and Now it is Time to Look Toward the Future

(Philadelphia, Pa) — What a season for the Birds (Truly a head-scratcher)!!!  They were up and down overall with no consistency week in and week out (3-5 at home).  Donovan McNabb was on the hot seat all season as he came back from his knee injury to post some good numbers (19 TDS, 7 INT, 3,324 yards passing, 89.9 rating, 9 fumbles (5 lost), 236 yards rushing), but his game play was equally up and down, Andy Reid was his usual self despite his family issues (Passed too much, Ran too little, didn’t play draft picks, wasted timeouts, few in-game adjustments), Westbrook proved he was an elite back in the NFL (Eagles record for combined yards of 2104), Kevin Curtis was scrappy (over 1,100 yards), Trent Cole brought the wood (12.5 sacks) and three straight wins to end the regular season to finish 8-8 is “ok”.  But in the end it was another unfulfilling journey that ended with another parade less season for die-hard Eagles fans. 

I know that Andy and his staff will spin it that they were a play/game away here or there and that this team was as good as the Cowboys and the rest of the NFC —Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda  (Packers game punt return fumbles, Bears game last drive, Feely’s interceptions at the end of the Patriots and Seahawks games, etc) — but you could also do that with some of their wins (2nd Redskins game, Jets, etc).  The cold hard reality is that this team needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and figure out that they just did not have enough talent on their roster to be a “real” playoff team (only team in NFC East not in the playoffs).  Sure they could have squeaked in like the Titans, but who could they have beaten averaging less than 20 points in most games and not producing turnovers (-9).

It looks like McNabb will be back to the consternation of many fans —The end of his Eagles career is near, but unless there is a blockbuster (1st Rd pick plus additional players/Day 1 picks) he will be back next season.  Which I think is the right call considering there are only about five quarterbacks that are clearly better than him when he is healthy (too many Eli Mannings, Cleo Lemons, Rex Grossmans, and others).  I believe the best thing for the Birds if they want to catch the rest of the division and drive up the trade value for a healthy McNabb next off-season is to get him some help (ranked only 17th in the NFL in scoring with 336 points).  Free agency is an option (There are some names that I like Bears WR Bernard Berrian, Chiefs DE Jared Allen – likely to be a “franchised”, Rams LB Brandon Chillar, Patriots DB Asante Samuel and others — However $$$ will come into play and there are too many “David Patten” (veterans not worth a big deal) types on this year’s list), but the draft is where the team has to be built.  The Eagles will have several options in the draft armed with several picks including #19 in the first round, their own selections in rounds 2 through 6, Cleveland 6th rd pick (Center Hank Fraley trade), and Seattle’s 7th rd pick (Fullback Josh Parry trade).  Plus expected compensatory picks awarded in March for the loss of free agents following the 2006 season (QB Jeff Garcia, DB Michael Lewis, WR Donte Stallworth, and others).

Some things that I believe are needed going into ’08 are listed below, but you know that I don’t like this braintrust’s draft history.

— #1 I believe a playmaking Kick Returner is needed.  The Eagles finished near the bottom in the NFL in field position (29.08 yard line for a ranking of 25th), so this is must.  Don’t let me pull out the tape of the week 1 loss to Green Bay to illustrate my point.  This is a position is too important to forget and it can be fixed by bringing in a free agent like former Houston Texans Pro Bowl return man Jerome Mathis or a good Day 2 of the draft pick (4th or 5th rounds) or by bringing in an undrafted free agent.  I would love for them to consider a former college option quarterback for this role in the draft and the player that I love for this role is this year’s Walter Payton award winner from Georgia Southern QB/WR/KR Jayson Foster.  He is elusive, speedy, has moves, and went for over 1,000 yards passing and rushing in 2007. He is explosive and really reminds me of Browns Pro Bowl return man Joshua Cribbs when he came out of Kent State.

— Receiving TE: The NFL is now built around a lot of zone coverages “Cover Two” and the way to bust up zones is to have a player that can beat you underneath.  The prime example is Jason Whitten from the Dallas Cowboys.  With T.O getting coverage rolled up to his side every time, there is plenty of room for Whitten to operate and he did to a tune of over 1,000 yards in 2007.  I know the Eagles are kicking themselves for not taking a harder look at Bears emerging TE Greg Olsen before they traded their own pick (#26) last year to the Cowboys.  The Birds may decide to bring back LJ Smith, but they need more production from him.  I believe their best bet is to let him get a fresh start and look for a player in the draft to play along side developing TE Brent Celek.

— Front-line WR:  We all like what Kevin Curtis did this season, but he is an “effort” player that needs additional help.  Coach Reid may have called this year a “career” year for Reggie Brown, but who is he fooling???  The Eagles need to find a receiver that will scare the opposition and open up things for the rest of the offense, remember 2004 how great everyone looked with Owens on the field.  There have been whispers that premier receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Chad Johnson may be available due to cap issues or complacency, either one would look great for the Eagles – but don’t hold your breath. 

— DE (Cole is a fast starter and a playmaker, but he had no help.  With Jevon Kearse (4 sacks) and Darren Howard (5 sacks) done as Eagles and the DT’s playing better this area is a must as the Eagles produced only 37 sacks opposed to 40 in 2006)

–OLB (Spikes is a good guy, but no game changing plays.  LB’s only had 2 INTs and 3 sacks between all of them.)

— 3rd Corner (Lito too injury prone and Williams James/Joselio Hanson can’t cut it as a top nickelback)

— Younger safety to be groomed as Brian Dawkins (34 years old and 1 INT) replacement.  Sean Considine is a special teams player/backup at best and so is Quinton Mikell, so a player needs to be added to the mix.

— Replacement for Kicker David Akers (24 for 32 overall, but 2 for 10 from beyond 40 yards including 1 for 6 between 40 to 49 yards)

— O-Line: This unit was good in ’07, but there is glaring need for depth as Tackles Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas are getting older.  Definitely need to find a player to push underachieving Guard Todd Herramins (too many penalties) and light a fire under Winston Justice whose psyche maybe bruised.

I will have much more as the draft approaches and finished my full draft evaluation including attending the Senior Bowl.

One Response

  1. Now we’ve left 2007 and we go on 2008,and our hearts are with our best team,Philadelphia Eagles.The team was unstable but we hope The guys will come back strogly to go ahead this year.Because whenever a team’s in trouble of course the fans are in trouble too.A friend told me he’ll never go to see any of eagles’games because he not satisfied of the team and also he find tickets skyricked.But,fortunately,at the end he’s found a website where he can make comparison of prices before reserving a ticket.He recomended to me and I think it will help you too:
    Philadelphia-Eagles Tickets
    Anyway,we wish that our team will come over all it’s problems to satisfy the great deal of fans who’re shouting after it.God Bless eagles!!!Live Football.

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