10 More Changes Eagles Could Make During Bye
After firing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, Andy Reid indicated more moves could be made. Here are 10 other changes that should be considered. Read the full article here.
1. Give the King the Throne - The Eagles aren’t getting much out of Demetress Bell at left tackle and should go back to King Dunlap, assuming he’s fully healthy.
2. Where’s Watkins? - Right guard Danny Watkins has become a big weakness. It’s hard to figure out who the Eagles could replace him with, but if they deemed him a bigger weak spot than Bell, King Dunlap has filled in at guard in the past.
The better option, though, would be to trade for an offensive lineman. More on that in a moment.
3. Veteran Center - Dallas Reynolds has actually filled in admirably for the injured Jason Kelce, but only because expectations were relatively low. Steve Vallos hasn’t been able to crack the active roster the last couple of games, but perhaps a shot at the starting job would elevate his play.
4. Let Nnamdi Be Nnamdi - Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha proved through the first three quarters on Sunday that he is still an elite, lockdown corner when used properly. It stands to reason that Bowles will use Asomugha better.
5. Return of DeSean - Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is a lethal punt returner, with four touchdowns in his career. Jackson needs more opportunities to set the offense up for points moving forward. With the offense putting up just 17.2 points per game (31st), sparks are needed.
6. Tackle Eligible - If the Eagles continue to struggle to protect quarterback Michael Vick, they should consider going into max protection with extra lineman instead of tight ends in situations where it makes sense.
On third-and-two through third-and-four, the Birds might benefit from putting two extra lineman on the field instead of tight ends in two cases: when they plan to use the tight ends in pass protection anyway and when they plan to run the ball.
7. Red Zone Creativity - The Eagles are scoring touchdowns only 42.11 percent of the time they reach the red zone and 41.67 percent of the time they reach goal to go. They’re 25th in red zone percentage and 30th in goal to go percentage.
How about some creativity? Designed rollouts, naked bootlegs, a “Fridge” style package for Cullen Jenkins or Fletcher Cox and a Wildcat are a few ideas.
Anything that passes for red zone creativity would be a start.
8. Blitz More Creatively - This seems relatively likely to happen after the firing of Juan Castillo, but the Eagles could really use some creative blitzes. Part of Castillo’s problem was that his blitzes were pretty clearly telegraphed to the offense and relatively straight forward and boring. Rarely, if ever, did you see a surprise blitzer from the secondary or an overload on one side of the offensive line.
How about a corner blitz from the speedy Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie?
9. Acquire O-Line Help - The Eagles biggest weakness in talent among their current starters is along the offensive line, due to the injuries to Jason Peters and Jason Kelce, their two most important lineman. Ryan Lilja would be a perfect fit.
Lilja is the Chiefs’ starting center. He’s 31, in the last year of his contract. Lilja started for the Colts for the better part of four-plus years during offensive line coach Howard Mudd’s time in Indianapolis. Now that Mudd’s brought his somewhat unique technique to Philadelphia, any fill-in would struggle to learn it during a week if not for past experience. Lilja wouldn’t have that problem.
Lilja is a natural left guard and could likely play right guard, but moved to center when Rodney Hudson was injured. Second round pick Jeff Allen took his place at left guard and there had been talk he might beat Lilja out anyway, which may have led the Chiefs to ask Lilja to take a pay cut.
With the Chiefs at 1-5 and heading deeper into a rebuilding process, they shouldn’t have any need for a 31-year-old lineman in the last year of his contract.
10. Change Offensive Philosophy - If the Eagles can’t fix their offensive line problems, they need to be more conservative with their play calling, to an extent. Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg can’t ask Michael Vick to throw off of seven step drops on slow developing plays with only his five offensive lineman blocking.
Instead, they can call three- and five-step drops, or keep more players in protection.
Ryan Messick covers the Eagles for 97.3 ESPN FM. Follow him on Twitter.