A Re-Do of the Eagles Off-Season
While the Eagles made headlines with big free agent moves this off-season, lets take a look at how things could have been different and the moves they should have made to help this team improve.
First off, back on January 15th the Eagles fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, while many fans were happy to see McDermott go, he would be an upgrade over current defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.
On January 19th the Eagles hired defensive line coach Jim Washburn and many people think that many desirable candidates took their name out of the Eagles hat based on the Washburn hire.
What defensive coordinator would want to have a defensive line coach in place already who employees a very unique system. The Washburn hire took many qualified candidates out of the running and made Castillo a figure head more then a authority figure.
There were plenty choices to replace McDermott, but one realistic name was current Browns coordinator Dick Jauron. Remember Jauron was a two-time head coach and was on the Eagles staff last season as a defensive backs coach.
The Browns are currently sixth in overall team defense, while the Eagles rank 15th. The Browns give up 19.6 points per game which is good for ninth best in the league, the Eagles 22.8 has them at 19th in the league.
Kicker David Akers was let go by the team when they drafted Alex Henery in the fourth round of the NFL draft. While Henery looks like he will be a solid NFL kicker, the Eagles probably win the 49ers game if they didn't let Akers go. Akers currently leads the NFL with 28 field goals and is 6-for-6 from 50-yards or more. Henery is just 2-for-3 from 40 or more yards and has 18 makes overall.
At linebacker, the Eagles decided that young players Jamar Chaney, Casey Mathews, Moise Foku and Akeem Jordan were the way to go. They let veteran players like Nick Barnett, Kirk Morrison and Stephen Tulloch all sign elsewhere and the position has been a disaster all season.
Veteran safety Quintin Mikell was let go as well, he was picked up by the St. Louis Rams. With 61 tackles, a sack, three forced fumbles and a pick, he as been a solid addition to the Rams secondary, an area where Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen have really struggled, combined the duo has 90 tackles, and four interceptions. You can even make a case in saying that letting Mikell walk and replacing him with Jarrad Page cost the Eagles two games with as Poor as Page played.
The Eagles also spent money on bringing in guys like Ronnie Brown, Vince Young and Steve Smith; none of which have really made much of an impact. Yes, Young helped to win the Giants game, but an argument could be made that if they brought in one impact player at linebacker for the amount they paid these three guys the Eagles would be better off in grand scheme of things.
In the draft, while it is easy to second guess things, lets do a couple of do-overs.
In the first round, Danny Watkins looks like a solid pick at a position that was an albatross for years. However, in the second round the Eagles swung at Temple safety Jaiquann Jarrett and so far have missed.
The Eagles should have kept Mikell and with a second-year player in Allen drafted in the second round last season, a better pick here would have been wide-out Randall Cobb, who would be a game-changer in the return game who was taken nine picks after Jarrett with the final pick of the second round.
In the third round, the Eagles went with defensive back Curtis Marsh, and then went out and traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and signed Nnamdi Asomugha. Instead of wasting another 3rd round pick on Marsh and a fourth round pick on linebacker Casey Matthews, moving up to take Mason Foster who was taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, could have added a starting level player to the linebacker position.
So to re-cap, I'll take Dick Jauron over Juan Castillo, I'd spend some extra cash to bring Mikell back and not sign Page, instead of Brown, Smith and Young on offense, I would have gone with Barnett and Morrison on defense and added a return man like Cobb, who could be a replacement for Jackson if that relationship is ended, or a bigger target like Greg little who is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds and is having a nice season in Cleveland.
Either way, the 2011 season has been a mess, but as they say it all starts at the top and the Eagles off-season had more misses then hits and is the main reason this team sits at 4-7.