The Eagles are at a crossroads and need to make some major changes this offseason. They may have made the NFC Championship, but if you look at their midseason pitfalls and how they got into the playoffs, you know there was luck on their side to get in. There is no way they can move forward with the same philosophy and expect to be a championship football organization.
This is my look at the Eagles Coaching Staff and Active Roster. Who should stay and who must go.
Head Coach-Andy Reid: It's not that the team struggles here and there under Reid, it's the fact that they continue to struggle for the same reasons and Red doesn't make the necessary adjustments to fix the problems. WR production, Run blocking, 3rd downs and red zone offense have been major issues for a while. Reid is not going to change his ways. The thing is Reid gets his player to give maximum effort, but front office needs to relieve him of his personnel and play calling duties.
-Possible replacements: Bill Cowher(Old-school, in your face, great motivator)
Offensive Coordinator- Marty Mornhinweg: His leadership and ability are a question mark because Andy Reid seems to be inconsistent with the role he gives him. But, people forget it was his play-calling in 2006 after McNabb went down that had the Eagles the most balance in years. He's replaceable, but should probably stay.
-Possible replacement: Jon Gruden-The only place he can head coach is Oakland and we all know that’s not going to happen. It would only happen if his firing from Tampa Bay humbled him.
Offensive Position Coaches that should stay: Quarterback(Lost him to Steve Spagnuolo and the Rams now, need a replacement); Offensive Line; Tight End
Offensive Position Coaches that need to go: Wide receiver; Running backs;
Defensive Coordinator- Jimmy Johnson: His blitz packages are lethal, but his "bend but don't break" has caused more harm than help over the recent years. Part of the problem is the talent of the players at his disposal.
Defensive Position Coaches that should stay: Defensive backs; Linebackers
Defensive Position Coach that needs to go: Defensive Line
Special Teams Coordinator-Rory Seagreast: Besides two talented return specialists the Eagles Special Teams unit stuck in between inconsistent and flat out horrendous. David Akers is on fast decline, Sav Rocca is either great or poor, and the coverage unit is still suspect. Even with Quinten Demps and DeSean Jackson returning, the blocking units still leave a lot to be desired.
Onto the playersa��a��a��a��a��a��a��.
1. Donovan McNabb: The only thing people can say about McNabb is that he’s not Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. But his supporting cast(WR, TE, RB and OL) have all been mediocre at best. Nobody can catch, get open, block or fine a hole to run through on a consistent basis. Put #5 in a better system here or in Chicago/Miami/Minnesota and he will shine tremendously. The Eagles should feel obligated to get players that help McNabb do what he does best instead of thinking his accuracy is going to improve. At 32, McNabb has 5-6 productive years left. If Reid stays, Donovan deserves a better chance somewhere else.
2. Kevin Kolb: Kolb has the talent and leadership ability to start in the NFL one day. He still has 2-3 years left to become the QB he should be. He should stay, but depending one what the Eagles do with McNabb in the future Kolb might turn into very attractive trade bait.
3. A.J. Feeley: A 31 year old 3rd stringer has no place in the NFL. He needs to start thinking about coaching. Cut him off the roster, PLEASE. At least with Koy Detmer you had the same productivity PLUS a good relationship with Akers as his holder. Hard to think about replacements for 3rd String QB other than late in the draft. Possible replacement: A late round(possibly 6th) pick or a veteran FA like Kyle Boller .
QB Draft prospects: Graham Harrell(Texas Tech); Chase Holbrook(New Mexico St.); John Parker Wilson(Alabama); Hunter Cantwell(Louisville)
1. Brian Westbrook: B-West definitely has had better years and very few more years left as a franchise back. He still is a Top-5 back when healthy. The problem is he’s not healthy that often. He should stay.
2. Correll Buckhaulter: Buckhaulter does good when given the opportunity, but Reid doesn't give him that. He bounced back from multiple injuries/surgeries and gets much respect for his resolve. The problem now is he's a 30 year old, semi-used backup. This is his last year and his roster spot should be given to a younger and bigger back who's more aggressive in those 3rd and short situations. Possible replacements: Brandon Jacobs(Giants) if NY decides to go with Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw in the future; Ricky Williams(Dolphins) despite his age is another FA option.
3. Lorenzo Booker: Total waste of a trade. Should've been cut before Tony Hunt. Possible replacement: J.J. Arrington(Cardinals) or even bring back Ryan Moats(he was a fairly decent, 3rd string worthy option).
RB Draft prospects: Javon Ringer(Michigan St.); James Davis(Clemson); Rashad Jennings(Liberty); Shonn Greene(Iowa)
1. Dan Klecko: A prime example of why Reid should go. No way should a position be experimented on, especially during the season. It was bad enough they tried Hunt at the beginning. It's a lack of respect to the game in my opinion. Klecko was a decent defensive tackle and should stay on the roster as a reserve there. Possible replacement at FB: More than likely a mid-late round draft pick unless one of the few stud FBs left becomes available. Possible replacements: Leonard Weaver(Seahawks)
2. Kyle Eckel: WHO??? Cut him please!!! Possible replacement: Let's get one real FB and see where that goes first.
FB Draft prospects: Jorvorskie Lane(Texas A&M); Brannan Southerland(Georgia); Chris Pressley(Wisconsin); Eddie Williams(Idaho); Quinn Johnson(LSU)
1. L.J. Smith: He's an athlete, but not a football player. He was drafted over Jason Witten and franchised this year only to have probably his worst season. DO NOT RE-SIGN!! Possible replacements: Desmond Clark (Bears) although he'd be more of a stop gap solution; Owen Daniels(Texans), but Houston is probably going to lock him up. At first I thought there would be no way the Eagles would draft a TE in the 1st or 2nd round, but if Brandon Pettigrew falls in their lap……. This is the position the Eagles are most likely to make an off-season trade for( Kellen Winslow-Browns maybe??a��)
2. Brent Celek: Talented receiving TE but needs to get better as a blocker. Still best suited at 2nd string. Keep him.
3. Matt Schoebel: Can't block, can't beat out a second year player, too old. Cut him and draft/sign a younger 3rd stringer who's willing to learn(5th-6th round) and block.
TE Draft prospects: Brandon Pettigrew(Oklahoma St.); Chase Coffman(Missouri); Ryan Purvis(Boston College); John Phillips(Virginia); Andrew Quarless(Penn St.)
1. DeSean Jackson: Definitely talented and can stretch the field. Great football IQ and will improve as he matures. Not a stud #1 but he can become a consistent starter on the opposite side of one. Keep him.
2. Kevin Curtis: Good receiver, but he's better suited as a slot receiver. Not the #1 option the front staff made him out to be and definitely not worth the contract they gave him. But, at the age of 30, he's here and he can produce. Keep him.
3. Reggie Brown: Total disappointment and eventually became a waste of a 2nd round pick. Can't get open, not fast, hands are suspect. CUT HIM PLEASE!!! Possible replacements: T.J Houshmandzadeh(Bengals) would improve this core tremendously!! Otherwise, the Eagles would have to continue to pursue a trade to bring in a worthy starter( Anquan Boldin-Cardinals; Chad Johnson-Bengals) unless they're in position to draft Michael Crabtree(Texas Tech)-NOT!!.
4. Jason Avant: Good hands and a good route runner. Definitely underused. He should and will stay as a #4 WR.
5. Hank Baskett: Another underused option, especially on fade routes. Shocked me as an undrafted free agent but the guy can play. Replaceable, but wouldn't be mad if he stays. He's a RFA after the season. Possible replacement: Brandon Jones(Titans); Devery Henderson(Saints); At 4th- 5th round pick with his height.
6. Greg Lewis: Total waste of roster space. Especially on a team in dire need of starting quality receivers. Should've been cut after the 2005 season. The Super Bowl TD catch was almost four years ago!!! Possible replacement: Bumping up Shaheer McBride or Willie Reid from the practice squad wouldn't hurt, but neither would a sleeper FA or a late round pick if their major needs are filled at draft time.
WR Draft prospects: Darius Passmore(Marshall); Marko Mitchell(Nevada); Michael Jones(Arizona State); Aaron Kelly(Clemson)
1. William Thomas: His good years are definitely behind him. Bad back, holding penalties and false starts have been a problem despite his talent. Do not resign. Possible replacement: The Eagles #1 pick in the 2009 draft depending on who's available; Jordan Gross(Carolina) if the Panthers let him go; Stacy Andrews(Bengals)
2. Jon Runyan: Despite his age, he's a great warrior and a great leader. The Eagles aren't going to replace two starting tackles in one off-season and Runyan is the one who should stay. Even if just for one year. Possible replacements: Vernon Carey(Dolphins) if he makes it to free agency(Dolphins stated they want him).
3. Winston Justice: No offensive lineman should be considered "soft", yet the Eagles have one. Another waste of a second round pick based off playing for a college football powerhouse(USC). Needs to be cut in the off season. The Eagles have done everything to keep him OFF the field so he's a wasted roster spot. Possible replacement: King Dunlap coming off IR; Mark Tausher(Packers-depends on how Thomas and Runyan are handled); Vernon Carey(Dolphins-see Mark Tausher).
OT Draft Prospects: Andre Smith(Alabama)-won’t happen; Ciron Black(LSU); Phil Loadhaldt(Oklahoma): Fenuki Tupou(Oregon); Jason Smith(Baylor); Eben Britton(Arizona).
1. Shawn Andrews: The biggest enigma in the NFL beside Vince Young. A mass of talent and the potential to be the great offensive lineman in Eagles history. His physical and mental state are a mystery. I'd love to see him stay, but the Eagles have to have their players on the field as much as possible. Possible replacement if worst case scenario happens: Depends on draft position and free agency.
2. Todd Herremans: Good player but the most replaceable starting lineman on the team. Better suited for backup depending on who's available in the off-season.
3. Max Jean-Giles: Between being a limited blocker(not a good pass blocker) and penalty prone, Jean-Giles has been a disappointment. That said, he's still a good talent and serviceable. He should stay and be coached better on focus and use of his hands.
4. Mike McGlynn: Still a rookie. Jury's out on him. Keep him for now.
OG Draft Prospects: Duke Robinson(Oklahoma); Herman Johnson(LSU); Ray Feinga(BYU)
1. Jamal Jackson: He's guilty just like the rest of the line. He's still a good player who more likely would bounce back from a bad season. Keep him.
2. Nick Cole: He's a backup and will stay a backup. He could stay or be replaced by better talent. Won't make much of a difference. Possible replacement: There’s only 3 Centers worth looking at in free agency. Bryan Meester(Jaguars); Matt Birk(Vikings) and Jeff Saturday(Colts) are all in their 30s and probably a lock to return to their respective teams.
C Draft Prospects-Dallas Reynolds(BYU), Brett Helms(LSU), and Alex Fletcher(Stanford) are the most likely being that the Eagles don’t draft high for this position. Both of Andy Reid’s starters(Jamal Jackson and Hank Fraley) were both undrafted free agents.
1. Trent Cole: A 5th round pick who's become a stud. Definitely irreplaceable on the right side of the line. Position depth and a productive offense to give the defense rest will prolong his career.
2. Darren Howard: In the off-season and preseason I thought he should've been the first guy cut. That's no longer an issue, even at 32. He stepped his game up, but because of his salary and the fact that he’s not a starter, he’s definitely trade bait.
3. Victor Abiamiri: Injuries gave him a late start so there's no opinion on the 2nd year player yet. Could possibly start and should be a 1st-2nd down option with his size.
4. Jaqua Parker: Good player, but this is a position the Eagles need to get a little younger at especially with him and Howard over 30 on the left side. If he stays, it's not the end of the world but he's good enough to attract a 3rd rounder in the draft if that option is presented. Possible replacement: Terrell Suggs(Ravens-hybrid LB/DE stud); If Julius Peppers(Panthers) is available, GO AFTER HIM!!
5. Chris Clemons: Initially wanted him cut asap, but he came alone at the end of the year. The Eagles can’t afford to get rid of him yet, honestly. Too much dead money.
6. Bryan Smith: Rookie prospect who hasn't been used much. Will probably be used more next season. Hope he bulked up.
DE Draft prospects:Phillip Hunt(Houston); Derek Walker(Illinois); Tim Jamison(Michigan)
1. Broderick Bunkley: Good defensive tackle who's only getting better. He was good early on when the Eagles were successful against the run. It seems like the D-Line gets worn down as the season goes on. Part of this may have been Klecko’s transition to FB.
2. Mike Patterson: Good first round pick, but he was probably worth a 2nd-3rd round pick. He's a replaceable option to me. The Eagles need a 330-350 stud to stop the run even better if a good one becomes available. I would seek to trade Patterson if that option becomes available. Possible replacement: Albert Haynesworth(Titans); Tank Johnson(Cowboys).
3. Trevor Laws: A younger, quicker and cheaper version of Mike Patterson. Will get better being that this is his rookie year.
DT Draft prospects: Dorell Scott(Clemson); Ron Brace(Boston College)
1. Omar Gaither: He had a bad few weeks, but like McNabb he should bounce back. Good football IQ, good against the run. Needs the offense to keep him off the field more and he'll be better(see B. Bunkley). He lost his starting job to Akeem Jordan down the stretch. They should keep him, but he’s possible trade bait.
2. Stewart Bradley: Future Pro Bowler. Keep him.
3. Chris Gocong: Suspect, especially in coverage against TEs and the Eagles need someone to cover that position in their division. The most replaceable of the starting LBs. Possible replacement: Karlos Dansby(Cardinals)
4. Akeem Jordan: He took Gaither’s starting spot, but I don’t think he’s the solution. Replaceable but at the same time worth keeping(A young Ike Reese type).
5. Joe Mays: Good backup in the middle and will get better. He needs to be on the field more in running situations. Keep him.
6. Torrance Daniels: WHO??? Cut him!!! Possible replacement: A late round pick
7. Tracy White: One, the Eagles only need 6 linebackers on the active roster. Two, special teams unit needs to be looked at an tweaked in a few spots. Cut Him!!
LB Draft prospects: Clint Sintim(Virginia); Anthony Felder(California)
1. Asante Samuel: A Pro-Bowl stud who's IQ can't be taught or coached. He stays, especially with the money invested in him.
2. Sheldon Brown: Good starter who may have talked himself off the team. The Eagles also need to get taller at the CB position. Probably will stay but you never know… Possible replacements: Nnamdi Asomugha(Raiders); Chris Gamble(Panthers); Dunta Robinson(Texans)
3. Lito Sheppard: Almost inevitable that this is his last season as an Eagle. Was worth a 2nd round pick, but probably will be traded for a 3rd rounder or WR considering his usage this season. Possible replacement: Welcome Jack Ikegwonu. Hopefully, you'll be the steal of the 2008 draft scouts projected you to be.
4. Joselio Hanson: Good at what he does and can play nickel or dime. RFA but probably will stay.
CB Draft prospects: Kevin Barnes(Maryland); Dominique Johnson(Jackson State); Keenan Lewis(Oregon St)
1. Brian Dawkins: Future Hall of Famer doesn't deserve to go out like this but he probably won't be back. If he is, his role will diminish on a 1-2 year contract. Will become a good position/defensive coach one day if interested. Possible replacement: Previously thought it should be the other 1st round pick or the 2nd round pick in 2009, but the Eagles have more important needs to fill. Possibly 2-3 round pick could be groomed. The best options(Taylor Mays-USC) opted to return to school for his senior year.
2. Quinten Demps: Great kickoff returner already. The problem to me is-if he's ballhawk on D the scouts considered him when he was drafted, why doesn't he replace Dawkins at FS in obvious passing situations?? Special teams star with upside on defense. He stays.
S Draft Prospects William Moore(Missouri); Courtney Greene(Rutgers): Louis Delmas(Western Michigan); Rashad Johnson(Alabama)
1. Quinten Mikell: A good starter, yet should be a backup if an improvement at the position is available. Possibly could make the Pro Bowl, but so did Michael Lewis.
2. Sean Considine: He can't cover, can't defend the run, can't contribute on special teams. The experiments need to stop. LET IT GO!! Cut him ASAP!!! Possible replacement: Dawan Landry(Ravens)
SS Draft Prospects: Patrick Chung(Oregon); Mike Hamlin(Clemson); Nic Harris(Oklahoma)
1. David Akers: His best years are behind him. He's lost confidence. He's become a liability beyond 45 yds. Saying that, he's still going to be hard to replace. Cut him only if a younger, stud, strong footed place kicker is available. Possible replacement: Mike Nugent(Jets)
K Draft prospects: Sam Swank(Wake Forest); Jose Martinez(UTEP)
1. Sav Rocca: Another experiment. He's had good days but not enough. If another talented punter becomes available he should be at least brought in to challenge Rocca for the position. Possible replacement: Shane Lechler(Raiders)
P Draft prospects: Kevin Huber(Cincinatti); Chris Miller(Ball State).
1. Jon Dorenbos: One roster spot should not be reserved for strictly long snapping in my opinion. Cut him. Possible replacement: They need someone who can long snap ON TOP OF their main position. Darren Howard is one of those people if he stays.
ON THE TEAM BUT NOT THE ACTIVE ROSTER THIS YEAR: JURY'S OUT!
1. King Dunlap-OT: Dunlap definitely has the size(6'8", 310 lbs) and ability, but there's a reason he was drafted in the 7th round. He could add a few pounds to his frame, as well. He'll be in training camp next year, after that is up to his desire. It would be a lot to expect him to fill William Thomas' shoes on the left side of the line, but he definitely should bring productive depth to the position.
2. Mike Gibson-OG: Gibson's future with the Eagles depends a lot on the production of the people in front of him at the position(Andrews, Herremans, and Jean-Giles). If one of them ends up leaving, then he has a good chance of making the squad, other than that he has an uphill battle and could be on the practice squad next year.
3. Jack Ikegwonu-CB: There's many reasons the pressure's on this 4th round pick, but I'll stick with the main two. One: He's a 4th round pick people feel would've been a 1st or 2nd round pick if he didn't get injured and in trouble with the law. Two: He's Lito's likely replacement so there's going to be big expectations there.
4. Willie Reid-WR: This former 3rd round pick(Steelers '06) was signed and placed on IR at the beginning of the regular season so the Eagles definitely have a plan for him. He's known for his punt returning, so I don't know where he'll fit in with DeSean Jackson handling that spot. Maybe if he's good enough, Jackson can focus more on learning the offense.
5. Shaheer McBride-WR: This guy looked alright to me in training camp and the preseason. I think the Eagles like him but have shown too much loyalty to players that should've been cut a long time ago. Hopefully he can take Greg Lewis' spot.
*Possible replacements are only based off those schedule to be UFA's after this season. It's also based on the likelihood that they won't be resigned after this year by their respective teams.
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