For the Eagles, it's usually the fans hitting the panic button around this time of year. However, Andy Reid has finally succumbed to the chaos by firing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. No one's job is truly safe anymore as Reid attempts to dump buckets of water overboard and take this team to the playoffs.
In his press conference following the firing of Castillo, Reid proclaimed that changes are very possible as he continues to evaluate the team:
Please understand this: please understand that offense, defense and special teams right now, we need to get better. I'm going to continue to work through that and it's my responsibility to do that. I'm just bringing this to you because this is what's happened so far. I'm not going to tell you anything's going to happen past this or that it will [not] happen; I'm not telling you that. But this is what's happened so far.
The obvious use of "this is what's happened so far" is a far cry from the business-as-usual Reid we've been accustomed to.
So with Reid hinting that serious changes are coming, I figure it's time to take a look into the crystal water cooler and see what the future might hold for the Eagles personnel against Atlanta and beyond.
Steve Vallos Starting Over Dallas Reynolds
With the Eagles struggling to hold the ball as it is, there's no room for issues in one of the simplest functions of the game: the QB-center exchange. Vallos was with the team through the preseason and will likely get his chance to prove that he can play.
King Dunlap in for Demetress Bell
Dunlap should be fully recovered from his hamstring issue after the bye and will get a shot to maintain the left tackle position again. He has been a serviceable spot starter, and obviously the current line isn't effective.
DeSean Jackson Returning More Punts
Just as Percy Harvin is returning kicks for the Vikings, expect the Eagles to use Jackson on special teams in an effort to give the offense a boost with field position. Jackson has been fantastic so far this year and, if he had a few more touchdowns, would be a serious Pro Bowl candidate. They'll want to maximize his skills.
Trent Edwards Takes a Few First Team Snaps at Practice
Take a deep breath before getting either giddy with joy or furious about this idea. Consider this move as a page out of the Rex Ryan handbook. It's purely motivational.
Vick hasn't warranted a benching. He's noticeably improved in his accuracy, his reads and his time in the pocket. Also, given the faulty nature of the offensive line, Vick's legs make him the best option at the position. To place Nick Foles in the game limits the complexity of the offense and provides defenses with more opportunities to create confusion, which leads to turnovers. Trent Edwards has been a starter in this league and performed admirably in the preseason. He was also activated earlier this season for a game to motivate Vick.
Reid would much rather place another veteran into the game than risk his job with a rookie. So, while Foles may have long-term potential, it's not what matters to Reid at the moment.
Eagles Move Dion Lewis
The Eagles have four running backs, activate three of them every week, and always leave Dion Lewis in street clothes. He's never demonstrated any significance as a returner and is a luxury that Reid may no longer want to afford. If Lewis goes, expect the Eagles to sign someone like Chris Williams. This would give them an opportunity to place someone on the roster who can learn the system for a week or two from the sideline.
The Flea Flicker!
This was a play the Eagles used very effectively in years past; however, it has been non-existent the past few years. With this team looking for answers, consider this blast from the past as a real possibility. In part, this has to do with my next point, which is...
Andy Taking Over Play-Calling
While people have suggested the Eagles fire Marty Mornhinweg, the move would be essentially like asking a Siamese twin to move out. It just doesn't work. Mornhinweg is simply an extension of Reid's philosophy. Instead, Reid will do to Marty what he did to himself a few years ago and take control of play-calling again.
A Look at Plaxico Burress
The Eagles have been associated with Plaxico in the past and, despite miserable special teams, could bring him in as a red-zone specialist. The Eagles offense is 11th in yards per game and 31st in points scored. While this move may not happen for another few weeks, something needs to change offensively.
Let me know what you think of these ideas or add one of your own in the comment section and I'll be sure to get back to you on it!