So it's becoming apparent that Juan Castillo wasn't, in fact, the problem in Philadelphia. The Eagles have lost back-to-back games since firing their scapegoat defensive coordinator, and now Philly's season is on the brink.
With that being the case, it's widely believed that it's now only a matter of time before the overlapping Andy Reid and Michael Vick eras come to an end in the City of Brotherly Love. The bigger question now is whether Reid and Vick even survive the remainder of the season in their current roles.
Here's a look at where the dreary Eagles stand with 50 percent of the 2012 season in the books.
What They Should be Thinking
We're only a game-and-a-half out of a playoff spot and host key rival Dallas this week. We beat the Cowboys twice last year and they're in bad shape too, so a victory in front of the home crowd could spark another second-half run. Remember, we went 4-0 to finish the 2011 season, so maybe we're just the bizarro Giants and pick up steam late.
That said, we can't just hope and pray that's the case. We exhibited a complete lack of urgency and focus Monday night in New Orleans, and we have to make dramatic changes if we're going to suddenly compete with talented teams like Dallas, Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and the Giants in the second half of the year.
For starters, Reid and Marty Mornhinweg have to adjust the offensive approach to account for the fact that our pass protection is putrid and will only get worse with right tackle Todd Herremans likely to miss time. Vick has no awareness when it comes to detecting and reacting to pressure, so we're finally going to have to commit to actually utilizing the world's most talented decoy, LeSean McCoy.
We only have one game remaining against a team with a winning record, but we've lost two of the three games we've already played against teams with losing records this year. Right now, we're a bad team. But we have the talent, so if there are any suggestions among the coaches and players for how to gel as a team in desperation mode, we'll take 'em and use 'em.
Even if it goes against everything we believe, we'll start by making McCoy the centerpiece of the offense and—considering what's been happening to us on the ground and on screens of late—we'll be willing to ditch the wide-nine on defense.
Will these things work? Who knows. Couldn't hurt to try at this point.
Most Valuable Player: DeMeco Ryans
Many doubted him prior to the year, but Ryans has single-handedly made a tremendous impact on this front seven. He's currently rated as the fourth-best inside linebacker in the game by Pro Football Focus, who reports that he's only missed one tackle all season.
That's refreshing. Considering how consistent he's been and how much everyone else has lacked consistency on both sides of the ball, this is a no-brainer.
Offensive Player of the Half-Year: Evan Mathis
I can't even imagine how much worse things would be for this offense if Mathis wasn't once again having a Pro Bowl season at left guard. He's again rated as the top guard in the game by PFF, which justifies my decision to place him ahead of McCoy and DeSean Jackson in the battle for this meaningless award.
Most Improved Offensive Player of the Half-Year: King Dunlap
It's kind of sad that we're having to resort to using Dunlap here, considering that the monster-sized tackle has actually started only four games thus far. That said, he had fared very well on the left side before struggling quite a bit in New Orleans.
We'll see if that was just a bad game or if Dunlap has fallen back to earth.
Most Improved Defensive Player of the Half-Year: Brandon Graham
The Eagles are finally waking up and realizing that they must give Graham starter's snaps, because he's been the team's best pass rusher by a mile this season. This was his final year to avoid gaining the bust label, and he's come through in a big way.
Offensive Rookie of the Half-Year: N/A
Dennis Kelly hasn't done enough in a backup/spot-duty role to earn this award, and there's no one else who's played significant time. Not surprising considering how much of their focus was on defensive players in the draft.
Defensive Rookie of the Half-Year: Fletcher Cox
Mychal Kendricks has been quite a disappointment and Brandon Boykin has been inconsistent.
Cox has been a solid part of the defensive line rotation with a sack, seven pressures and 13 stops, which ranks third on the team, according to PFF.
Most Disappointing Player: Nnamdi Asomugha
He was supposed to be back to his superstar self this year, what with the Eagles defense returning to the basics with press-man coverage and all. But Asomugha's been beat more than ever this season. By all indications, he's declining steadily at the age of 31.
Projecting the Final Eight
Sorry, I just can't see this team even matching last year's 8-8 record. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they won five games or fewer and finished last in the NFC East. What a mess. This offseason will be very interesting.
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