How Do the Philadelphia Eagles Fit into the NFL Playoff Picture?
Of course, the Eagles are most likely done for the 2012 season. In the absolute best-case scenario, the Eagles will run the table, the Giants will lose at least three more games and the Cowboys will lose at least two more.
You could feel safe betting on that not happening.
At this point, making the playoffs should be the lowest on the Eagles’ list of concerns, and not getting embarrassed the rest of the way out should be No. 1.
A lot would need to happen for the Birds to earn a postseason berth. A lot of pieces of the NFC East puzzle would have to fall into place, but the Eagles don’t even have a picture of the puzzle.
Nick Foles, who was underwhelming in his professional debut, would have to play the best football ever seen from a Philadelphia Eagles QB for seven consecutive games. Considering the turnovers he committed during the Eagles’ most recent loss to the Cowboys, the Eagles’ offensive line woes and the fact that the team looks like they may have quit, Foles probably won’t be able to accomplish much of anything with the remainder of the season.
I don’t mean to say that Foles doesn’t have potential, or that he should be condemned after the small sample we saw from him against the Cowboys. However, I do mean to say that he didn’t come off the bench and ascend to the ranks of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. It’s safe to say that judging by his performance in his debut, Michael Vick was the right guy all along.
It was exciting to see Foles hit a wide-open Jeremy Maclin for a 44-yard touchdown. But at the same time, that TD needs to be kept in perspective. Anyone who can throw 44 yards could have completed that pass to Maclin.
What kind of approach should the next head coach have?
Furthermore, the Eagles’ offensive line would have to pull off one of the most miraculous demonstrations of coming together—more miraculous than the team from Remember the Titans—and succeed as a unit. Unfortunately, the talent just isn’t there for that.
Brent Celek would have to start holding on to balls thrown his way. The defensive line would have to start pressuring and sacking the opposing QB on a consistent basis to take some pressure off the secondary. The defense as a unit would have to stop missing tackles. Oh, and LeSean McCoy would have to get the ball a lot more.
Miracles would have to happen for the Eagles to even put themselves back in the NFC playoff conversation. Not just one miracle, but several.
In the end, the best thing a fan can do is take a look at every player who has potential and analyze how they perform while they play out the schedule to see who should be back next season, and who the team can commit to in the long run. Those are guys like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Mychal Kendricks, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Clay Harbor and LeSean McCoy. That’s not to say we should disregard the veterans. But we know who most of them are and what they have left.
Also, fans should keep their eyes around the NFL on any teams that are exceeding expectations or who have sustained themselves among the NFL’s elite on both sides of the ball. Do this and familiarize yourself with those coordinators. Guys like Tom Clements and his defensive co-worker Winston Moss, Perry Fewell and fan-favorite Ray Horton are excellent head coach candidates.
What kind of player should the Eagles target in the draft?
Remember, coaching makes all the difference in the NFL. Case in point: Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers' complete 180, and the outstanding job Wade Phillips has done with the Houston Texans’ defense.
As far as 2012 is concerned, it’s always a good thing to have faith. However, one needs to be realistic about expectations and what’s doable. Unfortunately for the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans, they do not fit into the NFC playoff picture.
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