3 Things the Philadelphia Eagles Must Change for 2013
With the Philadelphia Eagles currently sitting at 4-10, it's safe to say there isn't a whole lot going right this season. Clearly there are several things the team must do differently in 2013 in order to be successful, but since I don't have the patience or resources to write an entire book, focusing on just three seemed like the way to go.
From top to bottom, left to right, side to side and every other direction Willy Wonka's elevator can travel, the 2012 Eagles have been an absolute catastrophe. Nearly everything that could go wrong has taken place in extraordinary—and often predictable—fashion.
However, on the bright side, there is a lot of talent on the roster and a ton of potential to go along with it. With the right tweaks here and there, the 2013 version of the Eagles can be very competitive right from the start.
Fire Howie Roseman and a Few Coaches
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I know I'm in the minority here, but on the list of coaches I would fire, Andy Reid does not show up.
And if you're done yelling at me and calling me several awful names that would likely make me cry and have stuck around to even read this sentence, I'll continue.
Thanks, by the way.
While Reid has certainly had a bad season, I do not believe he has lost the team nor do I think there is someone available who could turn the team around more quickly than Reid. He knows how to win, he knows these players and the guys are 100 percent loyal to him.
Bringing in another coach might sound like an easy fix, but this isn't Madden. The coach must be able to communicate with the players in order to get the best out of them, and I believe Reid is the man for the job for the foreseeable future.
I'm not one to make excuses for poor performance, but just how productive would you be at the office after your son dies right before work starts? Oh, he just happened to die at your place of work, as well.
Personal tragedy on top of the incredible amount of injuries and Reid's past performance would lead me, were I Jeffrey Lurie, to bring Reid back for the next season.
So, who would I fire?
Howie Roseman, Marty Mornhinweg, Bobby April, Todd Bowles, Mike Caldwell and Howard Mudd.
Bowles just interviewed for Temple's head coaching job, so he might be gone voluntarily. Also gone voluntarily is Mudd, who has said he will retire following the season anyway.
That leaves Roseman, Mornhinweg, April and Caldwell on the chopping block.
Without getting too long-winded in explanation, I believe Roseman has taken on too much of the Danny Snyder-mentality behind building a team. And make no mistake, Roseman has been calling the shots for at least the past two years.
If you can watch Marty Mornhinweg call plays and not want him fired, you're not a person I want to know.
April doesn't strike me as a bad coach, and I believe he is in a no-win situation on a team which does not value special teams players. Still, he hasn't made the unit any better since he's gotten here and doesn't seem capable of plugging even the smallest holes anymore.
Caldwell is one that probably will cause some confusion—not just because his name hasn't been mentioned much, but because several fans likely don't even know his responsibilities on the coaching staff (he's the linebackers coach, by the way).
Caldwell was a decent linebacker in his day, but under his watch, we've seen Jamar Chaney take a step back and force a trade for a starting middle linebacker, Casey Matthews still can't play, Keenan Clayton never even saw any real time on defense, Brian Rolle couldn't make it all the way through his second season and Mychal Kendricks has regressed since the start of the season.
Significantly Cut Down on Turnovers and Increase Takeaways
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If asked to single out one problem for the Eagles in 2012, my response would be the turnover margin. The Eagles have handed the ball over too many times and have taken it away too few times.
At this point, the actual numbers are just comical.
After the Thursday night loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Eagles have given the ball away 34 times and taken it only 12.
Turnover margin is the best barometer of a team, and it definitely tells the story of the 2012 Eagles.
Turnovers have completely derailed good drives and even good games. Missed opportunities on defense have bailed out opposing teams and put the Eagles in a hole from which they could not recover at several points this season.
The Eagles need to hold on to the ball and make the other team drop the ball.
It's really not that difficult, is it?
Better Leadership and Show of Personal Responsibility from the Players
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Quick, who is the leader of Philadelphia's offense and defense, respectively?
Odds are good that you chose DeMeco Ryans for the defense and stumbled over who you'd pick for the offensive leader.
That's not good.
The offense doesn't really have a guy who will pound on his chest and get the guys to rally around him, which leads to a sloppy showing more often than not. Michael Vick, it seemed, tried to be that guy, but he was so busy running for his life all season that self-preservation was really priority number one.
Jason Peters could be a guy like that, but he doesn't seem the vocal type and was unavailable all season.
Ryans does seem to have leadership qualities, but a brand new acquisition likely shouldn't be the go-to guy. Perhaps that won't be an issue next season, but Ryans seems like more of a "lead-by-example" type of guy. Not to say there's anything wrong with that, but when a team is lacking chemistry, it certainly doesn't hurt to have a guy who doesn't mind getting in someone's face now and then.
As odd as it might sound, Asante Samuel was probably the guy filling that role over the past few seasons. Now that he's gone, things are real quiet on the defensive side of the ball in nearly every sense of the word.
Nick Foles might be able to lead the offense, but there's just no way to know yet.
In the same vein, there doesn't seem to be a lot of guys jumping at the chance to take responsibility for the poor play on the field. Guys just want to gloss over the fact that the team is losing and talk about how much talent they have.
Andy Reid is always quick to take the blame. It's become a long-running joke in Philly, but Reid will always take the heat for a loss and would likely literally throw himself under a bus before figuratively doing it to a player.
That's a big reason the players love him, but that gesture is only properly rewarded when the players are then capable and willing to understand they've let their coach down. Instead, this group of guys convince themselves there's nothing wrong with the way they're playing, they're just catching some bad breaks.
In the past, Reid has not allowed such complacency. I hate speculating into someone else's mindset, but it appears Reid's own family tragedy caused him to soften up a bit this season. He finally is coming around by firing Jim Washburn and cutting Jason Babin, two of the worst offenders, but it took too long, and the damage on the season has already been done.
If that mindset does not change for next season, Philly will once again find themselves in the cellar.