Creating the Perfect Offseason Plan for the Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles fans need to get through just one more game for this nightmarish season to finally be over. Then It will be time to rebuild, and it is always exciting to see what offseason moves rebuilding teams make to try to improve.
The front office has many tough decisions to make. What will they do with players like Michael Vick or Jason Peters? Who will they grab in the draft? Which coach will they choose to lead them into a new era?
Anything can happen, but the following moves would be the most ideal situation for the Eagles:
1. Do Not Draft a Quarterback in the First Round. Give Foles a Full Offseason
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Some fans are sold on Nick Foles, others are not. The same can likely be said for the coaching staff, although that may not matter if the Eagles clean house after this season.
In either case, however, the Eagles have little choice but to stick with Foles if they know what is best for the team's long-term success. This year's quarterback class is seemingly devoid of franchise quarterbacks so drafting a quarterback would be a huge risk.
That is not to say that Foles should be handed the starting job on a silver platter. But now that the team has seen him in game action in 2012, it can better understand and address his weaknesses.
Ultimately, he should be given at least a fair chance to learn the playbook and build chemistry with his receivers.
2. Acquire a Good Backup Quarterback Either in Free Agency or in Later Rounds
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Unless you are blessed with an elite pocket passer with a quick release, a good backup quarterback is needed to win in the NFL. Just as Kevin Kolb and A.J. Feeley were excellent filling in for the injured Donovan McNabbs and Michael Vicks, Foles will need a good backup in case he should miss any games.
Nevertheless, a good backup doesn't just have to provide injury insurance. Just like the Seahawks clearly made the right decision by abandoning their plan with Matt Flynn and choosing Russell Wilson instead, the Eagles should also go with whoever seems like the clear option after training camp.
The Eagles should acquire a player who has proven he can win games. Colt McCoy would be a good fit. Alex Smith even is an option if the Eagles want to push Foles in training camp. After all, a little friendly competition never hurt anyone.
3. Draft Manti Te'o Even If It Means Trading Up
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The Eagles are poised to have a top five draft pick in the upcoming draft. Using it to upgrade their completely depleted O-Line would make sense, but the right course of action is to draft more on talent than need.
The O-Line is weak to say the least, but Jason Peters returning should improve the left side. In addition, Jason Kelce was one of the better centers in the league before he was lost for the season. Most importantly, there is no lineman they could draft who would be equal to Te'o in terms of talent and potential.
If the Eagles selected Te'o, it would be a huge step towards rebuilding the defense. The Eagles would have one of the best linebacker corps in the NFL, one that would rival even the 49ers. Drafting Te'o would make running against this team a difficult task.
4. Keep Jeremy Maclin, Jason Peters, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
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Equally as important as figuring out who to add to the roster for a rebuilding team is figuring out who to retain. If the Eagles cut or trade anyone, Maclin, Rodgers-Cromartie, and Peters should not be in those discussions.
Some would argue that Maclin and DeSean Jackson are too similar in playing style, both being speedsters who are unable to go over the middle consistently. But Maclin's speed is an excellent complement to DeSean's. Both players combined in 2010 to give the Eagles one of the most explosive offenses in the league. With the right coaching staff and quarterback, Maclin could be magical once again in 2013 and beyond.
DRC may not have played up to expectations, but he was, for the most part, the best player in the secondary. He did not make every tackle, but he was able to keep up with most players at least. He is young and has too much talent to be let go.
Peters is also worth keeping rather than letting go. With his current age and injury history, the Eagles would not get a strong return for him. Taking a chance on Peters and, in the process, trying to stabilize the struggling O-Line makes the most sense.
5. Avoid Jon Gruden and Rob Ryan
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In times such as these, the Eagles need a stabilizing force. That could mean a coach who has many years of experience, such as Bill Cowher. Or it could mean a college coach who brings in a fresh scheme and philosophy, such as Chip Kelly.
The last thing the Eagles need is a circus.
Unfortunately, that is what Jon Gruden and Rob Ryan would bring.
Gruden may have won a Super Bowl, but he did so by inheriting all of Tony Dungy's team and then having the luck to face Donovan McNabb and Rich Gannon in the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl. Other than that, Gruden's career has been filled with inconsistency and a frequent inability to get along with his players.
Rob Ryan, being a member of the Ryan family, would likely be not much different than his brother Rex. He would be a player's coach and very likeable for one or two seasons. But his teams would lack the discipline and respect to consistently be a top-tier ball club.
The Eagles should avoid these two coaches like the plague. Picking the right coach could make all the difference in the team's ability to rebound quickly—and these two are not the answer.