Philadelphia Eagles: The Most Disappointing Eagles of the 2012 Season
Every year, we see teams with free agent busts. Those are players who don't live up to their hype and potential, who take a step back and those who simply just weren't good.
The Philadelphia Eagles had their fair share of players who strongly disappointed in 2012, some way more than others.
Overall, it was a tough season for all involved, but the following players in this slideshow really had a rough stretch in 2012.
Here now are the most disappointing Eagles from the 2012 season.
Right off the top, we have to look at Demetress Bell, arguably the biggest free agent flop in the entire NFL in 2012.
After Jason Peters ruptured his Achilles tendon twice last offseason, the Eagles were left scrambling for a left tackle to replace him after they had traded Winston Justice to the Indianapolis Colts.
What they thought they were getting was a top tackle, as Bell graded out as one the league's better left tackles in 2011, according to Pro Football Focus. Bell was given a five-year, $35 million contract.
What they got was a tackle who never grasped Howard Mudd's system and was benched in the preseason, being beaten out by King Dunlap who would end up starting Week 1. In fact, Bell was declared inactive for the opener against the Cleveland Browns.
It's no surprise the Eagles decided to release Bell Feb. 8, rather than pay him a ridiculous $8.5 million roster bonus.
At least Bell lasted the entire season. Jason Babin never made it to December as an Eagle, as he was released after the November 26 game against the Carolina Panthers.
After recording 18 sacks in 2011, Babin dropped opposing quarterbacks just 5.5 times in 11 games as an Eagle. After he was released by the Eagles, the Jacksonville Jaguars picked him up and Babin added 1.5 sacks in five games with the Jaguars, bringing his 2012 total to just seven sacks.
Babin looked lost against the run and his pass-rushing took a hit. As the season wore on, Babin started losing snaps to Brandon Graham, who clearly outperformed Babin. It was just another sign that the Wide 9 was a complete disaster in Philadelphia.
It was not a pretty year for the two big-name defensive ends in Philadelphia.
In terms of numbers, Cole had a down year as well, or at least based on what we've come to expect from him.
Cole only registered three sacks in 2012, his lowest total since his rookie season in 2005 when he recorded five sacks. However, it had been reported that Cole underwent hand surgery last week (per USA Today's Mike Garafolo), so it's fair to think he was hampered by that. He also wasn't working in the Wide 9, either. That's yet another reason why Washburn was shown the door before the season ended.
The Eagles can only hope that the hand and the Wide 9 were only to blame for Cole's down year, and not the fact that Cole is 30 years old. We'll see how Cole responds, as he likely will be asked to play outside linebacker in the Eagles' new 3-4 scheme.
Mike Mamula comes to mind when thinking of the Eagles' biggest draft busts. Danny Watkins is slowly creeping up that list.
The 2011 first-round pick struggled all throughout 2012, eventually losing his starting spot to Jake Scott whom the Eagles plucked from the streets in the middle of the season. Even Sheil Kapadia of phillymag.com brought up the question of whether Watkins will even stay on this team with the arrival of Chip Kelly.
According to EaglesCap.com, the Eagles would be on the hook for $2.15M if they cut Watkins before next season. The question is no longer: Will he live up to the expectations of a first-round pick? It is now: What role can he play on your roster? Perhaps Chip Kelly thinks Watkins is still salvageable. Maybe he’ll peg him as a backup. Or maybe he’ll get rid of him altogether.
-Sheil Kapadia, phillymag.com
As bad as the defensive ends were up until Washburn got the boot, the secondary looked even worse, particularly the household names at cornerback.
Asomugha certainly has not been what the Eagles were hoping for when they signed him as a free agent after the 2011 lockout.
Has it been the scheme? Maybe. But Asomugha is coming off arguably the worst the season of his career, and at 32, could be headed on a bit of a downhill slide. He only had one interception and got burned by receivers a lot throughout the year.
Pro Football Focus ranked the former Raider as the 101st-best cornerback in 2012.
Asomugha is due $15 million in 2013, so the question becomes this: do the Eagles move on from him or take one more shot under a new defensive coordinator?
It wasn't much better for the man opposite Asomugha in 2012.
The Eagles' two prized cornerback acquisitions in 2011 have combined for just seven interceptions. To put that in perspective, three defensive backs had more interceptions in 2012: Tim Jennings had nine for the Bears, Stevie Brown and Richard Sherman had eight each for the Giants and Seahawks, respectively. Even Arizona's Patrick Peterson had seven in 2012.
Rodgers-Cromartie did have three of his own in 2012, which are his only three as an Eagle so far after putting up a goose egg in that department in 2011.
And if you look at Pro Football Focus' cornerback rankings, it really wasn't much better for DRC, as he was only three spots higher than Asomugha, coming in at No. 98.
Unlike Aosmugha, Rodgers-Cromartie is now a free agent, so the Eagles must decide whether or not they are going to bring back one or the other, or both.
Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman
Boy, you talk about the cornerbacks being bad, what about those safeties?
It's a fair argument to say no group of players played worse than the safeties.
Nate Allen battled injuries and could never get back to his 2010 form—you have to wonder if he ever will again—and Coleman just looked flat-out awful, getting burned every chance he got.
A good example is from the Week 12 Monday night contest against the Panthers in which Brandon LaFell just burned everyone and was left wide open for a touchdown in a game the Eagles would go on to lose.
It's pretty obvious that safety is a major need this offseason after the Eagles flopped on Jaiquawn Jarrett, Colt Anderson being a free agent and more of a special teams player, and Allen and Coleman both entering contract years.
What do you guys think? Who are your biggest disappointments from this past season? Share your thoughts in the comments thread.