4 Moves the Eagles Should Have Made This Offseason
Question marks continue to exist on the team and could have been prevented with a few more free-agency moves or draft-day changes. Here are four moves the Eagles should have made this offseason.
1. Sign a Veteran Kicker
The Eagles brought in Carey Spear, nicknamed "Murderleg", to help push Alex Henery to improve. So far, it's been working, and per Bleeding Green Nation's Brandon Lee Gowton, Henery has risen to the occasion in practice, seemingly having a slight edge.
But still, practice is one thing; games are another. This is especially true for kickers, where performance under pressure is everything. Henery has consistently failed the Eagles in key situations in the past. The Eagles should have brought in not just competition, but also a potential improvement at his position.
Rob Bironas is still available. He is aging, being 36 years of age, but he is still a great kicker. He made 25 out of 29 field goals last season, going two out of three from beyond 50. The Tennessee Titans cut him for monetary reasons, not performance (he was owed $3.125 million).
Perhaps the Eagles are still evaluating their kicker situation. Bironas is currently a free agent, and it's not too late to bring him into training camp.
2. Retain Michael Vick
Michael Vick has stated that he believes Geno Smith will be the New York Jets' starting quarterback in Week 1. So far, that appears to be coming true, as Vick has struggled in minicamp, according to Dom Cosentino of the NJ.com.
Many fans assumed Vick's departure from Philly was to chase a starting job elsewhere. But if Vick seems settled on being a veteran backup, the Eagles should have been more aggressive in retaining him.
At 34 years old, Vick may be aging, but he likely knows Kelly's offense better than Mark Sanchez or Matt Barkley. And according to Cosentino, Vick has retained his athleticism and arm strength. He would still be a fit in Kelly's system.
If Nick Foles ends up missing a few games, Vick could have led the Eagles to a few wins in his absence. But now that he is in New York, the Eagles' backup quarterback play is uncertain.
3. Draft an Offensive Lineman
Now that Lane Johnson will apparently miss four games due to violating the league's substance-abuse policy, according to Martin Frank of USA Today, the Eagles' offensive line depth will be tested.
Even without the loss of Johnson, however, the Eagles did themselves a disservice by not selecting a single O-lineman in the 2014 draft. Three out of five starters on the O-line are above 30 years of age. The Eagles need to start preparing for the its long-term future.
The Eagles reached for outside linebacker Marcus Smith with the 26th overall pick. They could have nabbed Xavier Su'a-Filo, who is an excellent prospect at offensive guard. Su'a-Filo was taken by the Houston Texans instead and is expected to be a instant starter.
4. Obtain a Nose Tackle in Free Agency
The Eagles did address the nose tackle position in the seventh round, selecting Beau Allen, but they did not do much else to address the position.
Nose tackle will continue to be a gaping hole for the Eagles D-line, as Bennie Logan did not play poorly, but he was not a perfect fit in the 3-4. There were many options in free agency the Eagles could have taken if they were more aggressive.
Former New York Giant Linval Joseph is a run-stopper. The 323-pound defensive tackle is also only 25 years old and would have been an instant upgrade. Arthur Jones from the Baltimore Ravens also would have been an excellent choice, but the 337-pound defensive tackle was nabbed by the Indianapolis Colts.
Nose tackle will likely continue to be a question mark in 2014, and that will have repercussions on the pass defense, which struggled mightily in 2013.