This season ended in familiar fashion: disappointment.
For a while the Eagles looked like they might have what it takes to bring home the big one. Unfortunately, they didn't.
This article is going to show the positives and negatives of this season.
Jackson had a breakout season this year. He showed everyone that he should have been a first-round pick. Week in and week out he was burning corners and DBs for touchdowns. He became just the third Eagles receiver this decade to go over 1,000 yards receiving on the year (the other two were Terrell Owens in '04 and Kevin Curtis in '07). He also was a dynamic punt returner. He made the pro bowl at both punt returner and wide receiver.
Jackson's stats speak for themselves: 63 receptions for 1,156 yards and nine touchdowns.
And the best part, he may not have reached his full potential yet.
To put it simply, he is everything L.J. Smith wasn't. Brent Celek emerged as one of the league's top tight ends this year. He gave Donovan McNabb a big target to throw to. He was a great weapon for Don in the red zone.
Brent finished the year with 76 receptions for 971 yards and eight touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Brent was snubbed by pro bowl voters.
The signing of Leonard Weaver went pretty much unnoticed during the offseason. What a great signing he turned out to be!
Weaver filled a massive gap at fullback for the Birds. They had tried an assortment of guys at fullback including running backs Tony Hunt and Kyle Eckel and defensive tackle Dan Klecko. None of them panned out.
Weaver had 70 carries for 323 yard and two touchdowns (all career highs). He also had 15 receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
Weaver was a pro bowl selection. He also made the AP all-pro team.
- Jeremy Maclin
- Trent Cole
- LeSean McCoy
Donovan McNabb in Playoffs
McNabb looked awful in the playoffs. He was consistently hitting his favorite target (the ground). He was missing wide-open receivers. It was inexcusable.
As soon as the going got tough, McNabb quit. From what I saw, he gave up. He knew that he was going to lose so he took himself out of the game. I watched in disgust as the Eagles were dismantled by the Cowboys.
I’m ready to see a change at quarterback. The Eagles have developed Kevin Kolb over the years. It is time for him to get his chance to start.
The Safety Position
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott tried multiple people at free safety this year. Quinten Demps, Macho Harris, and Sean Jones all tried to fill the void left by Brian Dawkins. They all failed.
Demps tackles without wrapping (Asante style), Harris seemed uncomfortable at safety (he played CB in college), and Sean Jones is just meant to be a strong safety.
Look for the Eagles to draft a safety (Taylor Mays comes to mind) in this year's draft.
The Linebacking Core
It is very hard to replace a middle linebacker like Stewart Bradley. The Eagles proved that. They started six different players at MLB this year. They even brought back Jeremiah Trotter for crying out loud!
The linebackers looked really bad this year. It is clear that, like wide receiver, the Eagles don't take this position seriously.
There are some intriguing free agent linebackers available this offseason. Shawne Merriman, Barrett Ruud, Karlos Dansby, DeMeco Ryans, Kirk Morrison, Thomas Davis, D'Qwell Jackson, and Thomas Howard are all unrestricted free agents if I'm not mistaken.
Left Side Defensive End
Trent Cole is a force. We all know that. However, he can’t beat a double-team every snap. That is what he is ending up having to do. Teams double-team Cole and the Eagles have no one on the other side to pressure the quarterback.
The rotation the Eagles are using is a nice idea, but it isn’t 100 percent effective. Darren Howard and Juqua Parker are nice guys to have on your roster, but if the Eagles want to blitz as often as they do, they need another top-flight pass rusher. If Julius Peppers somehow makes it to free agency, the Eagles should absolutely pursue him. He could be that extra boost that the Eagles defense needs.
It was a disappointing season in my opinion. I feel that if the Eagles had a better defense they may have been able to go a bit farther in the playoffs. However, that is a pretty big if. It would have been nice to see the Birds beat the Cowboys, but there is nothing I can do about that. Right now it is time to look ahead to next season, one that will probably be filled with change.