Philadelphia Eagles Are Closer to the Super Bowl Than It Appears
Filled with holes and vermin who couldn't play football, the Philadelphia Eagles roster looked more like Whack-a-Mole game than an NFL team.
The offensive line was inconsistent at best and the entire defense was nothing more than a sieve.
The Eagles desperately need a guard, a defensive end to complement Trent Cole, a new linebacker corps, a capable cornerback opposite of Asante Samuel and a defensive coordinator.
And those are just the current needs.
What are they going to do if Quintin Mikell leaves, Winston Justice regresses and DeSean Jackson pouts?
It's pretty clear the Eagles are not in the most advantageous situation heading into the 2011 season, which might not even happen.
But let's assume for a minute there is football next year.
Are the Eagles doomed to mediocrity? Will all of these problems prevent them from making the playoffs? Or better yet, can they somehow find a way to be a Super Bowl contended?
Despite everything going on, the Eagles are not in an insurmountable situation.
The beauty of the NFL is how ugly it is.
Right now every team in the NFC has huge holes, including the Green Bay Packers.
Teams are no longer built with perfection in mind. They are created to have as few weaknesses as possible and then you pray to avoid certain matchups in the playoffs.
The Chicago Bears are a perfect example.
They appeared to be fraudulent team the entire season and yet somehow managed to navigate their way to the NFC Championship only to have their weakness at quarterback and offensive line exposed by Green Bay.
With so many average teams clogging up the NFC, the Eagles should still make the playoffs even if they don't address every need this offseason.
Take a look at the entire NFC East.
Dallas basically shot themselves in the foot when they signed Jason Garrett as head coach. Everyone in Jerry World is gung ho because the Cowboys went 5-3 under the interim head coach.
Maybe they don't want to acknowledge two of those wins came against the Rex Grossman-led Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles' reserves. And how about losing to the Arizona Cardinals?
The Giants will continue to flounder late in the season with the deadly combo of Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning. Actually, we're assuming they make it that far.
Giants fans will probably be calling for Bill Cowher around Week 5 while Manning does his little shoulder shrug after throwing his 10th pick of the season.
And with Daniel Snyder constantly getting in the way, the Redskins will continue to rot like a dead fish from the head down.
But winning division titles and making playoff appearances is no longer acceptable.
The Eagles need to address the most important needs and then hope for the best possible matchups in the playoffs.
Who they play in the postseason is out of their control, but the positions to address are in the hands of Andy Reid. And to understand what positions should take top priority Reid only needs to look at the other teams in the playoffs.
Try to think back to the Jets and Patriots game in the playoffs.
Rex Ryan only rushed three or four players and let Tom Brady sit in the pocket all day. It felt like a matter of time before Brady was going to find the open receiver and pick the Jets apart. It never happened.
The Jets blanketed the receivers and the defensive line eventually got to the Golden Boy.
There were no blitzes, or incredibly creative schemes.
Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis spearheaded a defensive effort that snapped New England's combined eight-game winning streak and 30-point performances.
If the Eagles are able to find a cornerback who can actually compliment Samuel it won't matter who plays at defensive end. Such a player exists in Nnamdi Asomugha.
To realize the other position in desperate need of an upgrade you need to look no further than the Super Bowl mathcup between the Steelers and Packers.
Each team has a handful of linebackers who not only play the position well, but can change the momentum of the game on any given play.
Pittsburgh's linebackers include James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons, James Farrior and LaMarr Woodley.
Green Bay isn't too far off with their linebackers as they boast Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk, Desmond Bishop and Erik Walden.
Meanwhile Reid doesn't put much stock in the position and it shows. If everyone were healthy the Eagles would most likely start Stewart Bradley, Moise Foku and Ernie Sims.
Pick your poison with that crew.
You can run it right down their throats or throw it over their heads.
Linebackers that have a chance to hit the 2011 market include Minnesota's Chad Greenway, Pittsburgh's Woodley, Kansas City's Tamba Hali and Carolina's James Anderson.
Some of these players could be hit with a franchise tag if one exists and others may not fit the system of the next defensive coordinator.
But as it stands now they Eagles should jump at the opportunity to sign any of those players regardless of scheme because what they currently have is a pathetic embarrassment.
By filling those two needs the Eagles will still have voids in the roster, but they immediately become a better team. And if the matchups fall in their favor they can be thinking about the Super Bowl next year.
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