Philadelphia Eagles: Plaxico Burress and the 6 Possible Additions to the Offense
The Philadelphia Eagles will undoubtedly have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL again in 2011. The addition of Michael Vick to the starting lineup has opened up so many options for the Eagles skill players.
LeSean McCoy had his first of many 1,000 yard rushing seasons and Jeremy Maclin had double-digit touchdown receptions. Opposing defenses must key on Vick and that only makes his surrounding cast more dangerous.
With speed everywhere on the field, most of the focus has been on the atrocious Philadelphia Eagles defense. The Eagles had the worst percentage inside the red-zone of any team in the last 25 years.
Speculation has been made almost daily about Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin and other top free agents who could make an instant impact on the Eagles defense. What about the offense? Sure they were third in the NFL in PPG at 27.4, but they also went stagnant at times down the stretch.
So let's take a realistic look at players the Eagles could sign if the lockout is lifted.
What additions could be made to the offense? Philadelphia is starving for their first Super Bowl and all avenues must be explored to field the best team possible. The Eagles owe that much to the "most loyal fans in sports" according to Forbes Magazine.
Here are six possible additions to the Philadelphia Eagles offense in 2011.
1- Plaxico Burress
Plaxico Burress has already stated that he would like to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. Many Eagles, including Michael Vick, have openly stated that the addition of Burress would mean great things for the offense.
"But the Eagles already have Riley Cooper and don't need another wide receiver." The Eagles offense has been historically bad under Andy Reid inside the red-zone. Reid has shown time and time again that he will not run the ball consistently, no matter where the ball lies on the field.
If there is one thing that Plaxico Burress could (can?) do better than almost anyone else in the NFL is catch a jump-ball. All accounts have stated that Burress is in terrific shape after being imprisoned for two years, and adding a 6'5", 230 lb. receiver would only enhance this offense.
In 2010, the Eagles relied far too heavily on the big play. In fact, if one of Philadelphia's playmakers were caught inside the 20, you almost had the feeling that they were only getting three points out of that drive.
In Burress' stellar nine year career, he has averaged 15.5 YPC. He had back-to-back seasons of double-digit touchdown catches with the Giants in 2006 and 2007.
A wide-receiving corps that included Jackson, Maclin, Burress, Avant and Cooper would be one of the most exciting and dynamic pass-catching tandems of all time.
Jackson and Maclin are obviously the speed receivers who can score anytime they touch the ball. Avant is the prototypical possession receiver, with sure hands and the heart to go over the middle. Burress is the red-zone target and Cooper can do all of the above. Kind of a jack of all trades, master of none?
The one thing the Eagles do have is money to spend, and they can not let that get in the way of potentially one of the greatest wide-receiving corps (offenses?) in NFL history.
2- Jared Gaither
Yes, that is Jared Gaither towering over big Joe Flacco. Gaither stands at an astounding 6'9" and weighs in around 325 lbs.
But that's no King Dunlap, not even close. Gaither's absence in 2010 made a huge difference to the Baltimore Ravens, and would be a huge difference for the Philadelphia Eagles.
How good is Gaither? In 2008, Gaither started 15 games for the run-heavy Baltimore Ravens. Teams expected them to run, and they still were able to rack up 2,376 rushing yards. He's pretty solid in pass-protection as well, as the Ravens allowed the second fewest sacks in franchise history.
In 2009, Ray Rice had over 2,000 total yards and Gaither was a "huge" reason why. No Gaither in 2010 meant a struggling Ravens offense.
The Eagles signed Jason Peters to a huge contract with the belief that he would be protecting Kevin Kolb's (and McNabb's) blindside. Since Michael Vick is left-handed, the right-tackle position needs to become a priority for Philadelphia.
The Eagles addressed the right guard position in the draft and now they must address the right tackle spot. The offensive line was a bit, well offensive, as they allowed 38 sacks in 2010.
Gaither and Peters anchoring the outside, Watkins and Herremans at guard and a healthy Jamaal Jackson at center, would give the Eagles one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
Too bad Andy Reid chooses not to run the ball or this might be a good idea...
3- Vonta Leach
According to a league source, Leonard Weaver's career may be over. He has undergone his third surgery since his devastating knee injury in last year's season opener against the Packers.
The signing of Weaver was a surprise to many Eagle's fans as Andy Reid has never consistently run the ball,or used the fullback in his schemes. Weaver showed that a fullback has a real place in this offense as he made the Pro-Bowl and was another game-breaker that the defense had to account for.
With Michael Vick at the helm, the Eagles do not need a playmaker at the fullback position (even though it never hurts) as much as they need a blocker.
Vonta Leach would fill that role nicely. He was the lead blocker for Arian Foster. Yes, the same Arian Foster who came out of nowhere to lead the league in rushing.
Leach is a tremendous blocker who can catch the ball out of the backfield. Leach would be an under the radar pickup that could make a huge difference on this team.
Protect Vick at all costs or this season will go down the drain faster then a cheeseburger in front of Andy Reid.
4- Leon Washington
Leon Washington would be a great free agent pickup by the Eagles this offseason. Eldra Buckley seems like a nice enough guy, but do you really feel comfortable with him as the Eagles backup running back?
It seems fairly certain that the Eagles will allow Jerome Harrison to walk, which isn't a bad thing considering they didn't even give him a chance to run. Washington can spell McCoy when needed, catch the ball extremely well and also be a solid return man for the Eagles.
I know Philadelphia may be against this signing because it would spell the end for the beloved Jorrick Colvin.
5- Jeff King
Jeff King would be a very affordable option as a backup tight-end that could make a big splash on this team. King is big and athletic and would be an upgrade over Clay Harbor at this point in each player's career.
King is a solid blocker that would allow for Brent Celek to make plays down the field like he did in 2009.
6- Mike Kafka
One part of me really wants Mike Kafka to play a bigger role in the Eagles offense in 2011 and another part of me does not.
Here me out on this one. If Kafka plays a larger role in the offense, that would likely mean that the Eagles have traded Kevin Kolb and were compensated with a nice draft pick. On the other hand, Kafka playing a larger role in the offense might suggest that Michael Vick got injured.
Let's just say the Eagles are 15-0 and Kafka gets to start a game as the Eagles rest their starters and prepare for the playoffs. Yeah, let's go with that.