Jets vs. Eagles: 5 Players Who Can Keep Their Jobs with Strong Endings to Season
The extreme amount of hype that came into the Philadelphia Eagles 2011 season has long faded and been replace with doubt for just about every single player, coach and front office executive.
Michael Vick has gone from MVP to turnover machine, DeSean Jackson has given the Eagles little reason to sign him to a superstar like deal and every safety and linebacker has looked replaceable this season.
Last week's 26-10 road victory over the Dolphins proved otherwise however. Several players who could either be demoted, replaced or let go next season stepped up in a big way last Sunday in Miami. The final three weeks will be an ever bigger test several Eagles who need to step up to save their jobs.
This week the Eagles welcome the New York Jets into town as they are fighting for the last wildcard spot in the AFC. They follow that up with two straight divisional games against the Cowboys and Redskins.
If the Eagles play well through the final three games it will give fans plenty to look forward to in 2012. If these five players play well, it could very well save their starting jobs for next season.
1. Michael Vick
Let's be clear, Michael Vick is still the Eagle' franchise quarterback. They have way too much money to give up on him right now. Having said that, 15 turnovers through 10 starts and just one mistake-free game all season is not what you want from your quarterback.
Vick's numbers are way down from last season when he had over 3,600 total yards, 30 touchdowns and just nine turnovers in 11 starts. This season through 10 starts, he has just under 3,000 total yards, 12 touchdowns and 15 turnovers.
If the Eagles lose out and finish at 5-11, they will get a very high draft pick. It would be hard for the Eagles front office not to draft a player like Matt Barkley after a horrible 2011 season from Vick. He needs to finish out strong and prove that he can be a franchise quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles for the next three or four seasons.
2. DeSean Jackson
The first 13 games of the 2011 season has not gone according to plan for DeSean Jackson. He had hoped to go into the season with his desired contract, but has yet to come to an agreement with the Eagles front office. He hasn't been able to prove he deserves a superstar contract with his inconsistent play this season.
Jackson has been held to three receptions or less five times this season and has had at least 50 receiving yards in just six games. He only has three touchdowns for the year.
Jackson is on the final year of his rookie deal. The Eagles could work out a new deal this offseason. They could also give him the franchise tag or they could just let him walk altogether. The final three games will be big indication as to what the Eagles do.
3. Jamar Chaney
Nobody on the Eagles defense has had a rougher season than linebacker Jamar Chaney has. In eight games and two starts last season as a rookie, Chaney had 33 solo tackles and appeared to be the Eagles middle linebacker of the future. This season he started out at strongside linebacker but was moved back to the middle after Casey Matthews struggled mightily through the first two weeks of the season. Chaney has just 61 solo tackles in 13 starts.
He also has struggled with his open-field tackling and has not been able to make an impact against the run consistently. He has looked lost in zone coverage and has been replaced in nickel packages by Casey Matthews.
Chaney can save his job and continue to be a starting Eagles linebacker for years to come, whether he is on the outside or stays at the middle, if he can do just one thing well. Tackle. The Eagles' defense biggest problem has been tackling, especially from the linebackers. He starts wrapping up and he will save his job.
4. Asante Samuel
It has just been assumed since training camp that Asante Samuel will be traded by the start of the 2012 season. He will be due $8.4 million next season but Philadelphia might just be willing to pay that if the Eagles' cornerbacks continue to play at a high level.
The Eagles' corners get a bad rap from a handful of bad plays this season, but for the most part they have done an outstanding job at shutting down receivers. Last week against Miami, the Eagles corners held the Dolphins receivers to just seven catches for 63 yards. No wide receiver had more than 27 yards.
Keeping Asante Samuel with Dominique Rodgers-Cromarite allows Nnamdi Asomugha to cover tight ends when necessary. It would give the Eagles plenty of depth at cornerback if/when somebody gets hurt as both Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie have this season.
Samuel still has to play well and be at least a halfway decent tackler in the final three weeks. A good finish to the season for Samuel could keep him in Philly for one more season and one more Super Bowl run.
5. Kurt Coleman
Kurt Coleman has had a rocky season to say the least. He started the year at free safety while Nate Allen was recovering in the offseason from knee surgery and was later benched due to his struggles in pass coverage. He would later take over for Jarrad Page at strong safety and made a strong case following a three-interception performance against the Redskins.
Coleman has become a high-effort player on defense, ranking second on the team in solo tackles with 52 and first in interceptions with four. His stats are solid for a second year strong safety who was a seventh-round draft pick in 2010. His struggles have come in pass coverage where he has looked completely lost at times.
Coleman played much better in pass coverage last week against the Dolphins and made a strong case as to why the Eagles don't need to draft a strong safety in the first or second round in next April's draft. He will have to fight off competition from this upcoming draft class and this year's second-round draft pick, strong safety Jaiquawn Jarrett.
If Coleman plays like he did last Sunday, it will be impossible to replace Coleman with anybody. He flies all around the football and has the potential to be much better in pass coverage. A good showing in the final three weeks will save his job for 2012.