Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Philadephia Eagles Off-Season Needs
The Eagles were within minutes of getting to the Super Bowl. Now they have as many questions as the next team to deal with. There are several aging stars that produce more to the team than just raw statistics alone. The team will have to juggle egos as well as the budget this off-season. Then there is the sad news of their brilliant Defensive Coordinator, Jim Johnson, dealing with health issues. The Eagles turning point in 2008 was when they lost to the Bengals in windy conditions. Donovan McNabb was benched, and that may have been the final straw for the under appreciated star. There are rumors he wants out, which would put a huge dent in the teams hopes for the next season or two until they see if Kevin Kolb develops into the heir apparent. The team is very capable of winning it all, so the few moves they make may be critical.
1. Keep Brian Dawkins - I put this first because I view it the most important move, assuming McNabb stays in Philly. Dawkins may not the same guy he was before his injury a few years ago, but he is still better than most at his position in the entire league. Then there are the intangibles he brings. Leadership, desire, and moxy. Irreplaceable is how I view him. In the old NFL days, this wouldn't be even up for discussion. Dawkins would retire an Eagle most likely. Now there is a dilemma that involves monetary concerns. The team must iron whatever wrinkles there are and keep him. Jon Runyan is another leader who is a free agent, but he may be on his way out due to his age and the fact he is coming off surgery. Plus the Eagles smartly stocked the O-line in last years draft.
2. Draft A Running Back NOW - The Eagles have the 21st and 28th draft picks so far, but we know they love to wheel and deal on draft day. There is a chance they could package both picks to move up to get their mitts on either Knowshon Moreno or Chris Wells, because both should be gone by the time their first pick comes along. They could stay put and snag LeSean McCoy at 28, and grab the very athletic OLB/ DE Aaron Maybin at 21. Maybin would fit perfectly into Johnson's blitz schemes. The need for a RB is obvious. Brian Westbrook is a 3rd down type at this stage of his career, and he needs someone else to tote the rock 10-15 times a game.
3. Get Another WR - One guy the Eagles might look at in the first round is Hakeem Nicks. The guy has wonderful hands and is very sound in all facets of the game. He could give Donovan another option besides Curtis and Jackson. Avant and Baskett are not too bad, but Nicks represents a huge upgrade and could allow Curtis to go in as a #3 in the slot and flourish.
4. Get More Defensive Linemen - Peria Jerry may get tabbed in the first round due to his explosive play as a DT. Jim Johnson has done a masterful job of rotating in guys, but getting more stout in the middle would help their star DE Cole.
The Eagles have done a very good job drafting, and it has translated on the field. Donovan McNabb getting a running game behind him would help, because he has pretty much been doing it all ever since he was drafted. They are hard to measure right now, as they were for me last year, because the talent is there. They easily could go all the way or not make the playoffs. Of course it all rests on Donovan's shoulders the way things lie right now, but another good off season that brings him help could get them over the hump and Philly its first trophy since 1960.