2013-14 Philadelphia Eagles: Rebuilding for a Better Tomorrow

With the off-season already in tow and Chip Kelly as now the Philadelphia Eagles head coach, here’s my blueprint for the Philadelphia Eagles:

  • Quarterback Michael Vick. With San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick and Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson rising, it would seem that Michael Vick would be a logical choice to remain a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  But Vick is actually quite outdated compared to either of those. Vick is comparable to a old-school Corvette versus a modern Saleen S7 in Kaepernick and Wilson. As sleek as Vick may be, his engine would burn out long before he reached the finish line. Vick is outmatched and outdated in this new era of quarterbacks.
  • Quarterback Nick Foles. Nick Foles is no Jeff Garcia nor will he ever be.  Nick Foles has slight potential, but he lacks an upside. Foles is far too predictable.  I would gladly barter both Michael Vick and Nick Foles for San Francisco 49ers Alex Smith, even as a backup.  Smith is an intellectual quarterback, but he lacks mobility.  Still though, he would be a good option for the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Return to 4-3 and Contain Defenses. The Eagles used to be the best at containing the quarterbacks under Jim Johnson, and the Eagles should return to the 4-3.  What the Eagles had in talent in 2012-13 they lacked in mentality and preparation. With Robert Griffin III and his Washington Redskins in their division, the Eagles defense must adjust properly.
  • Running Back LeSean McCoy. He’s one the few bright spots of the Eagles organization.  Talent and skill-wise, he’s been better than Brian Westbrook.  He should be kept.
  • Tight End Brent Celek. He’s another of the few bright spots of the Eagles organization.  He should be kept.
  • Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson. His free lunch with Andy Reid is officially over — and should have been over a while back.  If Coach Kelly wants him to play as kick returner, he plays kick returner.  If he wants him to play cornerback or safety, he plays cornerback or safety.  Otherwise, he gets traded and exchanged for someone more than willing to play, like soon-to-be free agent Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings.
  • CEO Jeff Lurie. Well, he should keep his reins on Chip Kelly.  At least for now.
  • Head Coach Chip Kelly. Chip Kelly must instill discipline of the Eagles team from the start.  However, he seems like a pushover which does not seem to bode well.  Kelly could play favorites like Reid did, and the house of cards will again crumble.

Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles: The End of an Era

Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid gets handed a gameball in his last press conference as a head coach

It’s officially the end of an era for former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid with a devastating record of 4-12 for the 2012 regular season.   Eagles owner Jeff Lurie stood by his word as he bid Andy Reid farewell after an 8-8 record for the 2011 season.  For those fans clamoring that we should not have let Andy Reid go since he was the Eagles franchise most successful coach to date, the Eagles organization is still a business.  And if Jeff Lurie kept Andy Reid for another season as a coach or otherwise, Lurie would be made to be nothing more than a paper tiger at best and a pushover at worst.  In as much as some of us criticize Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for being a pushover, Jeff Lurie would made to look much worse.

Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens and quarterback Donovan McNabb

Andy Reid became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles on January 11, 1999.  It was not without criticism upon arrival in Philadelphia after he was lured from the Green Bay Packers. In 2000, the Philadelphia Eagles reached the playoffs with a 11-5 regular season record.  In 2001, the chain of playoff wins came.  With quarterback Donovan McNabb, running back Brian Westbrook and safety Brian Dawkins coming to maturity, the Philadelphia Eagles was the team to beat in the NFC East with conference championships in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.  In 2004, with the acquisition of wide receiver Terrell Owens, the Eagles were at this time the cream of the crop of the NFC East and decisively the NFL.  The Eagles made it to Super Bowl XXXIX but was ultimately defeated by Tom Brady and his New England Patriots 24-21.  Donovan McNabb simply cracked under pressure in this Super Bowl, and with the Eagles essentially without a functioning quarterback, the New England Patriots won.

Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia on the Sports Illustrated cover

After the stream of successes prior to 2004, the wheels of the truck began to fall off in 2005 as the disputes between Terrell Owens, Donovan McNabb and David Akers tore apart the team in the locker room. In 2005, the Eagles ended with a regular season record of 6-10.  In 2006, with the season-ending injury to Donovan McNabb in October, backup quarterback Jeff Garcia took over the reigns and nearly led the Eagles to another Super Bowl after defeating the Carolina Panthers, the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. However, as Jeff Garcia led them closer and closer to the Super Bowl, Donovan McNabb came out of the woodwork and became disruptive from the sidelines in a sense.  This antagonism ultimately led to Jeff Garcia being released — and Donovan McNabb as well.

In 2008, the Eagles made their way to the NFC Championship game whereupon they lost to the Cardinals 32-25. The Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins in 2009, and after McNabb’s departure, then backup quarterback Michael Vick was named starting quarterback in 2010.  Vick’s most notable game as a Philadelphia Eagle was the decimation of Donovan McNabb and his  Washington Redskins on the night of November 15, 2010. On that night, Michael Vick was unleashed as he had four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns with a passer rating of 150.7.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick after another loss

After Michael Vick’s spectacular run in 2010, the wheels began falling off the truck again.  Most teamis had developed a gameplan for Vick’s weaknesses and tendencies as the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys both built sufficient defense gameplan templates the season before.  The other teams in the NFL basically followed suit, adjusting their templates as needed.  And with Michael Vick not holding much better himself in the 2011 and 2012 regular seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles demise was gradual and climaxed in this regular season with compounding losses with ridiculous amount of turnovers.

Juan Castillo as Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator

With the loss of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson on July 28, 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles defense never was the same.  Sean McDermott took over, but he could never build the Eagles defense as Jim Johnson could.  Soon, even he was released to the Carolina Panthers on January 5, 2011.  And with the acquisition of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie in the 2011 season, it seemed like a recipe for success.  Perhaps under the traditional defense of Jim Johnson.  With Juan Castillo and his implementation of the Wide-Nine defense, the defense collapsed unto itself as there were no leaders, only highly-paid players.

Andy Reid should be remembered for the successes he bought to the Philadelphia Eagles organization.  With few notable candidates currently to fill the void, 2012 Maxwell Coach of the Year Penn State’s Bill O’Brien seems to be the leading candidate.  Quite possibly, in my opinion, the former Chicago Bears Lovie Smith would be a potential option as well.  In either case, the options are not particularly tempting.  Reid went over his head with the promotion of Juan Castillo as a defensive coordinator, the firing of Sean McDermott and the wholesale acquisition of free agents. These are perhaps what did him in as a head coach.  Most likely, he will be acquired by the Arizona Cardinals as Ken Whisenhunt was recently fired.  A change of scenery will do him good.  Will it bring him as much success with the Philadelphia Eagles?  Perhaps, but I remain skeptical.

Philadelphia Eagles 2012: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (The Post-Turkey Edition)

It's About Time For Change. Definitely.

It’s About Time For Change. Definitely.

With the Philadelphia Eagles season pretty much officially drawn to a close after the horrendous 30-22 loss to the lowly Carolina Panthers, it’s time to take a honest look at the Eagles organization. Or the Turkeys organization. Seriously.

THE GOOD

  • Die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fans. You’ve got to give them props for still able to tough it out.  The few that still attend the games should be given a nod, if anything else.
  • Backup quarterback Nick Foles. We now know what he’s made of — and more of what he isn’t.
  • Backup running back Bryce Brown.  On the bright side, the Eagles finally know how to use running backs.  However, it took a losing season for them to recognize it.
  • Running back LeSean McCoy. He has demonstrated he is one of the stellar parts of this team.  Although he had fewer touchdowns to date than when he was a rookie, he was on pace to beat his yardage total.
  • Tight End Brent Celek. Brent Celek has been one of the stalwarts of the Eagles organization. Tough, classy, and  respectable.  He was on pace to exceed his yardage total over the previous seasons.

THE BAD

  • Backup quarterback Nick Foles. At this point, he’s not worth much in trade value after seeing what he’s capable of performing in the national spotlight.  At best, he’s no worse than Kevin Kolb; and at his worst, he’s no better than A.J. Feeley.
  • Quarterback Michael Vick. Even though he had a phenomenol 2010 season, it is no longer 2010.  The league has changed while Michael Vick hasn’t.  Michael Vick is no elite quarterback.  He does not have the intellectual prowess nor the pocket presence on the field as with New England Patriots’ Tom Brady or Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning. He never did. And he never will.
  • Running back LeSean McCoy. Well, his touchdown production is worse than when he was a rookie.  In fact, he had only two touchdowns to date compared to four in his 2009 season.  And he doubled his fumbles since his 2009 season.
  • Tight End Brent Celek.  Well, like LeSean McCoy, his touchdown production this season matched his rookie season with only one.
  • The Defense as a Whole. By the numbers, the defense has only gotten slightly worse than the previous seasons. The Eagles defense currently ranks about middle of the pack, and it hasn’t changed much over the past few seasons with or without Sean McDermott.

THE UGLY

  • The Yankees The Eagles Ain’t. Andy Reid got a bit too ambitious perhaps and over his head these past few seasons.  He sought to buy talent like the New York Yankees, but that was not the prize-winning formula for the Eagles during their winning seasons.  Reid always found ways to find diamonds in the rough and transform them into generally great players.  Jeremiah Trotter was one example as he was a mess in the beginning but eventually became a four-time Pro Bowler.
  • Head Coach Andy Reid. He’s unable to energize the troops.  He’s unable to have decent play-calling. He’s an impotent coach.
  • Juan Castillo and His Wide-9 Defense. After Juan Castillo was let go, unfortunately, the defense improved very little.  The Wide-9 defense requires highly talented players at the end/corners who are consistent.  Unfortunately, the Eagles defense does not possess either in Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie or Nnamdi Asomugha.  One more point, the Eagles should return to 46 defense or the 4-3.
  • Turnovers. We can only wish these were the breakfast kind. The Eagles have one of the worst turnover ratios in the entire league this season.

With five games left, and potentially three or four more losses ahead, the regular football season is drawing to a close. With yet another potential loss to the Dallas Cowboys,  the charade of the Philadelphia Eagles may finally come to an end.

The Philadelphia Eagles 2011-12 Season in Review: The Good, the Fads and the Ugly

With the Philadelphia Eagles impressive 34-10 win over the hapless Washington Redskins last Sunday, the game was essentially meaningless as the Eagles could not make the playoffs.  The Eagles end the regular season with 8-8 and third in the NFC East.  Meanwhile, the New York Giants won over their local AFC rival New York Jets 29-14 two weeks beforehand, and with the win, the Giants saved their head coach Tom Coughlin’s job once again.  The New York Giants upped one even further by winning the NFC East title over the Dallas Cowboys and securing the last coveted spot in the playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons. Sadly, the Philadelphia Eagles are left contemplating their 2011-12 regular season on their couches and chalkboards.

The Good

Running Back LeSean McCoy Goes to the Pro Bowl and One of the Leading Running Backs in the NFL. It was a matter of time before LeSean McCoy matures as a running back and dominates.  As said previously, he progressed faster than Brian Westbrook did with the Philadelphia Eagles as statistics showed from the last few seasons.  In this season, he surpassed former Philadelphia Eagles running back Steve Van Buren and the entire league this season with 20 total touchdowns.

Former Pro Bowl Kicker David Akers Leaves. When former Pro Bowler David Akers left for the San Francisco 49ers, there was a hole left in the Eagles special teams.  Coach Andy Reid resorted to rookie Alex Henery, and he has been a surprise as he ranks 5th in extra-points made.

The Fads

Quarterback Micheal Vick Matures But Doesn’t Improve. The Michael Vick mystique had all but disappeared within Philadelphia.  His mediocrity has shown like he was with the Atlanta Falcons.  However, this time, he lacked the brashness of his youth.  In fact, with his overall quarterback rating of 82.9, he’s only slightly better than he was with the Atlanta Falcons with 2004 at a 78.1 quarterback rating. His 2011 quarterback rating obviously fails in comparison to his 2010 rating of 100.2. The Donovan McNabb Experiment with Michael Vick has been less than successful.

Tight End Brent Celek Gel with Michael Vick. One of the better tight ends in the league finally gels with Michael Vick.  However, this is a double-edged sword. Michael Vick has been mediocre this season compared to last season, and despite the increase in the number of targets per game, Brent Celek’s numbers has actually been worse than the previous season. Compared to last season, he has 200+ more yards, but he has the same number of touchdowns as he did last season when he should have had more.

Implementation of the Wide 9 Defense. The wide 9 defense hasn’t been entirely bad for the Philadelphia Eagles.  It was distorted by the Eagles turnovers.  In fact, the Philadelphia Eagles have nearly 1,000 less total yards gained by opponents and gained four positions to 8th this season in total defense.  Compared against the run last season, they are about comparable, ranking surprisingly at about 15th. This defensive formation has been astonishingly effective despite how it looks on the field.  Numbers don’t lie.

The Ugly 

Head Coach Andy Reid and Office Politics. Head coach Andy Reid has been on the hot seat this season as the team continuously lost despite having the talent on the roster.  The inconsistent offense, undisciplined defense and the coach hirings and firings ultimately bit Reid this season.

Juan Castillo’s Promotion to Defensive Coordinator. Juan Castillo, the defensive coordinator this season, has been on the hot seat as well.  With St. Louis Rams Steve Spagnulo looming on the horizon, Castillo may not be the defensive coordinator no longer.

Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Goes Diva. DeSean Jackson still has been contending for a better contract all season.  However, this season, his numbers have not been that productive.  He has only 3 touchdowns to date compared to 6 last season, and he has less than 1,000 total receiving yards this season unlike the past two.  Whether he or the Philadelphia Eagles want to trade him in the off-season, that remains to be seen.  There’s no doubt he’s valuable to the Eagles franchise, but his attitude may sour the team.

Defense Lacks Discipline. Dealing with a new defensive coordinator in Juan Castillo was hard enough, but even harder, when the defensive coordinator doesn’t press discipline on the players.  Some of the Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs have been causing commotion on the field by hitting above the shoulder pads and after the tackle.  This is not the professional team that once was when Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and David Akers were here.

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers. The Philadelphia Eagles offense has been lackadaisical as the Eagles are ranked first in turnovers in the entire NFL.  Having the first in turnovers won’t win games, particularly when compounded with a porous run defense.

Cornerback Asante Samuel Unhappy as the Safety Position Crowds. With the acquisition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha, former New England Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel felt that it was three’s a crowd in the safety position. Compared to last season, he’s been a more effective tackler, but he hasn’t nearly had the number of interceptions.  And with the Eagles already considering selling him as trade bait, Samuel is definitely not happy here in Philadelphia.  It is anything but sunny.

Wait Until Next Season…

This season has not been one of the better seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles.  With Vince Young’s announcement the Philadelphia Eagles as the “Dream Team” to the media and general public, the hype fell flat, and it fell hard.  There has been some rumbling about changes in personnel position. Former St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnulo has been mentioned as the Philadelphia Eagles’ replacement as defensive coordinator, but nothing has been decided yet.   There will be more media chatter once a decision has been made or not. Until then, Eagles fans, we will have to wait until next season, and perhaps the Eagles will return to playoff contention once again.

Philadelphia Eagles CEO Jeffrey Lurie: A View on His Pressing Conference

The Philadelphia Eagles fans have been calling for head coach Andy Reid‘s head over this past season like the past seasons, but this time, it was justified as the Eagles ended at .500 with an 8-8 record.  They demolished the hapless Washington Redskins in their last regular season game with a 34-10 win, but it was all for nought.  The New York Giants defeated the New York Jets the previous week with a score of 29-14 and sealed the NFC East title with their 31-14 win over the Dallas Cowboys.  The Jets win saved Giants head coach Tom Coughlin’s job and winning the NFC East title gave them an opportunity to enter the Super Bowl.

On the topic of head coaches, Andy Reid was on the hot seat this season as his team could not gel together until midway through the regular season.  The “Dream Team” could not power offensively through teams like in past seasons, and it hurt them.  Quarterback Michael Vick’s above-average performance this season with 18 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and an above-average quarterback rating of 84.9.  It was only slightly better than his 2004 season with the Atlanta Falcons.  Vince Young did only worse with 4 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and a depressing 60.8 quarterback rating.  Neither of them were salvaging Andy Reid’s head nor their offense.  Andy Reid is the NFL’s winningest head coach earning 136 total career victories through the 2011 season.  Reid may be a bit overdrawn at his coaches in important personnel positions — like Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator.  However, he does find gems in the rough on the field.  Running back LeSean McCoy is one of his hidden gems that came to fruition this season.

Concerning wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Lurie commented that he is a “terrific player,” and that he is.  But Jackson has also been toxic in the locker room.  Vince Young could relate as his problem with the Tennessee Titans former head coach Jeff Fisher.  There is no doubt the Eagles will attempt to keep DeSean Jackson.  How much money the front office is willing to separate to keep him is the question here.

One last note is that the front office will not be changed in any way.  At least, the   Philadelphia Eagles aren’t quite as desperate as the Jacksonville Jaguars nor as brain-dead as the Oakland Raiders.

Jeff Lurie didn’t say anything that wasn’t expected, given the failure of the Eagles this season.  He knows there is another season, but if Andy Reid ends up at .500 or less, Reid better prepare to pack up.  Lurie won’t have the patience, the money or the blindfold of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Philadelphia Eagles Running Back Ronnie Brown: 2010 Year in Review and 2011 Outlook and Beyond

2010 Year in Review

With the recent acquisition of Ronnie Brown from the Miami Dolphins, the Philadelphia Eagles definitely got a better running back than former Cleveland Browns running back Jerome Harrison. With yet another trade, Jerome Harrison is now property of the Detroit Lions behind Javhid Best.  That doesn’t particularly raise Harrison’s value as a running back either for the Detroit Lions, but that’s another discussion for another day.  For Ronnie Brown, he was part of the running back tandem with Ricky Williams.  However, neither performed well last season, individually or as a team.  Now Ronnie Brown is with the Philadelphia Eagles behind the much-better running back LeSean McCoy.  Perhaps this change will give him some new legs…

In Brown’s 2010 season, he had 734 total rushing yards, a low 3.7 yards per attempt and only 5 touchdowns. He was ranked 31st among running backs in total rushing yardage. On the bright side, he was ranked higher than Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick with his 676 total rushing yardage.  On the downside, Michael Vick had twice as many touchdowns with 9 rushing touchdowns. In other words, Vick was a better running back than Brown was during the 2010 season.  That is a bitter pill to swallow for Ronnie Brown.

In his prime, Ronnie Brown did have two good seasons in 2006 and 2008.  In his 2006 season, he 1,008 total rushing yards, averaged 4.2 yards per rush and had 5 rushing touchdowns. In terms of total rushing yards, he was ranked 23rd.  On the downside, Michael Vick got him beat with 1,039 total rushing yardage during that season with the Atlanta Falcons.  His 2008 season performance was his best. During that season, he had 916 total rushing yards, averaged 4.3 yards per attempt and had 10 touchdowns. His 10 touchdowns ranked him 8th among running backs in that season in the company of elite Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

2011 Outlook and Beyond

Ronnie Brown only signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles which means that he won’t be there for the long-term, if Jerome Harrison is any telling of Eagles head coach Andy Reid’s intentions.  Given his recent performance, I wouldn’t expect him to stay with the Philadelphia Eagles for longer than one season either.

Ronnie Brown would most likely join the running back carousel next season, if he has a decent performance as LeSean McCoy’s backup. For the most part, he’s spent.  He might have running back performances with shock and awe in a few games.  Anything beyond that, he has gone to the veteran running back graveyard, and I don’t mean the Oakland Raiders.

2011 Fantasy Football Running Back Prospect

I would not be so eager to pick him early in the draft or the waiver wire.  His recent performances do not bring too much optimism.  And with McCoy’s history of injuries, Ronnie Brown should be taken only as a last resort, if that.  Even if he becomes starter for the Philadelphia Eagles, he should be considered no better than a low-end RB2 or perhaps flex.  As a backup, he’s nothing more than waiver wire fodder.

The 2011 Philadelphia Eagles Oddsbreaker: Super Bowl or Smoke and Mirrors?

Is this the year of the Super Bowl for the Philadelphia Eagles?

With all the media hype, it appears that the Philadelphia Eagles are already carrying the Vince Lombardi Trophy even before the season has formally begun.  I wouldn’t be so quick yet to place them on a mantle quite yet.  ESPN has already held the Philadelphia Eagles to placing third overall in this upcoming season, once said and done.  Luckily, they didn’t quite adorn Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick with garlands in his 2010 overall season performance.  His 2010 performance ranked him 18th for his performance last season with the Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) of 66.6.  He is comparable to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, New Orleans Saints Drew Brees and Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger in their 2010 regular season performances.  Surprisingly, Vince Young, his backup now, had a higher Total Quarterback Rating than Michael Vick in his 2009 performance with the Tennessee Titans.  He is ranked 12th and has a QBR of 69.2.

With this in mind, Michael Vick unfortunately collapsed last season in the Wild Card game as he could not withstand the Packers perplexing defensive packages with Clay Matthews at the helm.  The Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Green Bay Packers 16-21.  He had 292 passing yards, a touchdown, an interception and a mediocre 79.9 quarterback rating.  On the bright side (sort of), he had a better performance against the Green Bay Packers in their loss of 20-27 at Lincoln Financial Field on September 12, 2010.  He had 175 passing yards, a touchdown and a 101.9 quarterback rating.  Then again, Vick was healthier at that time, and he had not yet undergone the punishing defenses later on, like the New York Giants, the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys.

This season, after their week 7 bye, the Philadelphia Eagles offense led by Michael Vick will be in one punishing gauntlet of defenses.  The Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants defenses again rear their heads, and they will have the Washington Redskins right before their bye week.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe Michael Vick can pull off that dominating performance last November 15th, but he should still be capable of winning the game.  Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman commented that his team may be a sleeper since their acquisitions of wideouts Dante Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney.  They have also acquired Tim Hightower, one of the running backs of the Arizona Cardinals.  However, that game will be highly dependent on which Rex Grossman decides to show up for that game.

After week 7, if Michael Vick (and maybe Vince Young), can survive the gauntlet of defenses, the Philadelphia Eagles will be in good playoff shape, as their last regular season game is against the Washington Redskins.  Again, like last season, I would expect that Eagles head coach Andy Reid rest his starters by first half of that game.  If Michael Vick is still in one piece, he would be resting after maybe a series or two.

I don’t doubt that the Philadelphia Eagles can make the playoffs and quite possibly clinch the NFC East with a regular season record of 11-5 or 10-6.  Again, if they face teams with stiffer defenses in the playoffs, the explosive Philadelphia Eagles offense implode, like last season.  The playoff curse might again catch up to the Philadelphia Eagles, particularly in the NFC conference playoff game.   This time, you can’t blame it on William Penn or Donovan McNabb.  It may as well rest on the shoulders of head coach Andy Reid.

Philadelphia Eagles Want to Sign Plaxico Burress: An Indulgence, Not a Necessity

At this point, without much talk about the Philadelphia Eagles and their mini-camps, there has been talk about the Philadelphia Eagles wanting to sign Plaxico Burress once free agency is open.  Burress will be released on in another week on June 6, and he already has teams intending on signing him.  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress will be reinstated and can play this season whenever the work stoppage is resolved.  I have to disagree with head coach Andy Reid‘s decision, as Plaxico Burress is more of an indulgence than a necessity into this upcoming season (if it starts).  Statistically, the Philadelphia Eagles already have potent wideouts, and adding another, even as reserve, can be best filled with another player on defense or the offensive line.

The Philadelphia Eagles were ranked 9th overall in yards passing during the 2010 season.  DeSean Jackson, Eagles primary wideout, was ranked 15th overall in terms of total receiving yardage, and Jeremy Maclin was ranked 19th in terms of total receiving yardage.  DeSean Jackson did lead in one stunning statistic during the 2010 regular season.  He led the league with an average of 22.5 yards per reception.  According to Football Outsiders, the Philadelphia Eagles were ranked 14th overall in touchdowns per red zone appearance in the 2010 season and had an 18.5 percent touchdown conversion percentage.

This may not entirely be the wideouts’ responsibilities however.  Several pertinent issues hung on the Philadelphia Eagles offense during the regular season.  First, although Michael Vick improved compared to his tenure as an Atlanta Falcon, his quarterback ability declined from week 13 against the Houston Texans with a 1o3.4 quarterback rating on 2 touchdowns, an interception and 302 passing yards.  It could be debated that his decline started earlier after the dominance of the Washington Redskins in week 10 with a 150.7 quarterback rating on 4 touchdowns and 333 passing yards. He ultimately collapsed significantly with a 79.9 quarterback rating when the Philadelphia Eagles fell the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Wild Card game.  Partially it was from defenses catching onto Michael Vick, partially it was from Michael Vick carrying the entire team himself when there was no need, and partially it was from Michael Vick’s tendency to rush in the latter part of the season. Second, the Eagles became one-dimensional as Michael Vick often rushed as often if not more than running back LeSean McCoy.  With Michael Vick as the helm, if the teams covered the wideouts in a Cover 2 shell, the defenses forced Michael Vick to throw into traffic or rush out of a collapsing pocket.  Vick often chose the latter since he did not often lean on his running back or his tight end Brent Celek too often.  Overall, the Eagles offense could have been considered a one-trick pony, and a one-trick pony doesn’t usually win Super Bowls.

Adding Plaxico Burress, he has been out of football since 2008, and he will require adaptation to the strenuous training and physicality involved. Discounting his 2008 season with the New York Giants, he had an above-average 2006 and 2007 seasons.  In his 2006 season, he had 988 receiving yards (which was ranked 20th overall), 10 touchdowns and averaged 15.7 yards per reception. Compared to his 2006 season, he had a slightly better 2007.  In 2007, he had a 1,027 receiving yards (which was ranked 21st overall), 12 touchdowns and 14.6 yards per reception.  Granted Plaxico Burress had Eli Manning as his quarterback and under the run-heavy offense of New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, even with the change in scenery with the Philadelphia Eagles, he might show small signs of improvement, but his talent pales in comparison to either DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin even in his prime.

However, this may be Andy Reid’s test of Plaxico Burress’ worth in free agency more than anything else. However delusional the “personnel” may be towards Plaxico Burress, Burress’ talents would be better spent on another team, like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Seattle Seahawks for sake of argument.  Or quite possibly Burress is another gamble for Andy Reid, like he did with Michael Vick.  If this is Reid dipping again into the redemption pot, lightning might not strike twice.  And it may hurt the Philadelphia Eagles team than benefit them.

Philadelphia Eagles Franchised Quarterback Michael Vick

After Michael Vick was scheduled to be a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show to be aired on February 24th, it appears that the Philadelphia Eagles have finally decided to tag Michael Vick with the franchise tag.  This is expected to cost the Eagles $20 million — the average of the top 5 highest-paid quarterbacks in the league after he was paid a meager comparatively $5.25 million in 2010.

Michael Vick gained the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year Award this season, and he was a starting quarterback for the Pro Bowl.  Additionally, he performed better than his seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. This season, Michael Vick had 3,018 yards passing, 21 touchdowns, 62.6 percent completion rate,  a 100.2 quarterback rating and 9 rushing touchdowns. These were all career-highs for this former Atlanta Falcon quarterback, compared to all six years he was with the Falcons and the one additional year he was with the Eagles as the backup quarterback to Donovan McNabb.

In Vick’s wake, New England Patriots Tom Brady gained the Associated Press Most Valuable Player Award for this year by unanimous vote, and the Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was decimated in the NFC title game 48-21 by the Super Bowl XLV Champions Green Bay Packers and their quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  Lastly, backup Kevin Kolb wants to go elsewhere, as he was teased and tested by head coach Andy Reid last season. The drama surrounding the Kevin Kolb situation may cause some off-season trouble even more than its practicality as the collective bargaining agreement is stalled.

Now the Philadelphia Eagles will have to rely on Michael Vick to carry them through the next few seasons, barring any serious injuries.   With the changes in the offensive and defensive coaching staff, it will be interesting to see whether this will indeed be effective in the upcoming season.  Most fans, including myself, are not too optimistic, and the constant assurances by the coaching staff and a few of the present and former Philadelphia Eagles doesn’t really temper the situation much.

Juan Castillo as the Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator: My Thoughts and Reflections

This promotion of Juan Castillo from the offensive side of the ball to the defensive side of the ball for the Philadelphia Eagles has got me thinking quite a lot.  With the firing of Sean McDermott and the hiring of Juan Castillo, the defensive framework set by the late Jim Johnson has been torn apart and begun anew under Juan Castillo.  The legacy of Jim Johnson has been tossed away barely a year and a half later. But that is the culture of the NFL nowadays — everything is quick, immediate, and disposable, a reflection of American culture but that’s another story for another time.  The last recent example has been  former head coach Jeff Fisher who was recently released from the Tennessee Titans after 16 long seasons among other things.

It has been interesting how many people are assuring that the Philadelphia Eagles organization is doing the right thing with this promotion of Castillo. Head coach of the St. Louis Rams Steve Spagnulo and former Eagle Tra Thomas assured that this move was good.  Much like the assurances from the media and others about Michael Vick, especially the commendation from President Barack Obama and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  With this much assurance, the Philadelphia Eagles sure as heck don’t need the talking duck from Aflac.  True, from a defensive standpoint, Castillo’s knowledge of current offenses will benefit the Eagles defense.  But the Eagles defense lacks leadership — true leadership since the departure of safety Brian Dawkins.  Someone on the Eagles defensive side needs to become a captain and a leader. Luckily, the collective bargaining agreement negotiations will give the Philadelphia Eagles defense slightly more time.

This next season, whether the collective bargaining agreement will be decided soon or not, will indeed be a rebuilding period for the Eagles, particularly their defense.  I hope Andy Reid made the right decision by promoting Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator.