The 2011 Philadelphia Eagles, billed in the preseason as a dream team, are now 4-7 in the regular season. Good enough to be tied for last place in the NFC East with my Washington Redskins. How has everything has gone sour for Andy Reid and the Eagles this year?
Here are some Eagles hot button topics that need to be addressed if they are going to rectify this situation.
-Let’s start with the defense-
- Since long time Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson passed away, there has been no reason to fear the Eagles defense.
This season has been no different. Andy Reid promoted previous Eagles offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator, which is unheard of at the NFL level. Castillo’s job: Take a horrible Eagles defense and make them respectable. So far, the mission is still not accomplished. The defense has shown flashes, but nothing to the point where Castillo is guarenteed that spot in 2012.
- During the Andy Reid tenure in Philly, he has ignored addressing the linebacking corp.
Time and time again, Andy Reid has drafted under-sized defensive linemen high in the draft instead of drafting a heartbeat for his defense. In essence, he killed two birds with one stone, drafting guys how haven’t panned out on the d-line and having zero playmakers at LB. In my opinion, linebackers have an easier transition into the NFL game than passing rushing, under sized linemen.
- If you sign 3 high-end corner backs who excel in man-to-man coverages, DO NOT play zone coverages a majority of the time.
If Juan Castillo isn’t game planning to use the defenses strengths, Andy Reid needs to step in and fix it! They signed the most prized free agent this off-season (Nnamdi Asomugha), and traded away the teams biggest trade piece (Kevin Kolb), for another corner (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) to play along side Asante Samuel, stacking the secondary with playmaking players. If these players are the strength of this defense, they need to game plan that way with more man coverages, freeing up players to rush the quarterback.
-Now to the offense-
- Michael Vick isn’t a passing quarterback, who is playing in an Andy Reid pass happy offense.
Last year Michael Vick was sensational. He threw the ball better than ever before in his career, while maintaining his speed and elusiveness running in open space, proving he was worth a long-term deal. The Eagles gave him that deal, along with the expectations of taking the franchise to the Super Bowl. This season, he has reverted back to a scramble first quarterback, exposing himself to injury (which was inevitable).
- Andy Reid has never been good with short yardage play calling.
Having the ability to extend drives without big plays is crucial in the NFL. The Eagles have been bad year after year in this department. Largely because Andy Reid never establishes a run game, making his play calling transparent in short yardage situations. When you have an explosive player like LeSean McCoy at running back, use him!
- The DeSean Jackson contract dispute is affecting the Eagles on-the-field product.
Even if the Eagles are set in not bringing DeSean Jackson back next season, they still have him this year. Whether his play has been lack luster because of his attitude, or because of play calling this year. The Eagles need to find a way to operate with or without Jackson’s deep threat presence in the line up. Andy Reid has only ever had 2 dynamic receivers throughout his career in Philadelphia. The first being Terrell Owens, who was ran out of town. The second being Jackson, whose stay in Philly is looking like it will also be brief. Reid may be great with quarterbacks, but he is awful in dealing with star wide outs.
Eagles fans have been calling for Andy Reid’s job for years, that is nothing new. But when all signs point to Reid for this complete failure of a season, I believe this is the year that a change will be made.