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The Philadelphia Eagles. How To Fix The Franchise.
How do you fix 52 years of failure?
It has been fifty-two years since Quarterback Norm Van Brocklin and Coach Buck Shaw squeaked passed Lombardi's Packers in the 1960 World Championship. Since then, the Eagles have won the 380 of 760 games, 8 NFC East championships, and 2 NFC Championships. They've featured 18 hall of famers as well as several iconic superstars, such as Quarterback Michael Vick or Wide Receiver Terrell Owens. Doesn't seem too bad, does it? Much better than being say, a Cleveland Browns or Cincinnati Bengals fan?
But you know what irks fans? What drives them crazy?
The fact that despite being the only franchise with a post-season win over Lombardi, they never brought home his trophy.
Zero Super Bowls for the Eagles.
What makes it worse is that the other three teams in the NFC East haven't had a problem.
The Washington Redskins have won three Super Bowls. The hated Dallas Cowboys? Have five, And the New York Giants have four, including two in the last five years.
Despite having one of the winningest coaches in NFL history in Andy Reid, and several seasons featuring exotic blitz packages and fantastic mobile Quarterbacks, the fans in Philly have been down in the dumps for a long time.
Unfortunately, I, as well as many experts and Eagles fans, believe that Reid's tenure as Eagles head coach is done. I think he has ran his course as a coach and he now leads a broken roster of misused superstars and broken talent.
Fortunately, I believe I know how to play Dr. Phil for Philadelphia and it's fans.
Step One. Clean House.
I know that Reid is a beloved figure... by some Eagles fans, and that he has given everything to his team. But like Jimmy Johnson in Dallas, or Jeff Fischer in Tennessee, it's just not working anymore. Get rid of Andy Reid. While you're at it, get rid of Juan Castillo. In fact, send the whole coaching staff packing. Moving forward, I might even pursue say, a Wade Phillips. Who doesn't have quite the personality that his father did, but is a brilliant defensive coordinator. As for his problems in Dallas, they haven't vanished, so perhaps he didn't get quite the credit he was deserved. Another guy to think about is Rob Ryan. Rob, unlike his twin, Rex, hasn't had a chance to prove himself as a head coach yet, and his blitz packages could finally make the Eagles defense consistent. Ironically, if all this happens next year, he may even be able to get Rex to be his defensive coordinator. I know I said sweep the whole staff out the door, but I'm not against retaining the services of offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg. He's shown a lot of fun offensive schemes over the years.
Step Two. Manage The Roster.
If you're playing Madden, this is a great roster to use. So much speed. Lemme line up in the shotgun, send Maclin and Jackson deep while McCoy and Celek abuse undersized safeties and slow linebackers. And if they manage to cover? I'll just scramble with Vick and pick up twenty yards(The most obnoxious strategy in the world, might I add).
And on defense? Jason Babin and Trent Cole devastate offensive tackles while Nnamdi Asomugha shuts down their number one target.
Its a flawless strategy, and the reason that many Eagles fans enter every season with hopes for a game in February.
Unfortunately for the fans wearing faded Donovan McNabb jerseys, the NFL isn't like Madden, and it doesn't quite work that way.
While Maclin and Jackson are both speedy weapons, and devastating deep threat targets, they don't compare to say, an Andre or Calvin Johnson. They can't "Moss" double coverage or abuse corners like Tim Brown. They're great number two options, fast enough to get open or make big special teams plays. But two number two's don't add up to one. Its not good when your most consistent targets are your runningback and your tight end.
As for the defense? Nnamdi Asomugha is still a big name corner, however, he's really only a Man coverage guy, and he is asked to play zone far too often.
So. The new Eagles staff should cut their losses and trade what they can. Get rid of the turnover machine known as Michael Vick, send him to Jacksonville or some wildcat-hungry team. Trade Nnamdi away while he's still worth something. Trade whoever it takes to stockpile draft picks.
Step Three. Create A Base.
The biggest problem with the Eagles is that they never really rebuild. They kinda throw band-aids on problems or distract themselves and push it away. This needs to end, as the last section highlighted, get rid of all the over-priced super stars, and try to get a high draft pick so they can draft USC QB Matt Barkley. The Eagles are lucky in that it looks as if there will be a few teams who do not need a Quarterback who will have early picks. The Raiders, Brown, and Titans already have a QB in place who need help badly enough to trade down. The Chiefs and WR Dwayne Bowe look to be going their separate ways this off-season. He is the number one type receiver that they need. Signing Bowe would push Jeremy Maclin into the slot, creating a match-up nightmare.
The Eagles could start Barkley right away. The kid is smart and has all the tools to be a real starter for a long time. Letting him line up in the shotgun, with Bowe and Celek to his right, and Maclin plus Jackson to his left , standing next to a pro-bowl runningback? The match-ups alone create infinite possibilities for plays. Let Wade Phillips do his thing with the defense and slowly build it up, and you would have a team who could dominate the NFC East for a long time. You can't always trust Romo, the Giants have no secondary, and who knows if the Shanahan/RG3 Experiment will work out.
I doubt all of this will happen. But if you ask me? That's the fastest way to bring Lombardi back to Philly.