I’ve felt that this season has been over for a while now, but there have been people with more faith than me. At this point though, it’s over. The sad news is there are still five more games left.
So what can you do when your season is over? You learn as much as you can. It’s not 2012 yet, but the Eagles already have a bunch of questions they need to answer.
The first thing that comes to mind is coaching. Who is staying and who is going? Is this the end of the Andy Reid era? Juan Castillo can’t stay, can he? Who is available?
At this point, I don’t think we’ll know much about this for awhile. There’s a ton of loyalty in the Eagles organization and I have a hard time believing Reid will get the axe before the season comes to an end. However, I think Reid and a large portion of his staff will be under the microscope the rest of the season.
This staff has been under a considerable amount of criticism and rightfully so. Game plans have been poor, adjustments haven’t been made, and the talent utilization is no where close to where it should be.
Player wise, the questions clearly start on defense. More specifically, how can the Eagles get better at the linebacker position? I think that all has to start with an evaluation of Jamar Chaney and where they want him to play next year.
Do they think he’s the long-term solution in the middle or would they prefer to move him back to the strong side? He didn’t dominate the strong side earlier in the year, but I believe that the defensive line scheme was a recipe for disaster at that point. Teams were running all over them until they adjusted the line.
I do think Chaney could be successful back on the strong side, but I think that will all depend on whether they can find a guy for the middle. If it’s not Chaney, I can tell you that guy is definitely not on the roster right now. Could this be the year they finally draft a linebacker? Ask me again when I know for sure if Reid is coming back next season.
Who are going to be the safeties next year? Can Nate Allen get back to how he played at the beginning of last season? Can Kurt Coleman play at more of a consistent level? What do we know about Jaiquawn Jarrett? Can he get some starting time down the stretch so we can see what he’s got?
I think there’s potential in all three of these guys but it’s hard to say anything is close to being set in stone. I can’t say I’d be thrilled to see them use another early draft pick on the position, but I’m not ready to rule it out. I’ll definitely have my eye on these three guys the remainder of the year.
What’s the deal with the corners? Is Asante Samuel coming back? Has Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie done anything relevant enough to merit a new deal? Do you bring Joselio Hanson back?
I think Nnamdi Asomugha is the only sure thing for 2012. This isn’t because he’s been dominant, but they’re not going to unload him after the deal he got. Plus, I think he’s been used quite poorly for a large portion of the season.
On offense, the only real question to me is DeSean Jackson. Are the Eagles seriously thinking about letting him walk? I never believed that was a real possibility until very recently.
He seems to be driving Andy Reid nuts and his performance on the field hasn’t been what we’re used to seeing. The Eagles have some pretty solid depth at the wide receiver position, so it could be a possibility. I’d rather see him stay, but it’s hard to tell what the Eagles plan is. We should get a better idea of their intentions as they head down the stretch.
Their decision on Jackson should also tell us about their intentions for Steve Smith. He hasn’t been a big part of the offense this year, but they may consider keeping him around if they do let Jackson walk.
Outside of that, Michael Vick will be back. Jeremy Maclin will be back. LeSean McCoy will be back. We’ll see a lot of familiar faces on offense in 2012.
The Eagles will return a lot of talent, but they clearly have a lot of work to do putting it together. It’s time to start thinking about next season with the Eagles championship hopes crushed. However, they have some season left to help learn more about how to improve for next season.
What will you look for from the Eagles during the rest of the season?