Originally posted on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 1/2/12

So that’s it. It’s over.

The season that began with so much promise and potential for the Philadelphia Eagles ended with a “who cares” victory over the division rival Washington Redskins. The Eagles somehow managed to finish 8-8 after a horrendous 1-4 start. If you factor out the horrible 4th quarter collapses against the Falcons, 49ers and all, the Eagles actually went 7-4 the rest of the way. That’s not too shabby. But is it enough?

The 2011 season will be marred by charges of the team not playing hard, not playing as a team, ANOTHER poor draft and the decision by Andy Reid to promote offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator. For the first time since 2004, it appeared as though the Eagles really had the personnel in place (minus a linebacking corps) to make a deep run into the NFL postseason. Instead, the team will miss the postseason for only the 4th time in 13 years under coach Andy Reid.

While numerous fans voiced their displeasure with Big Red, you can almost bet your bottom dollar that he will return for a 14th season (he’s under contract for two more seasons). The questions in this long off-season will deal with other areas of the team. For example: what will the Eagles do with free agent to be DeSean Jackson? Will he get franchise tagged and traded, will the Eagles try to force him to play under the tag, or will the Eagles simply allow the explosive wide receiver to move on? The only definite answer to this question is that Jackson will NOT be back in Philadelphia next year. If the Eagles had even the slightest inclination to make a deal with Jackson, it would be done by now. So long, DeSean.

Will Juan Castillo be fired and replaced? The answer to this question once seemed obvious, but now, it may not be. Castillo, in his first season as defensive coordinator seemed over-matched and totally in over his head for much of the season. However, his defense, rife with new talent and personnel, finally gelled toward the end of this season. And as bad as it was, I can honestly say that it didn’t seem nearly as bad as the Sean McDermott era in Philly. There really can’t be a lot of doubt about whether Castillo grew and improved throughout the season. He did. The question will be whether or not Joe Banner and Howie Roseman will be willing to take ANOTHER chance on Castillo next year. If they are willing to take that chance, and Castillo fumbles his way through the beginning of the 2012 campaign, it could be a complete and total disaster.  Was the promise that the defense showed at the end of the year, when nothing was on the line anymore, enough to save Castillo?  I doubt it.

Philadelphia Eagles Corner Back, Asante Samuel was fined by the NFL for a helmet-to-helmet hit in last Sunday's game against the New York Giants

What will the Eagles do with Asante Samuel? The multiple time Pro Bowler had a horrendous season this year. I can’t help but think the only reason he had a horrendous season is because of the additions of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  Almost from the very beginning of the lockout-shortened camp it seemed like there was a dark cloud over the Eagles relationship with Asante Samuel.  He did not report at the beginning of camp because of “personal issues.”  When he did, rumors circulated that the Eagles were looking to move the talented corner.  Those rumors had a deep impact on Samuel, and he never seemed to be the player that gave his all on the field like he had in the past (tackling notwithstanding).  Having three high-profile and talented corners seemed to be a windfall, but turned out to be more of a wind storm.  It didn’t work out for the Eagles, and certainly didn’t seem to work out for the corners either.  Asomugha, the over-hyped free agent had the worst season of his career, and DRC was a non-factor. The Eagles will need to figure out a way to fix this situation.  They’ll need to move Samuel or DRC to get the secondary back on track.  Perhaps they could get a linebacker like the fans called for all year? Just a thought… It’s probably more likely that they’ll do what they always do and overvalue a player on the trade market and not be able to make anything happen.

As I sit back and ponder what happened to this team this year, it’s a mixed bag.  Some say that the team never quit.  I remember watching a game against the hapless Seattle Seahawks and thinking to myself, “this team has quit.”  And that was when this team still had some say in whether or not they made the postseason.  Perhaps some people forgot about that.

In traditional Andy Reid fashion, the Eagles started poorly, in this case beyond poorly, but finished well enough for Andy to again try to sell to everyone that next year will be better because the team finally got it all together.  I feel like I’ve heard this before.  In fact, I know I have, and I’m tired of the line.  I never expected the Eagles to win a Super Bowl this year.  In fact, I predicted them to go 10-6.  That’s not exactly earth shatteringly good.  I did, however, expect a better performance than I got.

A couple of years ago, Joe Banner gave us all the definition of insanity in regards to this Eagles team.  Repeating the same mistakes and expecting a different result.  In this case, I feel like Banner is right.  When does the insanity stop?  When does this team realize it is not smarter than everyone else in the NFL?  When do they just take the best player available in the draft instead of a project?  How many teams will this organization field without REAL linebackers?  And finally, when does this team figure out the proper way to handle disgruntled players? (Jackson alone, pretty much tore the guts out of this season)

I’d love to sit here and tell you that I believe the Eagles will get it right this time.  This off-season will be better.  They will draft well and finally add some linebackers.  They’ll replace Jackson with a big red zone threat type of receiver and everything will be just fine in 2012. They’ll hire Steve Spagnulo or some other defensive guru and for the first time since Jim Johnson (God rest his soul) we will have a real freakin’ defense.  I’d love to say all of that, but then that would make me insane, wouldn’t it?

Similar Posts:

  • Report Indicates Eagles to Replace Castillo with Spagnulo at Season’s End
  • For Eagles, Starting Tonight Every Game is a Must Win

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