Eagles face uncertain offseason after 8-8 season
From the moment Vince Young uttered the words ”Dream Team,”
the Philadelphia Eagles had to live up to that regrettable
They were way overhyped.
The Eagles struggled early and never recovered. A four-game
winning streak at the end came too late and they finished 8-8,
missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and just the
fourth time in coach Andy Reid’s 13 seasons.
”It’s going to motivate us to work harder,” quarterback
Michael Vick said Monday. ”It’s very disappointing.”
After an offseason spending spree brought several accomplished
players to Philadelphia and added to a roster that already featured
Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson, the Eagles were the talk of
the NFL. They were defending NFC East champions and seemingly on
So when Young compared his new teammates to the Miami Heat, some
people scoffed but most expected the Eagles to make a serious run
at the first championship since 1960. Even team president Joe
Banner declared the Eagles ”all-in” and called this a Super
But the team quickly imploded.
”There were definitely red flags,” said defensive tackle
Cullen Jenkins, who won the Super Bowl with Green Bay last season.
”A lot of people see Super Bowl, or I think they let the fact that
the Super Bowl is there, and so many people talk about it right
away. You can hear people nowadays, they come out of the draft
talking about Super Bowl and I think it kind of gets thrown around
too loosely now.
”It’s obviously the ultimate goal in where you want to get to,
but you have to understand that you have to work hard. It’s
something that is a process and you have to take it each step at a
time to get to it and I think a lot of time people just want to
jump from preseason to the Super Bowl without doing what it takes
Various factors contributed to a four-game losing streak that
dropped the Eagles to 1-4 and doomed them from the beginning. Vick
couldn’t finish two games in September because of injuries, the
offense made critical turnovers and the defense struggled mightily
as new players tried to adjust to new defensive coordinator Juan
Finishing games was a problem, too. The Eagles lost five games
in which they led in the fourth quarter. One play could’ve made the
difference in a season where the division was mediocre. The Eagles
weren’t eliminated from playoff contention until right before their
next-to-last game kicked off and they ended up second behind the
New York Giants (9-7).
”It will be tough to sit at home and watch the playoffs, but we
have to maintain a positive outlook about what we could be and go
into the offseason knowing that we can play with the best teams in
the league,” wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. ”Philly is not
used to not being in the playoffs. I think guys will be hungry.
This offseason will be very critical for us and I think it will be
It’s uncertain whether the team will make major changes. Reid
was criticized heavily this season and many fans want him gone.
They chanted ”Fire Andy!” during a loss to New England. Reid
refused to discuss his future after Sunday’s game and wasn’t
available to reporters on Monday. He’s expected to return, but his
coaching staff may look different.
Castillo seemed completely overmatched in his first season
coaching defense after 13 years teaching the offensive linemen.
Reid’s decision to promote Castillo defied logic and was intensely
scrutinized throughout the year. Castillo’s defense played well
during the final four games, but it came against lesser
competition. The quarterbacks the Eagles beat were Matt Moore, Mark
Sanchez, Stephen McGee and Rex Grossman.
”I think he did a nice job,” Reid said. ”The defense played
strong, and I thought he was proud of his coaches and players. They
all played well and coached well.”
That’s hardly an endorsement.
Rumors already are swirling that the Eagles will hire Steve
Spagnuolo to replace Castillo. Spagnuolo was fired Monday after
going 10-38 as the head coach in St. Louis. He was an assistant
under longtime Eagles coordinator Jim Johnson and was defensive
coordinator for the New York Giants when they beat Tom Brady and
the previously undefeated New England Patriots in the 2008 Super
For now, it’s just speculation. Reid isn’t talking and neither
As for personnel changes, the Eagles may not be too far off.
They were the only team in the league whose offense (fourth) and
defense (eighth) ranked in the Top 10.
Jackson and cornerback Asante Samuel are the biggest names that
may not return. Jackson heads into free agency after a tumultuous
year. He held out for a new contract in training camp, was
deactivated for a game for disciplinary reasons and had his
”I think I have learned a lot about how this is a business and
professionally how to come to work and not let things affect me,”
Jackson said. ”I can admit to certain things affecting me during
the season. I just want to apologize. I could have handled things a
little differently. Now, sitting here after the season is over, I
can sit here and say I was able to put things behind me and fight
for my teammates and this organization. I know that something good
will come out of this situation. I was able to get to that and move
forward. We will see how it plays out.”
Samuel was the odd man out after the Eagles acquired Nnamdi
Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The trio didn’t mesh
together. Samuel criticized management in October and likely will
Unless Reid or Castillo join him on the way out, fans won’t be