It is a future that requires the Eagles to make some significant improvements to a roster that yielded an 8-8 record, as well as to address the coaching staff and the personnel department. This is a fascinating time, as I see it.
We know a few things in this oh-so-quiet Eagles offseason. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is going to remain here after he was the subject of conversation with head coaching opportunities in Oakland (for which he interviewed) and Indianapolis (he is apparently not on the radar in Tampa Bay, which is still an open job as of this moment). The Eagles have an opening for a cornerbacks coach, and there hasn't been a name associated with that opening. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said very little about the coaching situation while in Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl.
This is the time when we go a little bit crazy. What are the Eagles doing? What are they thinking? Here is what is on the top of my mind with one game remaining in the NFL's 2011 season ...
- The Eagles reportedly claimed and were awarded offensive tackle D.J. Jones from Baltimore this week. The move isn't official yet, so this is just idle chatter for the most part. I don't know much about the guy other than he has good size and spent his rookie season on the practice squads of Miami and Baltimore, with a portion of 2011 on the Ravens' active roster. He's a right tackle, or at least he was at Nebraska. Jones was a fantastic high school player who seems to be a late bloomer. If he becomes an Eagle, which is all but official, it will be interesting to see what Howard Mudd does with him.
- Looking forward to seeing what the Eagles do, if anything, with quarterback Trent Edwards, the former Buffalo Bill (and, briefly, Jacksonville Jaguar) whom they worked out a couple of weeks ago. Edwards was a high draft pick who had his ups and downs in Buffalo, as many quarterbacks do. I like the idea of working him out and signing him. I would like to see what the coaching staff could do with a highly-rated quarterback still in his prime who was out of football all of 2011.
- I give Juan Castillo a ton of credit for the way he has handle the mysterious state of the Eagles' defensive coordinator situation. Head coach Andy Reid hasn't met the media since the day of the win over Washington, and his silence has led to all kinds of speculation. Castillo is going about his job as a professional and he answered questions the best he could in Mobile. He is the Eagles' defensive coordinator and Castillo has a big job in front of him this season.
- Any sense of where the Eagles will go with three draft picks in the first two rounds in April's draft? No idea. I honestly think just about every position is possible, and, of course, a lot depends on free agency. The Eagles can be aggressive if they choose in free agency and land a couple of impact players. I know everybody thinks they are going to have to go defense, no doubt about it, but I'm not so sure. Just add good players, no matter the position.
Brandon Grahamunderstands. He gets it. And I think he is doing something about it. The soon-to-be third-year defensive end is in the weight room already and he is saying and doing all the right things to blossom in 2012. Graham knows that he will be forever compared to New York's Jason Pierre-Paul, a Pro Bowl end who is a dominating player. Graham has plenty of motivation to be the best he can be and it is good to see him in the weight room.
- Give me a huge tennis tournament over just about anything on television these days. The Australian Open has been awesome. I've been big into tennis the last two years and I'm immersed in the sport. Great drama and great athletes Down Under.
- My wish list for the Eagles, which is likely to change many times in the coming weeks: In no particular order, I want ... a quarterback, a third running back, a big wide receiver, another defensive end, a linebacker or two and a long look at safety. And, maybe right near the top of the list, a huge upgrade in the return game.
- So where does Mornhinweg take this Eagles offense in 2012? Into the end zone, let's hope. The emphasis moving forward should not be on scheme changes, just tweaks, and more important making sure the players perform with confidence and that they make ball security a huge priority. The area to improve from a scheme and production standpoint is in the red zone, which is why I would love to see a big target added for quarterback