Philadelphia Eagles News

Could As-Is Eagles Win It All?

The answer is likely a "no," based on the 8-8 record compiled in 2011. The Eagles fell short for a variety of reasons, a total team effort, and now the effort to march forward bigger, better and stronger for 2012.

But for the fun of it, why not have the conversation? It is something the Eagles have to think about as they look at the roster. They have to evaluate things honestly and not fall in love with their players.

How far away are they? Right now. As is.

The offense can score points on any defense, but there are certainly improvements needed. The turnovers must be minimized and the red-zone efficiency must improve. The Eagles went up and down the field last season but stubbed their toes too many times with turnovers, with penalties, with a lack of attention to detail.

Quarterback Michael Vick is good enough to win the Super Bowl, no question about that. He has the talent, he has the drive, he has the intelligence and he has the game. The skill positions are clearly good enough to win, and the offensive line, in year two and with a season of continuity together, should be outstanding.

From a scheme standpoint, well, there are always changes made but the foundation is proven, in place and highly-successful.

Top to bottom, the offense is sound enough to win a Super Bowl right now. Agree? I'd like to hear otherwise.

Defensively, clearly, there are some spots that need to be upgraded, particularly in the back seven. Would a year of seasoning push Casey Matthews, Brian Rolle and the young linebackers into a new level of performance? How much healthier will Nate Allen be two years out from his knee injury? What does a full offseason do for Jaiquawn Jarrett?

The cornerbacks have the talent, no doubt, but if the Eagles bring them all back what does coordinator Juan Castillo do with three high-level starters when only two are on the field much of the time?

There are many more questions about the defense, including Castillo two seasons into his new position.

Bobby April's special teams have the makeup to improve dramatically with second-year kickers Alex Henery and Chas Henry, but is the return game up to snuff as is? That's a focal area, along with bringing in competition for Henry to raise his performance.

As is are the Eagles capable of winning the Super Bowl? I would tell you yes, but it's an optimistic view and a realistic historical fact that the NFL is an ever-changing league and that teams like the Giants can win it all with a 9-7 record in the regular season.

Of course, things aren't going to remain the same for the Eagles. But they started this offseason evaluating that very question: Can we win it all with the roster we have now? From there, upgrades are added.

I will maintain what I said after the 2011 season ended: The Eagles aren't that far away. They aren't worth blowing up. It appears that the men who make the decisions agree, that the tactic ahead is to address the current roster first -- retaining as many of their soon-to-be free agents as possible, re-signing current players under contract -- then dabbling in free agency before hitting the draft hard.

What are we going to see in the days ahead? Not sure about that one. Maybe the Eagles will get a deal done with one of their current players. Maybe they will retain one who is about to step into free agency. Maybe they're going to keep adding some of these roster-competition young players like offensive tackle D.J. Jones (from Baltimore) and linebacker Monte Simmons (from San Francisco) before free agency begins.

They aren't, and I never like to guarantee anything but on this one I will, going to make a run at quarterback Peyton Manning, who reportedly will be released by the Colts this week. That ain't happening. Vick is the quarterback here and the team is rallying around him.

In the big picture, the basic premise is this: How does the roster stack up and how can the Eagles build the best 53 they can build? It is a game to play in the slow moments before free agency begins, the one that answers a pretend question.

Can the Eagles win it all as they are constructed now?

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