What are the biggest offseason questions facing the Eagles? ESPN's *Mike and Mike In The Morning *is looking at the most pressing issues facing each and every NFL team and they discussed the Eagles' biggest offseason needs. Here is a look at their five questions that the Eagles have to answer and what the future outlook is for this team.
1. Did the Eagles make the right move franchising Michael Vick?
Former Eagles defensive tackle and co-host Mike Golic believes the Eagles did "absolutely the right thing" when it comes to Vick. Of course, the one thing that was not mentioned in the segment was that the Eagles had NO OTHER OPTION. Team president Joe Banner explained that there was a little-known rule in the uncapped year of 2010 that stated if a player earned a raise of more than 30 percent from 2009 then the team could not even negotiate a new deal or long-term extension. The Eagles either had to franchise Vick or let him test free agency. That is a very important distinction.
"You want to keep this guy. And what they get with the franchise tag, if it holds (pending the new Collective Bargaining Agreement), is another year, pay the guy a lot of money for the one year, and see if he can do it again because his year was just fantastic. Nobody saw this one coming," Golic said. "If he can have another good year, then they'll have to sign him to a longer-term deal. But this was absolutely the right move."
2. Is DeSean Jackson the league's most dangerous offensive player?
The third-year wide receiver earned votes for the *Associated Press *Offensive Player of the Year Award, the one in which Vick finished second in the voting. But the fact that Jackson also received votes indicates that he is respected around the league as one of the premier offensive weapons.
"It's tough to think he isn't. I mean receptions alone, he averaged over 22 yards a catch and we all see what he does when you punt him the ball especially late in the game," Golic said. "Every time he gets his hands on the ball whether it's an out route, a go route, a punt return, he's a threat to score. He is right there as the most dangerous guy in the league."
3. What kind of impact will defensive coordinator Juan Castillo have on the team?
Many people don't know that Golic played under the late Jim Johnson, who was the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame when Golic attended the school. Golic would love to see Castillo get the Eagles defense back to the level it performed at under Johnson.
"When (Jim Johnson) passed away, the defense hasn't been the same so let's see what they can get back to," Golic said. "Thirty-nine sacks for the year (in 2010), that's certainly a nice number. Trent Cole led the way with 10. Fourteen different players had sacks, so we'll see the style he brings and how the players adjust to that. This was a once-feared defense under Jim Johnson. It has not been so much lately. Let's see if Juan can bring that back."
4. What is the Eagles' No. 1 priority either in free agency or the draft?
Golic noted that ESPN's draft experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay each have the Eagles selecting Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi with the No. 23 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
"He may be a right tackle more than a left tackle, but certainly could be a mauler at guard as well for a team that usually has a nice, big offensive line," Golic said noting that the right tackle would protect Vick's blindside.
Fellow co-host Mike Greenberg chimed in by stating that for Vick to continue his development as a pocket passer he needs a better offensive line.
"I'm just thinking logically. If you're franchising Vick, if your franchise is going to be thinking you want to continue to develop him as a pocket passer, what do you need for that? You need a pocket," Greenberg said. "And in order to have a good pocket, you need to have a good offensive line."
Golic, as a former defensive player, also added that the Eagles could use some help at outside linebacker but said in the first round of the draft there isn't a good value pick at No. 23.
5. Is the Eagles' stock rising or falling?
The Eagles were 10-6 in 2010 and won the NFC East. Golic and Greenberg said that the key for continued success in 2011 and hopefully a run at the Super Bowl lies with how Vick improves.
"If you think he can do that again, he had an unbelievable year, can he do that again because the pieces of the puzzle - listen, DeSean Jackson - fantastic. Still not a huge running game. They were fifth in the league in rushing. A lot of that certainly is Michael Vick," Golic said. "LeSean McCoy, is he going to be the guy? He did go over 1,000 (yards), did average over five yards per rush. I love Shady McCoy. Remember Brian Westbrook, they never really gave the opportunity to run the rock. They'll do that with McCoy."
Greenberg is a firm believer that Vick can still improve, but realizes that a potential work stoppage could impact that development.
"I don't think there's any reason to think he isn't just going to get better as he continues to develop in that offense. Now, if the league really shuts itself down and he can't work with Andy Reid and that offensive coaching staff, that hurts him," Greenberg said. "Andy Reid is a great offensive coach."
Greenberg concluded that the Eagles are still the team to beat in the NFC East. Golic had one caveat - that the defense must take a step forward.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 9:30 a.m., March 3