Defense Should Be The Priority For Philadelphia Eagles

By OJ Spivey
Charles LeClaire-USA Today

The big concern for Philadelphia Eagles fans is Michael Vick being awarded on more chance by the new coaching regime. Yes, more often than not, the quarterback is the key to winning a Super Bowl, but if anyone has watched this team over the last two years, they can see that Vick maybe the least its problems.

It is the dreadful Eagles defense which is probably much more responsible for this team’s woes than what’s going on offensively. The unit needs everything the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion requested in The Wizard Of Oz and so on. It’s a defense that played with a lack heart, courage and at times without a brain.

It’s fair to say the Eagles defense hasn’t been good since defensive coordinator Jim Johnson passed away and also the departure of Brian Dawkins nearly five years ago. The fact that there’s been three coordinators who succeeded Johnson is a key sign of a bad unit. Sean McDermott’s two seasons weren’t great, but looking back, they weren’t too bad either.

Where it really went downhill was the premature hiring of defensive line coach Jim Washburn and his infamous Wide Nine, which no team in the NFL runs with any success and that completely scared away all the good, respected coordinators. At that point, only Juan Castillo, whose specialty is the offensive line, wanted the job and that didn’t turn out well.

Now that the nightmare of defensive coaches are gone, there’s quite a mess to clean up. Chip Kelly brought in Billy Davis, who’s not a household name, to rebuild the defense and create a new identity. Tom Gamble, the new player personnel director, must weed out the garbage and bring in playmakers via the draft and or free agency.

The first decisions will be deciding what to do with the two starting cornerbacks, free agent Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and heavily-paid Nnamdi Asomugha. Rodgers-Cromartie has a lot of talent, but it only comes in spurts. Would he be worth re-signing? Asomugha has been an awful disappointment and a big waste of money, and the team will take a big salary cap hit if Asomugha is let go. Equally as important is finding a pair of safeties who, at the very least, belong in the pros. Nate Allen is a bust and Kurt Coleman is at best a special teamer.

Do the Eagles stand pat with the fourth overall selection in this year’s draft and pick Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Dee Milliner? Do they also take chance and try to lure San Francisco 49ers free agent safety Dashon Goldson? Also, Who will rush the passer? Is Trent Cole on his last legs? Will it be second year guys Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Vinny Curry? Clearly the Eagles have their work cut out for them defensively and it’s not likely to be fixed overnight.

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