On Monday, Eagles coach Andy Reid pushed back against the gloom patrol, reminding everyone that the Eagles window is still wide open:
“People perceive us to be an old football team but we’re really not an old football team.” he said on his radio show. “We’re one of the youngest teams in the [NFL]. That takes time.”
Unfortunately, that’s just not as true as it sounds. The Eagles are young, but the core of the team is actually reaching the end of their prime, with few replacements on the way.
The Eagles have 14 players on the roster who are currently 29 or older. Some of them may still have two or three more good years left in them but there are no guarantees in the NFL. Tell me how comfortable you are losing these guys in the near future:
- Brown, Ronnie (29)
- Cole, Trent (29)
- Herremans, Todd (29)
- Peters, Jason (29)
- Asomugha, Nnamdi (30)
- Hanson, Joselio (30)
- Jenkins, Cullen (30)
- Mathis, Evan (30)
- Samuel, Asante (30)
- Babin, Jason (31)
- Dorenbos, Jon (31)
- Jackson, Jamaal (31)
- Vick, Michael (31)
- Parker, Juqua (33)
Let’s see… That’s three starting offensive linemen, including both tackles. Three starting defensive linemen. Three of the top four cornerbacks. Oh, and a $100-million quarterback.
Even scarier, can you pick out any of these players (besides maybe Brown, Hanson & Jackson) and tell me who his replacement is going to be? The Eagles have no quarterback of the future. With DE Brandon Graham’s return from injury still an open question, they don’t have a single promising young linemen on the team ready to take over at offensive tackle or defensive end. Do you trust Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at cornerback? What about Brandon Hughes or Curtis Marsh?
And it’s not like many other positions are bursting with young talent. With the possible exception of Brian Rolle, not a single linebacker looks like more than a backup. There are three young safeties, but none have them have shown they can play at higher than replacement level. C Jason Kelce looks like a keeper, but his fellow rookie G Danny Watkins, 27, isn’t exactly a spring chicken.
The only place where the Eagles have proven youngsters is at the offensive skill positions. Unfortunately, it’s not clear how long that group will stay together. The DeSean Jackson departure appears imminent and Jeremy Maclin has never proven he can be a top wide receiver. Why the Eagles haven’t already thrown gobs of money at LeSean McCoy is beyond me.
It’s discouraging to glance up and down the Eagles roster. The short term outlook is bleak, with this season likely to go down as the worst in Reid’s tenure. And as to the future… there just isn’t much to look forward to.
Almost two seasons have passed since I wrote about Reid’s third 5-year plan. So far, that plan has failed.