|The 1998-1999 season is over, and many associated with the team, from the owner
to the fans, are glad. Now comes the hard part for everyone associated at the upper
level of the organization, and its results will be scrutinized by the Philadelphia media
and Eagles fans. The next step is getting the right personnel on the team to win
football, and hopefully a few championships. Right now that is a major issue for the
Reminances of the past have started to fade with the firing of Ray Rhodes and the recent hiring of Andy Reid as his replacement. Currently, Reid is putting together his staff, and once he is finished with that task, all of the Eagles new coaching staff will start reviewing tapes of the current players on the team. This staff will have to decide who are the players to definite keep on the roster, as well as those that are on the bubble, and those who need to find a new place to call their home. If you ask a majority of the fans who should go, you will receive a laundry list of players who need to be canned. However the fans look at it, there is still a nucleus of players on the team to build around them. First we will take a look at the players to keep to build the team around; the players who are on the bubble; and those players who won't be around next year. All the players will not be discussed here, but many of the many players on the team.
Even though this past season was a disaster, there was a couple of bright lights. On offense, you can look no further than the backfield with Duce Staley. He showed the fans he is for real. There are probably not many backs in the league who would have player many games with a hernia, but Staley played about half of his games with it. In the process, he gained over a 1,000 yards rushing and was the leading receiver. You have to take notice of those type of statistics, especially with a painful injury. The other one on offense is Tra Thomas, the Eagles first round pick of 1998. The Eagles finally got something right with their first selection in a draft. Drafting first-round players for the Eagles has been tragic over the years. This year's choice was a blessing. the more he plays, the better he will get. That is about all for the offense. Let's now take a look at the defense.
One of the Eagles strong points has been its secondary. While Zordich will probably not be around next year, the Eagles have a solid corp of youngsters. The other three starters are definitely going to be here next year. They are cornerbacks Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor, and free safety Brian Dawkins. The nickel back for the Eagles was a good find by Tom Modrak, off the waiver wire from Tampa Bay. His name is Al Harris. Hugh Douglas will be one of the others who will definitely play are part in the next Eagles season.
The biggest question for the Eagles has to be at quarterback. Bobby Hoying may be on the bubble. His contract is up and now it is time for the Eagles to consider keeping him or not. Rodney Peete will probably not be back next season, as Reid will look for someone younger. It is rumored that Green Bay's backup Doug Pederson could be coming to the Eagles. That would definitely push Peete out the door. A couple of others that will probably get the boot are the kickers. Chris Boniol has been a flop since his arrival, and Tommy Hutton has a problem getting punts inside the 20-yard line area. Eagles need more production out of these two positions. Already this off-season, the Eagles have acquired a punter, Tony Martino, who has played his pro ball in the CFL.
As far as the rest of the team, many on the offensive and defensive lines will be on the bubble, except for Thomas, Everitt, and Douglas. The linebacking corp may seem some changes.
Sure this is only my opinion, we should start seeing what the direction the Eagles want to go in early February, as the free agency period will get into full swing. However, any way you look at it, the Eagles will have a very different look from this past season.