In an effort to find a silver lining (green and silver, that is) in this past weekend of NFL Wild Card games that didn’t include our Philadelphia Eagles, I was able to come up with a few potential positives.
As I watched the New York Giants dominate the suddenly meek Atlanta Falcons, I couldn’t help but lament the fact that had we just blown one less game, that would have been the Eagles playing the Falcons in Philly.
But alas, that’s neither here nor there. No use crying over spilled milk (or 38 turnovers, or five blown 4th quarter leads, or the hiring of Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator, or the frustrating lack of linebacker talent, or…you get the point).
So, what positive thoughts can we draw from the outcomes of Wild Card Weekend?
First up is the (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) dominant play from the Giants’ defense. Why is that a good thing for the Eagles? Well, it’s only a good thing if you had any concern whatsoever that Steve Spagnuolo might return to the Meadowlands.
Bryan Burwell, of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, wrote a good article about a recent interview with Spagnuolo. The key points to take away from the interview are that multiple teams have contacted Spags, he has not received a formal job offer yet, and his wife Maria said there’s no way he will take a year off from coaching.
The other news worthy item was that Spags was leaving on Saturday for a four-day vacation. Obviously then, he will not be making any quick decisions about his future.
One could speculate that it’s possible Spagnuolo wanted to wait to see what openings there might be after the first round of the playoffs. Especially if the Giants lost and perhaps did not put on a good defensive showing.
Well, after watching New York’s defense pitch a shutout, I think it’s safe to say that Perry Fewell’s job should be safe. I still believe that should be the case even if they get lit up by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round.
Even though nothing is for certain, I feel a little better about the Giants not being an option for Spagnuolo. And that could be very good for Philly.
Spags is the defensive coordinator I want leading the Eagles’ defense in 2012.
Next up is the Detroit Lions and their 45-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Again, how does this benefit the Eagles exactly?
Glad you asked!
The Lions now have a solid foundation for a playoff caliber team. They have an explosive offense that has no trouble putting points on the board. They also have a pretty good defensive line that can get after the quarterback.
However, their pass defense is one of their weak spots.
Detroit ranked 22nd against the pass in the NFL in 2011. They gave up an average of 239 yards per game and 26 total touchdowns.
The Lions’ pass defense was also torn apart by Drew Brees and the Saints to the tune of 459 yards and three touchdowns (should have been four). Brees can have his way with most NFL defenses but this is the taste that will be sitting in the Lions’ mouths the entire offseason.
They will likely have the idea in their head that if they can sure-up their secondary, they will be able to compete with the likes of the Packers and Saints next year.
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported that, last offseason, the Eagles had a deal in place with the Lions to send them Asante Samuel in return for two second-day draft picks.
It was initially thought that the deal fell through because Eagles GM Howie Roseman wanted a first-round pick instead. However, McLane found out that the deal fell apart for “other reasons” rather than draft pick compensation.
Now, who knows what these “other reasons” were. It could have been something significant that would mean there is no possibility the two teams will revisit trade talks. Or, it could have been something minor at the time and the door is still open for a possible trade.
The things we do know are that the Eagles are willing to trade Samuel, the Lions need help in their secondary, and the two sides have previously spoken about a deal.
And given the way the Lions defended the pass this season, the compensation package certainly shouldn’t have lowered. If anything, maybe the price has gone up a little bit.
If the Eagles can garner two second-day draft picks for Samuel this offseason, that would be quite a coup. Nowadays, second-day picks are considered second and third-rounders (it was only two years ago that a “second-day pick” was considered a 4th – 7th rounder).
Ultimately, I might be grasping at straws here in trying to read the tea leaves about what may transpire over the next few months.
However, if the Eagles were able to land Steve Spagnuolo and get a third-round pick (or more) for Samuel, I’d consider those pretty good moves for this offseason.