Now to wrap up the NFC East in our league-wide interview series, we have a few Q&A's with JimmyK from Bleeding Green Nation, the Philadelphia Eagles SB Nation site. Read on to see what Jimmy had to say about his Philadelphia Eagles.
Jon: After the 2009 season and the turmoil with McNabb leaving, what were your expectations heading into the 2010 season?
Jimmy: When the Eagles traded McNabb, they thought that Kevin Kolb was ready to play at a high level. I was a believer in Kevin Kolb before the 2010 season, and remain a believer in Kevin Kolb now. I expected Kolb to mostly play well, but was realistic that the Eagles' extremely young offense would experience "growing pains." I thought they could compete for the NFC East title, but knew that the Cowboys would likely present the biggest challenge.Jon: How much of a surprise was Vick’s performance in the Packers game and eventually the 2010 season?
Jimmy: Nobody realistically thought Michael Vick would do what he did last year. In 2009, the Eagles used Vick sporadically, and mostly ineffectively as a wildcat QB. He got his chance when Kolb sustained a concussion Week 1, and basically made it impossible for Reid to go back to Kolb in route to being the NFL MVP runner-up to Tom Brady.
Jon: How does the quarterback situation look for 2011? Will Vick stay as the starter or will Kolb get his chance?
Jimmy: Vick is the starter, and no, there won't be any open competition. The Eagles franchised Vick, so he'll make just under $16 million this season. Nobody that makes that kind of money is going to ride the pine. Once this lockout nonsense gets resolved, the Eagles will look to trade Kolb, with the Cardinals being the most likely trade partner.
Jon: After the end of the season, the Eagles fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. What were the problems the Eagles were having on defense to warrant this? How do you feel about the new defensive coordinator?
Jimmy: The Eagles' red zone defense was beyond atrocious. They gave up TD's on 77% of opponents' trips into the red zone in 2010, which is just flat-out gross. The last team to have a red zone defense that bad was the 1988 Houston Oilers. McDermott's scheme was very complex, and he often got a little too cute with his play calling, having premier pass rushers like Trent Cole dropping into coverage and such. We don't really know what the new defense will look like just yet, but the rhetoric from the Eagles coaches is that they they are going to simplify things a bit and just let the players play.
The hiring of Juan Castillo certainly raised eyebrows. Castillo has been the Eagles' OL coach for the past 13 years, and he'll now move to the other side of the ball. While he has primarily worked on the offensive side of the ball for most of his career, he's been a football coach for almost 30 years and knows the game inside and out. I know that the red zone can't possibly get any worse.
Jon: What are your feelings on the Eagles draft? What is your favorite pick? Are there any picks you didn’t like?
Jimmy: The general consensus on first round pick Danny Watkins is extremely positive - Tough kid, smart, and is drawing comparisons to Logan Mankins. He'll immediately fill a gaping hole at RG. However, I just can't get past the fact that he's currently 26 years old, and will be 32 when his rookie contract is done. The Eagles cut players into their 30's - It just doesn't make a ton of sense to me.
My favorite pick was actually a pick that has been criticized by some, kicker Alex Henery. I've always felt that the kicker position is extraordinarily underrated, and the Eagles drafted the best one to come out in years.
Jon: Finally, what do the Eagles need to do in free agency to go deeper into the playoffs?
Jimmy: The Eagles don't have a legitimate starting CB opposite Asante Samuel. Obviously, the best free agent this offseason is Raider CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Of course any fan is going to say they want their team to go hard after a premium player like Asomugha, but the Eagles have just ONE player on their entire roster that is set to make $6 million or more in 2011. They are in as good a position to make a strong run at Asomugha as any team in the NFL, and I suspect they will. Asomugha and Samuel would be a scary CB tandem.
I'd like to thank JimmyK for taking the time to answer these questions. And for more on the Philadelphia Eagles, check out SB Nation's Bleeding Green Nation.