The Eagles will take on the Buffalo Bills later today in their season finale. The playoffs are out of the question for both clubs. It's truly a meaningless game, unless you happen to wear an Eagles' jersey or headset. The team seems bound and determined to prove the first 13 games of the season were nothing more than a fluke. A series of bad breaks mostly caused by a certain quarterback's slow recovery from a terrible injury suffered in 2006.
"Look at the last three games!" They'll cry over the offseason. As if these three games should carry more weight than the first 13. Today's game is going to be a win. Donovan McNabb will probably look very good in this game, and everyone involved will smile his way off the field. If the team could write the headlines, every single one would say, "The Eagles Are Back! Wait 'Til Next Year!"
It's a sham. It's a smokescreen. Certain members of the team have made great strides, without a doubt. Brian Westbrook has established himself as possibly the best running back in the NFL, certainly in the top 3. The young guys on defense have stepped up their game. Brent Celek may have showed the organization that letting L.J. Smith and his injuries hobble away in the offseason isn't the end of the world. Beyond that, we're in the exact same boat we were 4 weeks ago when the sky was falling down.
This team is not a Super Bowl contender as constructed. It starts with Donovan McNabb, and/or the wide receivers. Take your pick. If McNabb is going to be the QB, you need at least 1 game-changing wide receiver. If you're going to go with the same WR crew, you need a different QB. It's as simple as that. On defense, you need some playmakers at the WR position and some depth in the defensive backfield. This has not changed. This will not change between now and opening day of 2008.
If the Eagles organization spends the offseason thinking they have the foundation for a contending team (or completely distracted and on a leave of absence to tend to personal matters in the Big House), we're going to be in for another .500 season next year, if we're lucky.
Changes need to be made.
There, I said it. Now let's sit down, forget about the future and enjoy the last 60 minutes of meaningful-ish football we'll get to see this season as Eagles' fans. This may be the last time we see good old number 5 in an Eagles uniform, maybe he'll deliver a game for the ages.
Let's Go Birds.