Philadelphia Eagles: How They Took the Wrong Approach to the 2012 Season

Phil PompeiContributor IIINovember 13, 2012

You messed up this time, Jeff.
You messed up this time, Jeff.Handout/Getty Images

It's over.

For the second time in as many seasons, the Eagles stand at 3-6 through their first nine games. After making the playoffs in nine out of 11 seasons from 2000 to 2010, the Eagles are on the verge of missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since Bill Clinton was president.

The result of these unfortunate circumstances will be major change. The most successful coach in franchise history will likely be fired the Monday morning following the season's conclusion. The embattled franchise quarterback will be released in a similarly timely fashion, and the position will be held by a young man with a seven-game resume. The Eagles will be in full rebuilding mode, and a two- to three-year hiatus from the playoffs may be in the cards.

This is a sad state of affairs. What is even sadder is what a waste this 2012 season turned out to be.

The city of Philadelphia came into this season with high hopes for this franchise. This is odd, since a case can be made that the Eagles were coming off what may have been the most disappointing season for the team since 1998's 3-13 debacle. Though the Eagles finished with a mediocre 8-8 record, they were 4-8 after 12 games and collected four meaningless wins against four bad teams to finish the campaign. This hollow winning streak led Eagles' brass and fans alike to believe that the team figured it out in the end and would come back like a monster in the following year.

Nobody should have believed this. The Eagles were bad in 2011, and they made no substantial changes to that bad team going into the 2012 season.

Andy Reid made one of the biggest blunders of his career by installing an offensive line coach as his defensive coordinator going into 2011, and he brought him back in 2012.

Michael Vick was obviously figured out midway through the 2010 season and had a mediocre year in 2011, but the cockeyed optimists in the front office decided that he would go back to his 2010 form by sheer magic.

When the Eagles' best offensive lineman went down with a serious injury, they signed a failed retread as his replacement and stated that the offensive line would be just as good this way.

As idiotic and untrue as Vince Young's "Dream Team" comments were in the 2011 preseason, the organization was still buying into that logic going into 2012. This year's team, like last year's, was based entirely on false hope.

Had the organization been sensible and seen 2011 for what it was, we may be that much further into the rebuilding process now and, in turn, that much closer to the playoffs.

Mike Vick should not have been back this year. After a season and a half of underachievement, he should have been sent walking at the end of last year. Instead of drafting a project like Nick Foles, the Eagles could have gone with a sounder pick such as Brock Osweiler, or even Ryan Tannehill if they moved up.

The Eagles should have drafted a blue-chip linebacker such as Dont'a Hightower or Courtney Upshaw instead of trading for a recently injured big name.

The team could take its lumps this season and line themselves up for a good draft in 2013, perhaps grabbing a safety with their first-round pick and then looking for a defensive end and a solid offensive lineman in the second and third rounds.

This scenario would give the Eagles a 2014 team consisting of a young QB with plenty of weapons and a solid, homegrown defense.

Unfortunately, this scenario was not an avenue pursued by the Eagles organization. After going "all-in" with a bunch of mercenaries in 2011 and having the project blow up in their faces, the Eagles decided to channel the definition of insanity by repeating the same failed strategy.

Floating in the mushroom cloud hovering above the failed experiment is a head coach's career, a QB position that is as uncertain as the November weather and a defense without a direction.

The good part to going "all-in" is that if you win, you double your money. The bad part of it is that if you lose, then all your chips are gone and you are out of the game.

The Eagles came up on the wrong side of "all-in," and the only game they left is the game that nobody wants to play...

The waiting game.