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A to-do list for the Philadelphia Eagles


As this Eagles season continues on with the weekly beatings of bad teams and the one loss to a good team, there are some concerns the team needs to address sooner rather than later.

Let’s start on the offensive side of the ball where the future looks brighter every week with the emergence of Jeremy Maclin to team with DeSean Jackson at wide receiver and Brent Celek at tight end.

One of the first things the team needs to do off the field is get fullback Leonard Weaver’s name on a long-term contract.

Weaver, the free agent the team signed this offseason from Seattle, has been everything the team wanted. He can block, he showed what he could do as a receiver last week against Tampa Bay, and he can run when asked. He’s also a good influence for the young players in the locker room.

When the team signed Weaver to a one-year deal, he had the chance to be the best fullback in the Andy Reid Era, if not ever, the way he’s playing right now he’s also the best in the NFL.

Get him signed long term.

Alter the wildcat offense: I was leaning toward scrapping it altogether, but like most things in life there is a time and a place for it. What I don’t want to see is direct snaps to DeSean Jackson. Let him deal with cornerbacks and safeties, he doesn’t need to get banged around by linebackers and defensive linemen.

Use Michael Vick, with Donovan McNabb’s blessing, but don’t put him in just to hand off to Brian Westbrook. If you’re going to use Vick, use him, option him. Run a play with Vick, Westbrook, LeSean McCoy and Jackson on the field at the same time and watch the fear in the defense’s eyes.

For that matter last week there were hints, from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg no less, that Westbrook and McCoy could be used together in the same backfield.

Do it.

Mornhinweg talked about it would force the defense make a choice, it would do more than that. Line up Westbrook in the backfield and McCoy in the slot, or vice versa. Line them up in the backfield and send one in motion.

“What we could out of those formations is endless,’’ Mornhinweg said.

Set the offensive line: A three-guard rotation works in the NBA. In the NFL, I’m not so sure. The Eagles have used Stacy Andrews, Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles in tandem so far this year. They seem to like it, but there’s a reason the running game hasn’t been better and maybe that’s it.

Starting left guard Todd Herremans is due back in a few weeks as well. He won’t play Sunday in Oakland, but he has targeted the Monday night game in Washington. What does the team do then? A four-guard rotation is even more absurd.

Unless Herremans moves to right tackle for Winston Justice. That’s probably a move for 2010. For now the Eagles need to determine who their two best guards are, and play them. The guess here is that it will be Herremans and Andrews, but don’t count out the feisty Cole.

Too late now: The team should have seen its shortcomings at middle linebacker and free safety during the preseason and either traded for or picked up a free agent then.

Hey, Jeremiah Trotter is a heck of a feel-good story, but let’s face it he’s not the Axe Man any more. He played 19 plays against a bad Tampa Bay team and did not do a thing. The team is probably right in thinking that undersized Omar Gaither needs to be spelled to make it through a 16-game season, especially with six games against an NFC East which still likes to run the ball, but I’m not sure Trotter is the answer.

At safety, Macho Harris is better than Quintin Demps, but that might be more of an indictment of Demps than it is praise of Harris.

Tampa Bay, with a young inexperienced quarterback in Josh Johnson, found ways to exploit Harris. Imagine what Eli Manning is going to do.

So what should the Eagles do to offset their two biggest weaknesses on defense? Do what they do best and just keep blitzing. It’s the best way to keep an offense out of rhythm and a quarterback under pressure.

“I’ve never seen so many zero blitzes,’’ cornerback Sheldon Brown said after the Tampa Bay game. “Even Jim (Johnson) never blitzed this much. Coach Sean (McDermott) was going after them.’’

It might be his only choice.

One more signing: Speaking of Brown, isn’t it time for the Eagles to give him something? If they don’t want to tear up his current deal, and give him a new one (the right thing to do), then at least alter his deal somewhat and reward him for playing the way he has.

I mean c’mon the guy is one of the best players on the team, one of their only true leaders, and has gone about his business on the field despite his displeasure off it. The Eagles could always use some good p.r. and giving Brown a new deal would go a long way in that direction as well.