Decisions ahead for Eagles

The Eagles have some difficult decisions to make in the offseason. That coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb are retrurning seems like a certainty, even though McNabb wants to sit down with management, presumablty to discuss a new contract.

After Sunday's game, team president Joe Banner said Reid and McNabb have always had the "absolute support" of the front office.

Still, other issues loom for the Birds. They have seven unrestricted free agents and two restricted free agents.

Unrestricted free agents: Correll Buckhalter, Sean Considine, Brian Dawkins, Joselio Hanson, Jon Runyan, L.J. Smith, Tra Thomas

Restricted free agents: Hank Baskettt, Nick Cole

With Dawkins making his seventh Pro Bowl, while also making it clear he isn’t looking to break the bank, that decision would seem to be the easiest. Thomas had a strong year in pass protection, though he might have been part of the reason why the Birds couldn’t run the ball effectively much of the time. Runyan, a valiant warrior, might be just about used up. It seems apparent that Smith has played his last game as an Eagle.

A few other things we're talking about in the aftermath of the Eagles' loss to Arizona:

* Can this current regime ever win a championship? As we heard over and over again, the opportunities to get to this point are precious. Letting another go to waste has to only re-open the previous scars, especially for the six players who have been a part of the Eagles for all five NFC title games.

* Defensive struggles. A defense that had given up just 65 points in its last 6 games and hadn’t allowed a touchdown pass in 5 games, gave up 24 first-half points and couldn’t prevent a game-winning 14-play scoring drive at the end.

* The kicker. Usually reliable David Akers missed a point-after and a 47-yard field goal attempt and sent a kickoff out of bounds.

* Another missed comeback opportunity for McNabb. The Eagles quarterback brought his team back from a 24-6 halftime deficit, but couldn’t engineer a game-winning drive at the end.

* Tough day for Quintin Demps. The rookie safety, who got his most reps of the season, got beat for a 62-yard touchdown by Larry Fitzgerald, and later was flagged for a late hit on Kurt Warner.


Also on Eagletarian:

Paul Domowitch's Eagles-Cardinals Report Card

Andy Reid: It's a shame, plus our poll of painful Eagles losses

Les Bowen's game recap as it happened