Last week, the Inquirer's Jeff McLane combed the roster and offered his take on which Eagles should stay and which should go. As always, we at philly.com allowed you to have a chance to weigh in on our Stay or Go page. Click here to go vote if you haven't had an opportunity to do so. Or vote again. We won't stop you.
There was plenty of blame to spread around in a season that opened with such promise, but ended with such disappointment.
I didn't use any fancy math to interpret the results. If the majority of the votes (over 8,000 total, as of this writing) said a player should go, he went. If a majority said a player should stay, he stayed. Isn't democracy wonderful? To make it even easier for you, the reader, players voted to stay have been highlighted in green. A red highlight denotes a 'go' vote.
Let's dive into the numbers, comparing this year's results to last year's results:
|Quarterbacks||2011 Stay %||2012 Stay %||Change|
Voters' feelings on Vick were almost unchanged from last season, which surprised me. Last season, Vick seized the starting job after an injury to Kevin Kolb and never looked back. Vick reinvented himself, setting career highs in completions, completion percentage, passing touchdowns, passing yards and passer rating. This season, Vick struggled throughout the year with turnovers, injuries and finishing games in the fourth quarter, but that didn't hurt him in the eyes of our voters.
Young earns the dubious honor of lowest approval rating OF ANY PLAYER ON THE ROSTER. Only 7.6 percent of voters want the player who first uttered the "Dream Team" phrase back. Fans might have forgiven Young, had he not thrown nine interceptions when filling in for Vick.
|Running backs||2011 Stay %||2012 Stay %||Change|
One of the voters' easiest decisions had to be choosing whether McCoy should return for the final season of his current contract. McCoy established himself as one the NFL's best all-around running backs, scoring in 13 of the 15 games he played in, en route to franchise records for rushing touchdowns (17) and total touchdowns (20).
A majority of fans are comfortable with Schmitt and Lewis returning, but you overwhelmingly want the Ronnie Brown era to end after just one season. I'm sure fans wish their memories of Brown's run-pass option at the goal line against the 49ers could leave with him.
|Wide Receivers||2011 Stay %||2012 Stay %||Change|
The Eagles' biggest decision on offense this offseason is probably whether or not to bring back Jackson. Although Jackson's skill-set is unquestioned, the Eagles must figure out if he is worth paying what he thinks he deserves. Among the offensive skill players, Jackson's approval rating saw the greatest decrease; however, a majority of fans (73.2 percent) want to see Jackson in an Eagles uniform next season.
Actually, fans want to see most of the Eagles' receiving corps back next season. Maclin, Avant and Cooper were all over the 80 percent mark to stay. Even Hall rose over the 50 percent mark.
The only receiver fans want to see go is Smith. The Eagles capped off their free agent spending spree by prying Smith away from the Giants, but the signing never panned out, as he finished with just 11 receptions.
|Tight ends||2011 Stay %||2012 Stay %||Change|
Fans liked what they saw from the team's two tight ends as the Eagles played more with Celek and Harbor on the field together. Celek enjoys the distinction of having the highest approval rating from the fans at 98.4 percent. Celek bounced back from a disappointing 2010, finishing second on the team in receptions (62) and tied for the team lead in touchdown catches (5).
Harbor's development was crucial to the offense moving more toward the two-tight end sets. Despite catching only 19 balls, Harbor's improvement as a blocker was another reason for McCoy's breakout season.
|Offensive Line||2011 Stay %||2012 Stay %||Change|
Voters gave a resounding vote of confidence to the starters on the offensive line. All five of them received at least 85 percent of the stay votes.
That would have been difficult to imagine in the season opener, as only one position remained the same from a year ago: Peters at left tackle. Herremans moved from left guard to right tackle to protect Vick's blind side. Mathis took over at left guard after starting only 22 games in his first seven NFL seasons. Kelce beat Jackson out for the starting job at center. And Kyle DeVan was signed to start at right guard over Watkins.
The unit was tied for ninth (fewest) in sacks allowed (32) and opened holes for McCoy throughout the season.
|Defensive line||2011 Stay %||2012 Stay %||Change|
One of the bright spots on the defensive side of the ball was the defensive line. Although the wide nine was criticized for creating lanes against the run, the defensive line accounted for 38 of the team's 50 sacks.
Babin and Cole received overwhelmingly positive votes, as the pair combined for 29 sacks. Graham, who was coming off of microfracture surgery, drew another interesting vote. Fans voiced their displeasure for the Eagles drafting him ahead of Giants defensive end Jason-Pierre Paul and Chiefs safety Earl Thomas. Graham's approval rating dipped, but a majority of fans want to see him back.
Patterson saw a big jump in his approval rating from last year. The veteran defensive tackle suffered a seizure at training camp, which left his season (career?) in doubt, but he recovered in time to play in the season opener and had a solid season (even earning an All-Pro vote from the Daily News' Paul Domowitch). Patterson is expected to have offseason brain surgery, but fans want him back for 2012.
Players who fans want to see go include Abiamiri, Laws and Parker.
Abiamiri hasn't played a game since 2009 and hasn't been able to stay healthy.
Parker has been a mainstay on the defensive line, playing in 105 of the 112 regular season games during his tenure in Philadelphia. At first, I was surprised so many people wanted him gone, but clearly fans haven't forgotten about that costly offsides penalty in Buffalo.
Voters are ready to move on from Laws, who is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
|Linebackers||2011 Stay %||2012 Stay %||Change|
I'm sure everyone is interested in the results at linebacker. After starters were named during training camp, a giant bulls-eye was placed on the position, and it remained the entire season.
Only two players were held in a clearly positive light: Rolle and Chaney. Rolle played well after being plugged into the starting lineup, and Chaney replaced Matthews in the middle.
Matthews' numbers checked in on the north side of 50 percent, but the fourth-round pick never seemed prepared to be the anchor the defense needed. Matthews' defining moment had to be when he was burned by Giants running back Brandon Jacobs on a wheel route in Week 5. After that game, he was removed as the starter, but fans are willing to ride out another year with Matthews.
|Cornerbacks||2011 Stay %||2012 Stay %||Change|
The offseason additions of Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie to a secondary that already featured Samuel had the national media and fans alike gushing over how dominant the Eagles' defense would be. "The Big Three" was to be feared by opposing quarterbacks.
Well, that wasn't the case. Fans were willing to give Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie a pass for their debut seasons here, but Samuel's fan support plummeted, as 48.1 percent more fans wanted Samuel gone, compared to last season.
|Safeties||2011 Stay %||2012 Stay %||Change|
The Eagles' struggles in the secondary weren't limited to cornerback, but fans went easy on the safeties. Fan support for Allen dropped, but you still voted for him to return. He'll be another year removed from the injury that ended his rookie campaign in 2012.
Fans want the team leader in interceptions to return next season; that would be Coleman. I'm not sure anybody can say with a straight face that they thought Coleman would pace the team in picks, but he was indeed the leader, thanks to three interceptions in Washington.
The jury is still out on Jarrett. The rookie out of Temple struggled to get on the field, but fans want to see what he can do.
|Specialists||2011 Stay %||2012 Stay %||Change|
Special teams was an area that saw support across the board.
Henery was solid all season, despite missing two crucial field goals against the 49ers in Week 4.
Henry was a mild surprise. He ranked 25th in punting average and 26th in net punt average, but 81.5 percent of voters are willing to stick with him for another season.
|Front office/Coaching staff||2011 Stay %||2012 Stay %||Change|
Well, voters made their feelings obvious for the Eagles' coaching staff/front office. While most of the players escaped the wrath of fans, the same can't be said for the coaches and front office personnel.
The only person in this group who received a majority vote to stay was Lurie, although it should be noted that most of the voting took place before his end-of-the-season press conference.
Fans want to see Roseman and Banner gone. Interestingly enough, of the 25 players selected in the draft the last two seasons (with Roseman as GM), 18 are on the current 53-man roster, and only two didn't receive a majority of stay votes.
Reid isn't a definitive go for fans, but for the second consecutive year, more fans voted for a change at head coach. No Eagles coach received a vote of confidence in our polls. Mornhinweg was close with 46.6 percent wanting him to stay, but his numbers appear linked to Reid's.
On to Castillo's fate. It seems everyone has a strong opinion on how the team should handle the offensive line coach-turned-defensive coordinator. Castillo fared better than Sean McDermott (15.4 percent) a year ago. although that's not saying much, as 75 percent of voters do not want Castillo to lead the defense next season.
So what does it all mean?
The team that was a popular choice to win the NFC after assembling a talented roster in July missed the playoffs. Someone had to be held responsible, right? "Yes!" said the fans in our polls.
Judging by the results, fans still believe the talent level is good enough to win, with the exception of linebacker. After 13 seasons of hearing Reid admit he needs to put his players in better positions to succeed, the majority of fans seem tired of waiting for him and his staff to finally do it.
Jerry Gaul is a sports producer at philly.com. You can follow him on Twitter @jerry_gaul.