With a New Year comes New Year’s resolutions, which most often are made by those who wish to better themselves. Since the Phillies, Eagles, and 76ers all failed to win a championship in 2019, let’s take a look at one resolution for each team, and what their goals should be for 2020 as a team.
Resolution: Re-sign Malcolm Jenkins
Team goal: Win NFC East again, make the NFC championship game
After a crushing Wild Card loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, safety Malcolm Jenkins was very blunt with the media. I will not be returning to the Eagles on my current deal. “Won’t happen,” said Jenkins.
For the Eagles, this is a problem. Jenkins led the team in tackles, combined and solo, by a considerable margin. Jenkins was top five on the team in QB hits and pressures, despite only rushing 76 times all year. Jenkins improved in his tackling and his coverage stats, all while being the leader of a defense
Jenkins is scheduled to make around 7.6 million next season, which pales in comparison to the roughly $14 million AAV granted to top safeties around the league in the last few years. In order for the Eagles to stay relevant next season with a possibly new and improved Cowboys team under Mike McCarthy and repeat as NFC East champs, Jenkins needs to be holding down the defensive front in Philadelphia.
Resolution: Follow the Nationals model of winning
Team goal: Make the NL playoffs
When the Phillies signed Bryce Harper, obviously, everyone was optimistic about their chances. After Harper and the entire team underperformed, displeasure with the organization grew.
Now, under new manager Joe Girardi and with an improved rotation and middle infield, the only real holes sit at third base and center field, with Kingrey and Haseley unproven. The addition of Josh Donaldson and a guy like Kevin Pillar or even a Billy Hamilton could absolutely boost the clubs chances.
While the squad looks even better than it did last year, the question of chemistry remains. For the Nationals, after a terrible start to the season, outspoken veterans like Max Scherzer and Baby Shark crazed Gerrardo Parro rallied the team to a seemingly improbable WS run. In order for the Phillies to make their own run in 2020, they not only need a few talent acquisitions, but a few leader acquisitions as well. Harper and Arrieta need to step up, and the Nationals need their own Gerrardo Parra to inspire them on and off the field, and inspire the fans as well.
Resolution: Trade either Joel Embid or Ben Simmons
Team goal: Make the Eeastern Conference Finals
The Sixers confuse me. They have two of the most physically talented players in the Eastern Conference. Ben Simmons looks like a young Giannis on some nights, and Joel Embid has his evenings where if you squint hard enough, it looks like Shaq is playing in a Philly uniform. But on a lot of nights, Simmons goes 50% from the field and Embid takes too many jumpers and not enough post shots. Embid has been absolutely dominating for the most part, but the cohesion is off.
So what do I propose? I think the Sixers ship out Embid. Send him to say Sacremento or New Orleans for Hield or Holiday. Get yourself a shooter than can spot up and/or create for themselves on the perimiter. This allows Embid to roam the paint alone, with the ball not sticking in Simmons hands while his defender double teams Embid in the paint. A possible addition would be to deal Richardson and clear money and get additional picks, making the deal just as valuable for a team like Sacremento who could then afford to give up Hield/Fox and some picks.
This may all seem extreme and an overreaction. And maybe it is. However, with the current level of success for the Sixers, a change may be needed, and fast.
2020 will be a defining year for Philadelphia sports. All 3 of these teams have high expectations and talented rosters. We can speculate all we want, but in the end championships are rare and success must be cherished while it lasts. Enjoy any playoff appearances we get, because in a flash, it can all disappear.