Philadelphia Eagles Preview
Well that time has come ladies and gentleman. The NFL season is upon us, and the first regular season game of the season will be played in 2 days. For our Philadelphia Eagles, we open the season at home against the St. Louis Rams. With some high expectations, but many questions coming into this season, let's break down how the Eagles are looking right now--
QB - Looks like a healthy Donovan McNabb here. With a healthy McNabb, you have an elite QB, who can make all the plays. The Eagles are solid with a healthy McNabb.
RB/FB - Obviously you have one of the best players and weapons in the league with Brian Westbrook. Correll Buckhalter always seems to do what is asked of him, and always seems to do well when he is in the game. I am excited to see what we get out of Lorenzo Booker, a guy who it looks like has a lot of speed and athleticism. You can use him in a lot of different ways, and hopefully create some mismatches. Tony Hunt, who won the battle at fullback probably won't get much time. The Eagles obviously don't use the fullback very much in their offense, Hunt may get some short yardage carries, or goal line carries.
WR/TE - What you would think would be the most important positions in an Andy Reid offense, seeing as how he likes to throw the football so much, is probably the weakest position on the team. Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, Greg Lewis, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett, and DeSean Jackson aren't exactly scaring too many defenses. Curtis put up good numbers, but would be more effective if he could line up in the slot with an elite #1 receiver on the side. And now that Kevin Curtis is injured, the Eagles bring in absolutely no one. Reggie Brown is consistently average, and Greg Lewis is built about as big as me... and that's not a good thing. Jackson has showed promise and looks like he may be a good player, but he doesn't exactly have #1 receiver quality or size. At tight end, you have L.J. Smith, Brent Celek, and Matt Schoebel. I've heard that L.J. Smith is going to have a breakout season it for the past 25 years, and it still hasn't happened. Let's hope this is his year.
O Line - Pretty much the same as it has been in years past. Runyan and Thomas are old, but solid, and both should have at least 1 more good year in them. With Shawn Andrews head on straight, we have one of the best guards in the league. Herramans and Jackson are okay, look for Jean-Gilles to maybe get some playing time this season. They seem to be a very good run blocking offense line, and very good on screen passes. They are good at pass blocking, not great. Overall - The offense should be solid this year. With McNabb and Westbrook, any offense should be. We don't have a lot of weapons at WR, but we never have recently, and that has not stopped this offense from putting up points. The key to this offense will be how they perform in the red zone, which has to improve from how they were last season.
D Line - The defensive line looks good on paper, and I think will be good on the field. Cole and Parker starting at ends, and Bunkley and Patterson inside. I would have liked to see what Abiamiri can do, and I think he will eventually be the starter over Parker, but in injured right now. With Laws and Howard coming off the bench to spell the starters, all should be well rested this year. Look for another double digit sack season out of Trent Cole, and hopefully Bunkley and Patterson, with another year playing together, can clog up that inside, and get some push into the backfield.
Linebackers - The linebackers are young, which usually means there are a lot of questions. Gaither and Gocong on the outside, and Stewart Bradley in the middle. Sure, Bradley looked great in 2 meaningless games at the end of last season, how will he look Week 2 Sunday night in Cowboy stadium. I do think Bradley and Gaither are very good. Gocong can be good if used effectively and rushing the passer. We don't want Gocong to be caught out in space with a running back coming at him.
Secondary - The secondary has been one of the bright points for the Eagles basically since Brian Dawkins has been back there. Dawkins, Sheppard, and Samuel are pro-bowlers, and Sheldon Brown is probably good enough to be a pro-bowler. Dawkins is past his prime, but is still very effective. At strong safety, Mikell has proven that he is a very good tackler, and good player overall. Samuel and Brown will start at CB, which is a solid position, with Sheppard coming on as the 3rd corner. Demps looks to be a solid young safety there.
Punting - Sav Rocca will be the punter again. You gotta love a guy like him who is looking to tackle all the time. Had an average season, probably will have about the same this season.
Kicking - David Akers is a rock at the kicking position, and is a former pro-bowler. Unfortunately, his stats keep going downhill. He can still kick the ball a mile, if he can improve his accuracy, we will be fine here.
Kick Return - Quintin Demps is the starting kick returner, and looks to be pretty solid. He is a rookie, and will have his growing pains, but cannot be any worse than what the Eagles have gotten here in the past few years. I can't even remember the last time a kick returner took a kick past the 40.
Punt Return - This is where DeSean Jackson will make his name this rookie season it looks like. A guy with a ton of skill, unbelievable speed and athleticism, don't be surprised if Jackson takes a few punts to the house. Another position the Eagles have been getting nothing out of the past few years with Reno Mahe.
Not a big fan right now of the coaching/management of the Philadelphia Eagles. Andy Reid values some positions and does not value others. Andy Reid refuses to change his style of play for anything, even to adapt to the players he has on the field. They are really cocky, and talk as if they have won multiple Super Bowls in the past few years, when they actually have won as many Super Bowls with the Eagles as I have. You have a pro-bowl corner who isn't even a starter on your team, and two 1st-round draft picks next season, and you can't even get a #1 receiver, Anquan Boldin, who has asked to be traded. Give me a break.
All that said, I am confident heading into this season. I think McNabb will have a great season, and remain healthy. The defense will be frustrating at times, but I think will improve all season. The schedule has some easy games, and some games that will be tough. Every game against the NFC East opponents will be tough, but overall the NFC is wide open. Let's get fired up and ready for another football season. E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!!!!!!!
Mr. Green: 11-5
Kotite's Corner Philadelphia Eagles 2008 record: 10-6