Thursday, September 2, 2010

Football ERA 2010 NFC East Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles

Author: SHAQ for The Football ERA

     The Eagles are one of the deeper teams up-front in comparison to some of their rivals in the NFC East. This is a direct result of being forced to shuffle their lineups frequently during the 2009 season because of injuries. Much of the depth that was developed was in their linebacking corps as well as on their offensive line. No one can predict ahead of time when and how injuries will affect a given team during the long season. Nor can one know in advance which team will suffer the most despite notions to the contrary heard every season (usually by teams that are 'more' fortunate) that injuries affect everyone equally in the long run, and that everyone has to deal with similar situations. Previous season adversity helps build the very depth needed to contend in the face of unexpected adversity and injuries.  Having deeper lines will help Philadelphia make the move to the younger skill players that they strategically planned this past offseason to rollout this Fall.

     Not the least of these offseason moves is management and Head Coach Andy Reid's decision to go to Kevin Kolb as their primary signal caller at quaterback.  Donovan McNabb was dealt to Washington in one of the offseason's biggest trades. Despite the fact that center Jamaal Jackson has been missing from the starting lineup during the preseason, the Eagles offensive line has been building depth in training camp with Nick Cole stepping up to fill the position just like he did late last season.  Also taking reps are Mike McGlynn and A.Q. Shipley who are both competing for the center spot as well.  Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Max Jean-Giles, and Winston Justice are all veterans who fill out the rest of that line to help make up for the release of former pro-bowler Shawn Andrews--now a New York Giant.

     The defense returns at full strength with longtime stalwarts Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson anchoring the middle of their defensive line. They have added DE Darryl Tapp from Seattle to the D-Line while getting younger with the release of Jason Babin, Darren Howard, and Chris Clemons. Former Detroit LB Ernie Sims joins the linebacking corps that is minus Will Witherspoon--now a Titan, Joe Mays--in camp at Denver, and Chris Gocong--now a Cleveland Brown. However, the front seven gets nearly everyone else back including MLB Stewart Bradley (out most of last year), Omar Gaither, Akeem Jordan, and Moise Fokou--all with newly acquired experience from last season that will compete with a few new youngsters in camp.

     Should their gamble to move to a new quarterback behind these lines pay dividends, then the Eagles could contend for the lead in the NFC East and the playoffs--especially if one of the other NFC East teams--like Dallas, for example--find themselves plagued with the injury bug that inevitably catches teams in stride unexpectedly.
Kevin Kolb Kevin Kolb #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball against the Baltimore Ravens on November 23, 2008 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.

No comments: