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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES PREVIEW
The Eagles have been masters of the cap, putting serious money in the hands of owner Lurie as they dump stars before their contracts balloon, and remain for the last 2 years the team with the most cap space. As much as it seems cold hearted and profiteering, its been a very successful strategy, and one which other teams are starting to copy. Last yearís future victims, Duce Daley and Bobby Vincent, held out and were both let go in the off season. This year OG John Wellborne spoke out, they didnít wait and traded him to the Chiefs.
So far the yearly additions have matched the subtractions.
It is clearly one of the top drafting, trading and coaching units in the league. They remain in tact, but the loss last year of allstar secondary coach Leslie Frasier, who became the def. co. at the Bengals, may haunt them this year. They still have brilliant def. co. Jim Johnson, who re-signed ly after being courted for head coaching slots. His blitzing scheme packages have helped redefine defenses league wide.
Brad Childress remains the possible weak link, as the off. co. he's been unable to generate points against good defenses. Last years home loss to the Panthers 3-14 in the playoffs was a capsule of the large problem. The Panthers solved the Eagles offense in the first quarter, and it was never close after that.
So is Mcnabb the chicken or the egg? Does his poor accuracy (57.5%) reflect his poor wr or are his wr good but he is the weak link? Mcnabb's mechanics just aren't solid, and he has a bad long ball arm, among other things. We'll see if he can hit Owens. Numerous reports out of camp that he is having a banner offseason.
Brian Westbrook is a top back; lots of people question his endurance as the go to guy, this year he gets his chance.. IIt is only his 3rd year; expect him to tear it up running, catching, and returning. Pretty high grades for this kid. Correl Buckhalter is a poor 2nd option, with Jon Ritchie a top blocker.
James thrash is gone; and Pinkston had 35 catches last year, as did Freddie Mitchel. They had one td catch. The short story, they blow. But that's not news. What's news is Terryl Owens is somehow expected to change this situation.
Yes the wr corp is better, especially with the emergence of 2nd year te Smith, and pink and mitch in their top prime. It will never get better than this, which is a bit scarey.
Former team strength here that had problems last year as injuries hurt them. Replacing the very strong Wellborne is first rounder Shawn Andrews, who rumor has it, brings baggage. The other positions are fairly solid, tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyon have been getting some criticism for inconsistency and age may be a factor. They have a top center in Hank Fraley. G Jermane Mayberry former pb returns from an injury season, and they have a top utility guy in Artis Hicks.
It is one of the better olines in the league, but some question marks. The tackle spots and Andrews are the early place to look for insight on how they will perform.
The offense will score a bit more this year, a better oline, better pass catching, and Westbrook back from injury all mean more points.
The freak comes to Philly. Great move as sacks dropped way off last year, and were a key problem. He has help in t Corey Simon who got 7.5 from the inside ly, and t Darwin Walker is right behind him. N.D kalu is below average at the other end, but will be more situational this year.
E Jerome Mcdougle, their first rounder last year has done little, but not a bust yet, he missed the first half of the season ly. Heís worth watching because if he develops, it could be fearsome with this units pass rushing ability.
Otherwise an above average dline, and if e Derrick Burgess can come back from 2 years of foot injuries, now reported to be in top shape, t Paul Grasmanis can come back from a torn Achilles, now reported to be in top shape, and former starter t Hollis Thomas can come back off 2 years of injuries, this line will be fighting for number one league ranking. Watch the nflx to see the status of these players.
They lost 2003 mvp Carlos Emmonds to the Giants, took giants Dhani Hall in return. Maybe a downgrade, but Emmonds was getting old, Dhani has a future. . Mark Simaneau came through in 2003, a big credit to the Eagles talent scouts as he came over from the falcons having never played. He led the team in tackles, but still grades out as average.
Nate Wayne got his ass kicked out of Gbay ly, a team that needed all the lbs they could get, then did an average to below average job in Philly. This lb corps is clearly below average, but the eagles just don't care about the lbs. With their defensive schemes the lbs are least important, and there are some league wide moves away from the linebacker position being of importance.
And Look who just walked in the door, Jerremiah Trotter, back from a 2 year $35million siesta at the Skins. The former super star turned bust is currently penciled in as a backup.
Big losses in superb cb's Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent, but are they as missed as anticipated? Both players were getting old and often injured. It was no secret they were losing a step as well. Philly prepared well for this moment, 3 years ago drafting Bobby Sheldon in the 2nd round, and Lito Sheppard in the 1st round. They are much shorter than their very tall predecessors, but not the talent drop off everyone is predicting. Both players have had ample playing time and aquitted themselves. Neither has been outstanding however, with few interceptions.
At safety, Brian Dawkins returns from an injury season, he's one of the best, and 3rd year player Mike Lewis starts for his second season, he rang the bell last year.
This secondary remains strong, but are now pretty thin, and the nickel job is wide open.
There are just not a lot of weaknesses here, and in the salary cap era, that will take you far. Top coaching and talent scouting are keeping them in play.
Last year their trenches got hammered by injury, particulary their dline, which was on critical life support, this year those lines look strong again, a major upgrade. The dline strength, potentially a monster, will definitely make up for any losses in the secondary, while the development of young cbís and s Mike Lewis, and the return of s Brian Dawkins make the defense look formidable again. Additions on the offense will give them a bit more scoring pop.
There are a lot of folks counting this team out this year, but they look stronger to this capper. Enough to get over the top? Probably not, as they have too long a haul to bring up the offense.
RE:PHILADELPHIA EAGLES PREVIEW
something like 45 in a row when up by 10 they have gone on to win.
McNabb/Ownes will be dependent of whether Owens get's open-McNabb simply will not throw the ball into coverage. This has worked well for a defensive driven team eliminating the perpetual short field for the enemy. Westbrook is a talent but would like to see them a get a big baclk to soften the enemy up first. No concerns abt the defense-they let Trotter go, Douglass last yr-would be worried if they didn't let a pro bowler walk-Taylor stioll can't tackle and both he and Vincent are getting old in a young man's game-much more worried abt Parcels and Gibbs both back in the division than any problem that is Eagle particular. Special teams should be strong again-even if Westbrook does not do runbacks.
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