Thursday, May 28, 2009

Key Position Battles

The Eagles held the first of two planned OTA's(organized team activities)this week. This first one was for rookies and select veterans with the main purpose of giving all the new faces some working knowledge of the Eagles' system.

While there isn't too much you can take away from these activities, it does allow you to gain some feedback on what role these players will have in the upcoming season. There will be some interesting position battles heading into training camp and there could very well be quite a few new faces in the starting line-up on both sides of the ball.

One of the most anticipated and exciting battles will be at wide receiver. DeSean Jackson is penciled in at #1 and Kevin Curtis is currently at #2. After that it becomes wide open for the number three slot with Hank Baskett, Jason Avant, Reggie Brown, and rookie Jeremy Maclin all in the mix. Baskett would probably be the most solid choice heading into camp. Maclin is definitely the class of this group but may not be ready to step into the role from the start but could be a solid #3 by mid season. Everyone will be left to battle for a roster spot.

Another good battle will be to see who takes over Brian Dawkin's vacated spot at free safety. Quintin Mikell will be the starting strong safety and is actually being touted as a possible Pro Bowl candidate. Right now Quintin Demps has the inside track for the free safety spot because of his familiarity with the defensive scheme. Sean Jones has experience and will push Demps depending on how quickly he can adapt. Another veteran, Rashad Baker will try and make his presence felt but will most likely be used in nickel situations and on special teams. Whomever gets the nod, they will have to realize that all eyes will be on them to see how well they can fill Dawkin's size 20+ shoes.

Some other staring positions that will feature some interesting battles include defensive end and center as both these positions are up for grabs. With the next OTA scheduled for June and training camp opening up the end of July, we will get a better idea of what the depth chart will look like. You have to figure that as camp heats up much of this initial chart will certainly be subject to change.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Eagles Upcoming Event Schedule

For the real die hard Eagles fans the following is the upcoming practice schedule for this summer


OTA's for selected vets and rookies
Tue, May 26, 2009 - Fri, May 29, 2009

OTA's for all players
Tue, June 2, 2009 - Fri, June 5, 2009

Training Camp- Lehigh University, Bethelehem,Pa.
Sun July 26, 2009- selected vets and rokkies report
Wed July 29, 2009- all vets report
(Actual practice schedule TDA)

First Pre-Season Game
Thurs August 13, 2009 7:30 P.M.
New England Patriots( Lincoln Financial Field)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Can the Eagles win it all?

As the 2009 season approaches the expectations for the Eagles are as high as ever. With a strong draft and some key veteran player acquisitions, all the pieces appear to be in place for a strong run that could take them all the way to Miami in February.

The question is can they turn all this potential into reality and finally win it all? They have been to five NFC Championships and one Super Bowl over the past nine seasons, but have yet to claim a world title. Is this the year they finally get over the hump and get a chance to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy in front of thousands of screaming fans lined up on Broad Street for the parade? At this point we can only dream of this scenario, but in my personal opinion the window for bringing a championship to Philly is open as wide as it has been for the last few years. I also know it will not remain that way for too long so they need to seize the moment while they can.

Donovan McNabb is not getting any younger and his legacy and potential trip to Canton, Ohio hang in the balance. Andy Reid has one of the longest tenures of any active coach which makes you wonder how much longer can he go before burning out. Defensive wizard Jim Johnson's health is a constant concern. Brian Westbrook's injuries continue to pile up as he is yet to have played a complete season. You want to avoid a "now or never" attitude but you have to wonder how many more shots they will get with their current cast of characters.

Since Jeff Lurie purchased the team in 1994, the Eagles have been one of the most successful franchises in the league. Andy Reid who took over the head coaching position in 1999 is closing in on 100 regular season wins. Donovan McNabb owns or will own just about every record for an Eagle's quarterback and is easily the best in franchise history. There is just one big gaping hole in all three of these gentleman's resumes. If I where to use a golfing analogy for this trio, they would be "the best player never to win a major."

So in essence it really is "now or never" and everybody knows this. The tools are all in place, they just have to go out and execute. Anything less than a Super Bowl win this year will have to be considered a disappointment. This brings me back to my original thought, can the Eagles win it all? The answer is a resounding yes. Will they win it all? Stay tuned.......

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Betting on the Birds

Delaware is looking to become the second state after Nevada to legalize sports wagering. They are one of four states including Oregon and Montana that can still approve betting on sports teams, since the Federal Government passed a law in 1992 that banned states from establishing sports gambling. Delaware's House voted 30-4 in favor of the bill that now awaits a vote in the State Senate, where it is very likely to pass. Governor Jack Markell, a strong proponent of the measure estimated that sports wagering would bring an additional 55 million dollars in tax revenue from the state's three casinos.

So what does this mean for Eagles' fans? Well next time you feel the Birds are a "can't miss bet", you can legally drive next door and place a bet. All the particulars of what you can and cannot bet on will still need to be worked out, but in the meantime here are some future odds that you may want to consider:

Eagles total number of regular season wins: 9.5

Eagles win the NFC Championship: 6/1

Eagles win the Super Bowl: 12/1

Friday, May 8, 2009

Freddie Mitchell Update

For all you Fast Taking Freddie Mitchell fans out there, I came across this video clip on his blog updating everyone on his potential return to the NFL.

Freddie Mitchell blog:

He will still go down in Eagles' history has making the most incredible 4th and 26 catch for a first down. We wish you well Freddie.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Gains and Losses: An Off Season Accessment

With the bulk of free agency behind us and the 2009 draft in the books, it is time to access the Eagles' gains and losses this off season in terms of player personal. The main question we are trying to answer is; is the current roster going to yield a better team than the one that lost to the Arizona Cardinals in last seasons NFC Championship?


Key Losses: S-Brian Dawkins CB-Lito Sheppard

Key Additions: S-Sean Jones S- Rashad Baker CB- Ellis Hobbs

Any discussion on the changes with the defense begin and end with Brian Dawkins. He was the physical, emotional, and spiritual leader of this team and no amount of free agent or draft moves were going to fill that gap. The players they brought in can help fill his role at free safety, but the defensive unit as a whole is going to have to step up to fill the void in leadership. There is a good mix of young and old players who already know what it takes to win the big games and deal with the pressure of the playoffs. I believe the overall defense will be better this season, but Dawkins will still be missed.


Key Losses: TE- L.J. Smith LT- Tra Thomas RT-John Runyan
WR- Greg Lewis RB- Corel Buckhalter

Key Additions:TE- Eugene Bright TE- Cornelius Ingram
LT- Jason Peters RT/G- Stacy Andrews
WR- Jeremy Maclin FB- Leonard Weaver
RB- Eldra Buckley RB- LeSean McCoy

The biggest loss on offense this off season was on the O line as both starting tackles are gone. The Eagles waisted no time filling those gaps signing (Stacy)Andrews and Peters to actually upgrade the Bird's line with younger, stronger players. Adding FB Leornard Weaver and drafting RB LeSean McCoy will add versatility to the backfield that can help compliment Brian Westbrook's skills. In drafting WR Jeremy Maclin and TE Cornelius Ingram the Eagles have added a couple of additional weapons for Donovan McNabb to throw the ball to. Overall, this will be a much better offense than last season with upgrades at several key positions.

To sum things up, the Eagles went out and did what they had to do to plug some holes as well as become more competitive. They have put themselves in a position to compete with the Giants for the NFC East Title as well as establish themselves as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Eagles 2009 Draft Review

I wanted to take some time to soak in the events of last weekend before commenting on the Eagles' draft. The overall consensus from the draft experts has been positive with the average grade probably coming in at a solid B. In my whole academic career I never scoffed at a B, and in some cases actually ended up shocked at the Professor's generosity. In this case I believe a B is under grading the Birds' performance. This draft was a definite change in direction for this organization, as most of the moves were directed at winning a championship, not just filling some holes in the roster. Starting with the trade for OT Jason Peters, the Eagles took a huge step over the past two weeks into becoming the odds on favorite to win the NFC. Here is my rational for such a bold statement.

First of all, even before the draft they were not that far away from being the favorite. Other than maybe the Giants, who else in the NFC would you say is a better team? Arizona is due to implode this season as most teams who lose the Superbowl do. Some have jumped on Chicago's bandwagon with the addition of Jay Cutler, but he still doesn't have anyone to throw to. I think both Atlanta and New Orleans will be better, but not enough to rise to the top. Dallas is still overrated, and has done absolutely nothing this off season to improve. There may be a surprise team or two out there like San Francisco or Washington, but that remains to be seen.

The main thing the Eagles accomplished in this draft was to go out and get playmakers. After last season's success of DeSean Jackson, the Birds looked for players who could make an immediate impact, not develop into a starter down the road. Jeremy Maclin will come in as the number two or three receiver with the ability to become number one by the end of the season. LeSean McCoy will get some touches the first offensive series in the first game, as the Eagles will find a way to utilize his talent right from the start. If TE Cornelius Ingram's knee is 100%, he to could be a starter by mid season. These three studs along with arguably the best offensive line in the league, will give Donovan McNabb all the weapons he needs to put a ton of points on the board. When he has the proper protection, no one is better than #5 spreading the ball around and moving up and down the field.

The Birds' defense still has a few question marks, especially in the backfield, but is still a solid unit overall. They came together at the end of last season, and with the exception of that last Cardinal drive in the NFC championship, were playing as good as anyone. The draft didn't yield any immediate impact players, but other than losing Brian Dawkins, they are basically the same group of players as last year.

Overall, this off season has made the Eagles a better team than the one that made it all the way to the NFC Championship game last year. There is no reason they should not be right back in that position this year. The only difference would be they are hosting the game at the Linc with another trip to the Superbowl on the line.