By Brandon Pemberton
Catch me on twitter @Bashir28
The NFL season is here and the Philadelphia Eagles made a big splash once the free agency period started, adding All-Pro Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Defensive end Jason Babin, and Defensive Tackle Cullen Jenkins to a defense which was a complete disgrace last season. Media and fans here went along with newly acquired back up QB Vince Young and the ” Dream Team” hype that he spoke about when he was interviewed about joining the Eagles. Yes this team is talented and looks good on paper, it still has some obvious holes in important positions. So before you go and put the Eagles in the Super Bowl, let me break things down from my point of view and let you know how I feel the season will turnout.
Mike Vick is going into the season as the starter from day one and while he played well last season, towards the end teams started to figure out how to confuse and slow him down. Not having a full offseason to digest more of the offense and work with Eagles coaches on reading the blitz better could hurt him down the road. LeSean McCoy had a great season last year, rushing for over 1000 yards and catching over 70 passes. I really love his ability as a dual threat and he has gotten better with blitz pick up. The Eagles also added veteran running back Ronnie Brown to the fold as well and he excels at running between the tackles and in the wildcat.
DeSean Jackson held out at the beginning of training camp, unhappy with his current contract and I don’t blame him. He is on the final year of his 2nd round rookie deal and he’s clearly outplayed that deal making two pro bowls and being one of the best home run threats in football.Jeremy Maclin had a scare during the off season and thankfully he was found to be cancer free and he’s ready to roll. Maclin is one of the more underrated players in football and is a better overall receiver then Jackson. The combo of the two of them, along with Jason Avant and new acquired WR Steve Smith give the Eagles one of the top 2 or 3 receiver corps in the NFL.
Finally and most importantly the offensive line. The Eagles brought in Howard Mudd, one of the best offensive line coaches in football out of retirement to help sure up this offensive line. The Eagles used their first round draft pick on 26 year old rookie right guard Danny Watkins out of Baylor, whom they said could come in and start from day one and they were wrong. Watkins has struggled during the preseason picking up the scheme and the Eagles picked up former Colts gaurd Kyle DeVan to fill the starting spot. The Eagles have a makeshift starting offensive line this season and I’m not excited about it. Todd Herremans was forced to move to the right tackle spot and Evan Mathis is now the starting left guard and Mudd decided to go with 6th round draft pick Jason Kelce as the starter at center over Jamal Jackson. Mudd likes to go with smaller, more athletic lineman in his system and it worked in Indy with Peyton Manning, who gets rid of the ball quickly then most of the quarterbacks in football. Mike Vick was seeing pressure up the middle in game two against the Steelers and in game three against the Browns who run a vanilla scheme. The middle of the line was just getting beat one on one.
The Eagles had one of the worst defenses I have seen from a Philadelphia team in years, especially in the red zone. They went out once the offseason started and made moves in order to better the defense. They surprised the whole NFL by signing Nnamdi Asomugha, one of the two top cornerbacks in all of football and added Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, giving the Eagles potentially one of the best crops of corners in football.
They also signed defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins from the Super Bowl champs Green Bay Packers and brought back Jason Babin via free agency as well. The addition of Jenkins and Babin, to go along with Trent Cole gives the Eagles the pass rush that they lacked last season. I still have a problem with the Eagles refusal to properly address the linebacker position and the fact that they gave the starting middle linebacker job to Casey Matthews from day one is mind boggling. Moise Fokou is nothing more then a special teams player in my eyes and has no instincts out there on the field. I liked what I saw from Jamar Chaney in the three games he played at the end of last season, but I still need to see more. He looked good in the preseason, making the switch to the Sam linebacker and I am looking forward to seeing how he plays for a full season. My wild card out of this group is the rookie Brian Rolle, who was a captain at Ohio State and while he is undersized, he plays full board at all times and with great football instincts.
Not having a full offseason kind of hurt this group of new defensive players, not giving them the time to gel. I feel as though after the first month of the season, we will see what they really are.
Coaching wise, we know what Andy Reid is, he refuses to run the ball as much as most thinks he should. The move of Juan Castillo from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator is unprecedented, and we will see how he does on gameday with personnel and calls on the move. New defensive line coach Jim Washburn brings a new style of play that all of the lineman he has coached loves and should produce more sack number for the Birds.
With that being said, I never brought into the whole “Dream Team” hype brought upon by Vince Young and media outlets here in Philly. This team his some holes that will be exposed by teams and will cause them a trip to the Super Bowl. The Eagles win the division at 10-6 or 11-5, but lose in the Divisional Round of the NFC Playoffs. Anything less then a Super Bowl title is a disappointment here in Philly, so it;s going to be some uspet people in my hometown.