Eagles Going for it all in 2011!
The Philadelphia Eagles seem to have Super Bowl aspirations for the ’11-’12 NFL season. They finished last season 10-6 and lost in the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers by a mere 5 points. It was Michael Vick’s first full season back since being released from prison and he impressed. He was actually electrifying most of the season. While he always has an injury risk because of his style of play, his QB IQ should only go up with another year under Andy Reid and the rest of the Eagles staff.
Vick is 31 years old, but the rest of the Eagles playmakers are all very young and just beginning to enter their primes. At running back, LeSean McCoy is only 23 years old and last season had the most catches out of any running back in the league. He also only had one fumble. DeSean Jackson is only 24 and Jeremy Maclin is 23. These four guys, along with a young tight end (Brent Celek, 26) are extremely talented and young. They have proved that they are big time players in this league and still have tons of room for potential improvement in their games. You should also remember that while Vick is 31, he basically had three seasons off from football. His body hasn’t taken the physical pounding from NFL players hitting him for three years. He is also learning more and more about playing as a pocket passer every day.
While their offense looks to be explosive again this year, their main problem last year was their defense. Their secondary allowed 31 passing touchdowns last season. That is the most ever in team history. So what did the Birds do? They went out and traded backup QB Kevin Kolb to Arizona for 25 year-old cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a former Pro-Bowler who is still very young. Then they go and add a familiar face to the defensive line, defensive end Jason Babin. He is a former Eagle but played in Tennessee last season and had 12 1/2 sacks under the tutelage of defensive line coach Jim Washburn. Oh, by the way, the Eagles also brought in Washburn to coach their D-Line this season. He is regarded as one of the best in the business.
The Iggles then decided to bring in Vince Young to back up Vick after shipping off Kolb to the Cardinals. Young is no superstar, but he is a viable back-up QB in this league. He has a winning record in the NFL and plays a similar game to Vick. He should be able to learn a whole lot this season under Reid and playing/watching/studying behind Vick. They also brought in Ronnie Brown to backup McCoy. Brown is an experienced vet and a former 1,000 yard rusher. He is a big back (6′ and 230 lbs.) who can take the ball on 3rd and 1 or on the goal line.
Even after all of this, Philadelphia’s next move is what showed me that they are in fact trying to make a Super Bowl run this season. Already having two Pro Bowl cornerbacks in Asante Samuel and DRC, they sign the biggest free agent on the market, Nnamdi Asomugha. He is perhaps the second best cover corner in the NFL today behind Derrelle Revis. He is a three-time Pro-Bowler who blankets receivers. Quarterbacks rarely even attempt throws to his side of the field. What was once an area of weakness for the Birds is now an area of strength. If they go into the season with all three of these corners they will have perhaps the best trio in NFL history.
If that weren’t enough the Eagles made another addition to their defense. They brought in defensive linemen Cullen Jenkins and Anthony Hargrove. Jenkins only played in 11 games last year for the Packers, but he had 7 sacks in those 11 games. At 6’2” and 305 lbs. he will also add some much-needed size to the small d-line of the Eagles. Hargrove is an experienced d-lineman who played with the Saints the past couple years and won a Super Bowl with them two seasons ago. Jenkins, Hargrove, and Babin should also make life a little easier for Trent Cole, Mike Patterson, Trevor Laws, Antonio Dixon, Darryl Tapp, Brandon Graham, and Juqua Parker on that d-line. The Eagles love to rotate their defensive linemen in and out during the game to keep them all fresh and attacking the quarterback.
The offensive line is suspect, but the Eagles have also brought in legendary coach Howard Mudd to help them out there. Mudd used to coach the offensive lines in front of Peyton Manning for many years. He is very good at what he does and should drastically help get Michael Vick some more protection this season. They also spent their first round draft pick on 26-year-old guard Danny Watkins. He should step right in and start immediately for the Birds. The safeties and linebackers are probably the biggest question marks going into the season. They are all young and very unproven. At safety they have second year player Nate Allen who looked promising last year before suffering an injury that ended his season. They also drafted a hard-hitting rookie from Temple in Jaiquawn Jarrett. As of right now it looks like the starting linebackers will be Moise Fokou, Jamar Chaney, and rookie Casey Matthews. All are 25 or younger and very inexperienced. Matthews looks like a twin of his brother, Clay, and has his same high energy level. The coaches love him so far in practice, but he has shown nothing yet on the NFL level.
We’ll see how far the Eagles make it this season, but you can’t deny that they have tried hard to improve their roster. Looking forward to this season, here is a highlight reel of last year’s team.
PS Vick & Co. look like human video games in some of those clips!
Posted on August 2, 2011, in SPORTS/ACTIVITIES and tagged Asante Samuel, Casey Matthews, Cullen Jenkins, DeSean Jackson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, highlights, Jason Babin, Michael Vick, NFL, Nnamdi Asomugha, Philadelphia Eagles, Super Bowl. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.