Gridiron Blitz: Philadelphia Eagles Season Preview

The next team up on our Gridiron Blitz is the Philadelphia Eagles

Music to listen to: Dear God 2.0 by The Roots

My first outdoor concert was for The Roots during freshman year at Vanderbilt. The group performed on campus and it was awesome. Always enjoyed The Roots, even though I haven’t completely cosigned being the house band on Jimmy Fallon’s show.

Current State: Is it possible to lose arguably the best quarterback in the history of your franchise yet be even better the season after? That’s what the Eagles are trying to achieve with the trade of Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins.

With McNabb gone, the new quarterback is Kevin Kolb. I’ll get to him in the next section.

The Eagles are also trying to transition to a young team while staying competitive in arguably the most competitive division in the NFL, not an easy task.

Only a handful of players are even over the age of 30. The offense has plenty of talent but the defense has to be rebuilt this season as well.

Biggest Offseason Change: As you may have heard, the Eagles made a slight change in the quarterback position.

Despite what everyone says or believes, no one knows how well Kolb will be as Philly’s starting quarterback. Some have made the comparison to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay because both men had to wait around three years before finally getting the chance to be a starter. If Kolb ends up like that, Eagles fans should be happy however despite all of the praise that Rodgers has gotten, he still hasn’t lead the Packers to a playoff victory.

Uniform Grade: I actually preferred the old Philly uniforms with the lighter green jerseys and the grey pants that were worn in the 1970‘s and 1980‘s. Also, when you have a black jersey that looks similar to your dark green jersey, why have a black jersey in the beginning. Grade: C

Best Player: When he came out of college from Cal, I thought that DeSean Jackson would be a nice complimentary receiver, not the top big-play threat in the NFL. His eight touchdowns of 50 yards or longer tied an NFL record.

His vertical routes are valuable for the Eagles because they allow players like receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight end Brent Celek to run underneath routes in open space. Furthermore, Jackson’s return skills gives the offense better field position to operate from.

Most Important Player: The easy answer is Kolb but I haven’t discussed the defense yet in this post so I’ll take cornerback Asante Samuel.

The Eagles have made some additions to the defense, particularly new linebacker Ernie Sims, but the pass defense failed Philly in numerous contests last season, especially in games against Dallas. If Philly wants to make a return to the playoffs, this must be rectified through Samuel.

Best Case: Kolb has a smooth transition to the starting role. The young playmakers on offense continue to develop. The defense rebuilds nicely. A surprise NFC East title.

Worst Case: Kolb plays average but not well enough in his first-full year as a starter. Opposing defenses force the questionable running attack of the Eagles to beat them. The defense still continues its struggles. Six wins

Coaching: The football marriage between McNabb and Eagles head coach Andy Reid mercifully came to an end this offseason.

Both men were valuable to each others career but also reached the peak of their collaboration together several years ago.

Reid now gets to work with a quarterback that he has groomed for the past three seasons. The two biggest critiques of Reid is that he is a below-average game clock manager and relies too much on passing in his offense. The first one may never be solved but the elevation of Kolb will force Reid to use more running plays to provide balance on the offense.

First memory of team: As a Giants fan, you dislike four teams. They are the Eagles, Cowboys, Redskins and Jets.

75% of my dislike goes to Philadelphia.

Great city, had some good times there, terrible fans.

I know that it would be hypocritical if I didn’t mention Giants fans as having annoying moments as well. I’ll give you that. We have moments of being overbearing.

However, that’s nothing compared to Eagles fans.

The main difference is that Giants fans have seen the team win championships. If you’re in your 30’s you have 1986, if you’re in your 20’s, you have 1990, if you’re in your teens, you have 2006.

Philadelphia’s last NFL title was in 1960.

If the Eagles find any success, their fans expect something bad to happen, and for the most part it has. If something goes bad for the Eagles, the fans start having self pity and expect to lose. They’re also loud and obnoxious about it.

Also, screw Randall Cunningham. There are only a handful of players I can say I truly hated at some point of my life. I hated Cunningham with a passion because he was getting so much hype but wasn’t a winner. Even the younger me could see that.

Reggie White was a beast though. Second-best defensive player that I’ve ever seen in my lifetime behind Lawrence Taylor.

Schedule: The Eagles will have to deal with the New York Giants, Dallas and Washington in the division.

The home games are against Green Bay, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Houston and Minnesota. The away games are at Detroit, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Tennessee and Chicago.

City Nicknames: I can make a joke that I’ve never felt love in Philly so we shouldn’t call it The City of Brotherly Love, but I won’t.

In high school, I did Model UN for two years. I know, shocking. The regional we went to was at the University of Pennsylvania in Philly. Had a good time. City was a little dirty but nice energy, walkable and excellent food, especially cheesesteaks. No complaints in my department.

Fantasy Focus: I like all of the receivers and tight ends. I would be skeptical of Kolb.

Overall Outlook: The Eagles are clearly a team in transition so this may be the year before big things happen. It really does come down to how well Kolb can adjust to being the starter. I’m not willing to make Philly the division champion with an unproven QB. However, an outside shot of making the playoffs is possible.

Final Record: 8-8

Gridiron Blitz 2010 Season Previews:

AFC East:

Buffalo Bills

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Miami Dolphins

AFC North:

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Baltimore Ravens

Pittsbirgh Steelers

AFC South:

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Houston Texans

Tennessee Titans

AFC West

Denver Broncos

San Diego Chargers

Kansas City Chiefs

Oakland Raiders

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

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