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John Wayne's Holster: Eagles Will Win the NFC East in 2006
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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Eagles Will Win the NFC East in 2006



What a terrible year for the Eagles! I could not have imagined that they would go from four consecutive NFC Championship games and runner-up in the Super Bowl to 6-10 in the space of a year. Perhaps it was Super Bowl hang-over. Whatever happened, it now looks as if all is not gloomy for the Eagles.

Watching the rest of the NFC East throughout the year, and in this weekend’s playoffs has led me to the conclusion that the other teams are not that good. Yeah I know the Eagles were swept in their division this year, but it was just an anomaly. It won’t happen again. You can bank on thant! As for the rest of the division… The Redskins have no offense other than Portis, Giants turn to ball over too much, Dallas is inconsistent on both sides of the ball. While it is true that these teams have potential and are getting better, they are clearly not among the elite teams in the league and are still a few years away (with the possible exception of the Giants who have so much potential on offense). The Eagles on the other hand, are only one year removed from being the top team in their conference. They are poised to return to that spot next year. Here’s why!

While the Eagles demise this year has been shocking, closer examination suggests that it was only a temporary set-back. The Eagles lost one-third of their starters from the previous year to injuries (Donovan McNabb, Lito Shepherd, Hank Fraley, Todd Pinkston, Brian Westbrook), free-agency (Corey Simon, Derrick Burgess) or suspension (T.O.). The injured guys should be back next year. The lost free-agents and T.O. are another issue. There are also a few key positions where the Eagles need impact players. Fortunately they have more than $12 million in cap space, and will have mid-round draft picks due to their poor record this year. This is where the Eagles as an organization have to step up.

First, the Eagles need to replace Terrell Owens. Despite playing only a handful of games, TO still lead the Eagles in receiving. Reggie Brown played well his first year, but he still needs a little bit of work. T.O. may fetch a decent player during the draft, but the Eagles will not likely get equal value for him (IMO, the best receiver in the league). Second, the Eagles need a running back. Westbrook is great out of the back-field as a receiver, but he is not the capable of consistently gaining 4 yards per carry and is not big enough in short-yardage and goal-line situations. I am not sold on Ryan Moats, but I am optimistic. Buckhalter has been hampered with injuries the last two years, and should probably be released. There should be some good running backs available in the mid-first round such as Laurence Maroney (U. Minn) and LenDale White (USC). Third, the Eagles pass-rush and run defense suffered this year, mainly due to the absence of Simon and Burgess. Replacing these guys is a must for the Eagles. There are some good first rounders available (Tamba Hali, Penn State) if the Eagles pass on the RB’s, but it is more likely that they look to free agency here. Lastly, the Birds also desperately need a back-up QB. Koy Detmer and Mike McMahon are not cutting it.

The Eagles are also going to have to fill the loss of Brad Childress, their offensive coordinator who was recently hired by the Vikings. Apparently Marty Morningweg was promoted to offensive coordinator. Morningweg has been with the Eagles for a year or two, so hopefully their will not be much of an adjustment to his game plan.

To top if off, the Eagles should get a favorable schedule this year. They should be able to compete win the Giants for the NFC East title this year.

1 Comments:

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Roy said...

Great Post! I must disagree with some of your assessments.
First, TO, I agree he is the best receiver in football (once he has the ball), he is a monster and plays all out all the time. I do not think the Eagles will get anything for him. If they manage to get anything that will be a coup.
Second, it comes down to the Eagles front office. They need to begin paying players. Reid is a great coach but he needs talent. Letting Burgess and Simon go (for free) was moronic. They should have given Simon and TO a pay raise in the beggining of the offseason and they would have been contending for the superbowl this year.
I do beleive that the Eagles are good enough to contend for the NFC East title but I believe that it is more of a reflection of the division rather than the team.
Your assessment of the offense, more specifically the running game seems right on. I like Moats(have him on my fantasy team) but he is the same kind of back as Westbrook. You need a big, tough, run up the middle RB.
With out upgrading the pass rush, WR and RB the Eagles will not return to title contention. They need to stop being under the cap every year. You dont own an NFL team to turn a profit but rather to show off.

PS I like the new picture

 

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