6Magazine 2012 NFL Previews: Philadelphia EaglesAugust 3, 2012
by: Julian Kimble.
There’s a phrase that nobody associated with the Philadelphia Eagles organization wants to hear this season. Yup, it’s “Dream Team.” Vince Young, who helped doom the Eagles 2011 season with that remark, is gone, but the memory of last year’s 8-8 disappointment remains. The Eagles made their way to Lehigh for training camp with a few new faces, and without some familiar ones, but the team is focused on living up to their potential and making everyone forget last season ever happened.
Let’s keep it real: it all starts with Michael Vick. As No.7 goes, so go the Eagles, so his health will be the key to their success in 2012. If he isn’t running for his life, he’ll have the time to make big plays. Vick and tight end Brent Celek finally seemed to find a rhythm last season, so Vick will be looking for him and third receiver Jason Avant in the middle of the field. Now that he has the contract he wanted, DeSean Jackson will be eager to bounce back from an inconsistent season and return to being arguably the most dangerous player in the NFL. Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles other weapon at receiver, will focus on holding on to the football and staying healthy. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg should make it a point to give Lesean McCoy even more touches this season. Shady is coming off a campaign where he racked up over 1,600 total yards and 20 total TD’s, the lone offensive bright spot for the Eagles last season. If they’re looking for some type of consistency on offense, it’ll start with that man.
The biggest question mark for the Eagles going into the coming season is their defensive philosophy. Promoting offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator made Andy Reid look like a world class idiot several times last season, as the defense employed a wide-nine scheme that often exposed its weakness at linebacker. The defense waved goodbye to cornerback Asante Samuel during the off-season, trading the zone ball-hawk to Atlanta. This will allow 2011 acquisitions Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to slide back into their comfort zones of smothering people in man-to-man coverage. Neither one of them will miss getting torched in the slot one bit. Up front, Trent Cole and Jason Babin will continue to be a handful for opposing lineman. Cole is coming off his best season, and Babin has 30.5 combined sacks over the last two. Oh, and then there’s Cullen Jenkins. Don’t forget about that guy.
The Philadelphia Eagles have as much talent as any team in the NFL, which is what made last season such a huge disappointment. They didn’t struggle because they were overmatched, they failed because they sunk their own ship with mistakes and Andy Reid was outcoached far too often. Still, they ended the season on a high-note, and with a lot to prove in a competitive divison, the Eagles have their eyes on the Super Bowl once again.