Saturday, August 18, 2012

32 in 32: Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles
Read the introduction here
Read the Cowboys preview here
New York Jets tomorrow

2011 Record: 8-8

Key Additions: O.J. Atogwe, Demetress Bell, Fletcher Cox, DeMeco Ryans
Key Departures: Ronnie Brown, Winston Justice, Asante Samuel, Owen Schmitt, Juqua Parker

Really disappointing start to the season in 2011, but they really ended the year on a hot streak. Overall, this team is up there with one of the most talented teams in the league. I can't even come up with a good reason why they were so bad at the beginning of the year. Their defense should have been much better, and I expect great improvement this year. Vick always gets hurt and I see him missing at least 2 games, as he always does. Hopefully for the Eagles, it comes at a weak spot in their schedule, because Andy Reid is very good at developing and teaching QBs. Whoever the backup is, (Trent Edwards, Mike Kafka, or Nick Foles) he will be at least average under Reid.

I'm not sure if Vick's explosiveness is still there, but his improved skills as a pocket passer makes him so good. At 32 years old, he probably won't be able to scramble around like Mike Vick, but his accuracy is decent enough for him to still be very good. We all know about his powerful left arm.

LeSean McCoy is one of the best running backs in the NFL. His elusiveness is great. Dion Lewis wasn't terrible has the second back last year.

DeSean Jackson had a really down year last year, but I'll chalk that up to the holdout combined with the shortened training camp. His downfield speed makes him such a great deep threat, and I think he'll return to form this season. Jeremy Maclin is a great second option with great hands. Jason Avant is a really consistent receiver. He's very sure-handed and is a great security blanket receiver.

Brent Celek really has to step up this year. He looked very average in 2011, but that's not what was expected of him. I don't consider him elite, but he has to play like the above average player that he has shown in the past.

Jason Peters has made the Pro Bowl each of the past 5 years, but he has a ruptured Achilles tendon right now, and I'm not sure if he's going to be available at the beginning of the season. Todd Herremans and Demetress Bell will do a good job in his absence, with one of them moving to the bench one he returns. Evan Mathis was a real rock at the left guard position last year. Hopefully he can continue to keep guys in front of him.

Somebody forgot to tell Jason Babin that he was supposed to be as bad as the rest of the team last year. He was a terror for all offenses last year. He found ways to get his hands on the QB. No matter what the situation, he found ways to get into the backfield. It was really impressive. Darryl Tapp and Brandon Graham were very good situational pass rushers last year. Trent Cole is a very good rush end himself. They'll do a  great job at pressuring opposing quarterbacks. Fletcher Cox is considered to be a great defensive tackle, so I'm excited to see him make some major stops this year. I haven't even gotten to Cullen Jenkins, who was a major piece of the Super Bowl team in Green Bay. He wasn't nearly as dominant as usual last year, but I see him just eating up space in the middle. Overall, the defensive line is the best unit on this team. I have no idea why the Texans traded DeMeco Ryans, but hey, that's a gain for the Iggles. He's a leader and a really good linebacker. He's very reliable. Akeem Jordan and Casey Matthews are decent linebackers.

Nnamdi Asomugha has a quietly good year last year as he continued to frustrate wide receivers. With Asante Samuelgone, DRC will stop playing the nickel corner position and move to the second cornerback position. He's a really good playmaker even if he didn't exactly show that last season. Joselio Hanson will take over at the nickel corner role. Oshiomogho (VICTORY!) Atogwe and Nate Allen are really good safeties. Atogwe has experienced a drop off in play lately, but he's still very good.

Special Teams
Alex Henery barely had any field goal attempts last year, but he only missed 1 of 11. I expect more attempts this year, and he showed great accuracy. Rounding out the all Henry/Henery special teams unit, is Chas Henry. He wasn't very good last year, but he has competition in Mat McBriar. I expect McBriar to win the starting job. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will be the one back to receive kicks this year, and that means good things for this team.

10-6, 2nd in NFC East

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