Any other year, a preseason game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars would not have a significant impact for the fans.
However, last night’s matchup may have been one of the most hyped-up preseason games fans have seen in years since Michael Vick was making his debut with the Eagles after spending 18 months in prison for his involvement with running a dogfighting operation.
Vick’s first game back since Dec. 31, 2006 was the complete opposite of what most people expected—which may have been a great thing.
There were protesters outside of the stadium before the game, but not nearly the amount everyone expected. There were plenty of fans wearing No. 7 jerseys—even though some said “Garcia” on the back—to show their support for Vick and welcome him to the City of Brotherly Love.
Instead of a stadium divided about how they felt about Vick between cheers and boos, he received a standing ovation from fans as he made his first appearance on the field during the second play of offense for the Eagles.
Even though he was only on the field for six plays, Vick was still the man of the hour at Lincoln Financial Field. Each play, fans would anxiously wait in their seats to see if No. 7 was making his way from the sidelines to the center of the field in hope of seeing an exciting play that so many of us are used to seeing from Vick.
He may have only completed four passes for 19 yards, but it was all the Eagles needed from Vick considering he hasn’t played in the NFL for two years.
Overall, Vick had a successful return with the Eagles and did everything he was asked to do to help the Eagles win the game.
Even though the night seemed to be focused on Vick’s return, there was still a football game to be played between the Eagles and Jaguars. Even though the Eagles ended up winning 33-32, the team still has a lot to work on—both on offense and defense—if they look to be contenders in the 2009 season.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb finished 21-for-36, throwing for 244 yards and one touchdown as he played most of the first three quarters. However, he managed two key turnovers that could have resulted in points for the Eagles (he threw one backwards pass while on the Jaguars’ one-yard line that resulted into a fumble that was returned for a touchdown).
At one point, a group of Philadelphia fans began the “We Want Vick” chant after watching McNabb struggle at certain points during the game. Despite his struggles, it’s hard to blame McNabb for his performance when the entire offense looked inconsistent most of the game.
If the Eagles want to effectively use both Vick and McNabb in the upcoming 2009 season, head coach Andy Reid needs to figure out a system that will work well for everyone, especially McNabb.
In the game against the Jaguars, Reid used Vick for random plays instead of allowing him to play an entire series on his own.
There were numerous cases where McNabb would appear to get into a rhythm on offense, only to be sidelined so Vick could step in. When McNabb would return to the field for the next play, his rhythm seemed to be off again and the Eagles offense would look horrendous.
Using McNabb and Vick on offense has a lot of potential for the 2009 season, and it could confuse opposing defenses on what to expect from the Eagles each week.
However, Reid needs to figure out an effective system that will work well and keep everyone in rhythm if the Eagles want to take advantage of using Vick for the upcoming season.
Otherwise, the Eagles offense will be in for a long 2009 season, especially if they play the way they did in the first half of last night’s game.
Dec. 31, 2006: This was the last time Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick played a game in the NFL.
Coincidentally, his last game happened to be the regular season finale at Lincoln Financial Field against the Eagles.
Now, Vick is set to make his return to the NFL at the same place he was last seen, only this time he will be playing for birds of a different prey in the Eagles as they square off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in their third preseason game, which is seen by some as one of the most important games in the offseason.
The third preseason game is a chance for most of the Eagles’ starters to play a significant amount of time since a good amount of them will sit during the preseason finale to rest up for opening week against the Carolina Panthers.
Head coach Andy Reid and the rest of the Eagles coaching staff will be very observant tonight to see which players perform well and which players struggle.
However, if you are the media, fans of football, or even just part of the Eagles fanbase, the only performance that will seem to matter tonight will be Vick’s.
Even though it’s only the third preseason game, the Eagles should expect an interesting night at Lincoln Financial Field.
What should fans attending the game expect tonight?
For starters, expect the usual die-hard Eagles fans tailgating and cheering their beloved Eagles on to victory. However, their tailgating scene may be filled with a different group of people Eagles fans aren’t used to seeing.
Ever since the signing of Vick, the city of Philadelphia seems to be torn on whether or not this was the right move by Joe Banner, Jeffrey Lurie, and the rest of the Eagles organization.
To bring in a player such as Vick to the Eagles after his involvement with organizing dogfighting will be an issue in the headlines for the entire season.
Not only are there a good number of fans unhappy with the signing, but members of PETA weren’t exactly thrilled with the situation either.
Vick’s debut will be the most talked about story in the media for the next couple of days whether people want to hear about it or not.
For his debut, there will be a fair share of fans who will welcome Vick with open arms, as they are willing to forgive him for his previous actions in hope that his talent will be part of the missing ingredients to help the Eagles win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
However, there will be another fair share of fans who will express their unhappiness with the Vick signing and will show it throughout the entire game. Considering Philadelphia fans, nobody will be shocked if Vick is judged for every play made in tonight’s game.
There will be protesters outside in the parking lot before the game, which could make the entire tailgating scene interesting. Even inside the stadium, the tiniest mistake could lead to the loudest set of boos from the fans in attendance.
Vick knew it would be a rough road making his return to the NFL. He is blessed to be given another chance to show the rest of the league what he is capable of doing on the football field and has waited years for this day to come.
Tonight begins the first official night of Vick’s controversial return to the NFL. He knows the road ahead is going to be rough, but there is no better organization to help him lead the way than the Eagles.
As far as the type of welcome he will receive in the City of Brotherly Love tonight…that’s a different story that should be interesting.
The city of Philadelphia has not seen this much attention in the media since their divorce from former wide receiver Terrell Owens.
Thursday night was supposed to be a calm, relaxing night in the city of Brotherly Love. The Philadelphia Eagles were going to officially kick off their preseason by hosting the New England Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field.
Considering it was preseason, the only importance of this game seemed to be how Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would play after missing the 2008 season with an ACL injury. About halfway through the game, that main story was replaced by the shocking story of the Eagles signing Michael Vick to a two-year deal.
The city of Philadelphia entered a state of shock when the news story was first released about Vick’s deal with the Eagles. For so long, rumors had been flying around that Vick would eventually sign with a team, but the details of teams who were interested were not released.
All of a sudden, a relaxing Thursday night for most fans in Philadelphia turned into a night of confusion. Why would Joe Banner & Co. sign Vick when we already had Donovan McNabb? Better yet, how did this deal even come about?
As expected, ESPN pushed the hype of Brady’s return aside to discuss Vick flying from the nest of the Falcons to the Eagles. According to Chris Mortensen and Sal Paolantonio, both had recently asked Eagles head coach Andy Reid if the team had any interest in signing Vick. His response to both of them was simple: The team had no interest in signing the former Pro Bowl quarterback.
No wonder the city of Philadelphia has entered a state of shock; there were no signs that the Eagles were even showing the slimmest bit of interest in signing Vick. This deal was obviously completed behind closed doors, as Reid and McNabb made it clear in their press conferences that they both helped bring in Vick and the team had been discussing negotiations with him and his agent for over a week.
Whether it was through text messaging, Facebook, or Twitter, the news of Vick signing with the Birds spread quickly to the fans in the Philadelphia area. No matter how the news was discovered, one thing is for sure in the city of Brotherly Love: There is definitely a set of mixed emotions among fans about the Eagles signing Vick.
First, there is the set of fans who are excited about the opportunity to bring in a quarterback with the talent level Vick is capable of bringing to the Eagles. They have seen him perform in the past and know that the team could find a way to take advantage of him on offense, whether it be through the Wildcat offense or a quarterback who takes a few snaps every now and then.
Then there is the set of fans who are now embarrassed to even be part of cheering this team on after what Vick did in the past. They will always judge him as the player who was cruel to dogs for no other reason than self-enjoyment, and he will always be seen that way, no matter how many times he apologizes.
No matter what happens over the next couple of weeks with Vick, there are always going to be two sides with two different opinions on whether or not this was the appropriate move for the Eagles to make.
Despite all of the controversy and headlines this signing will make for the upcoming 2009 season, the Eagles organization should be acknowledged for giving Vick this second chance of new life in the NFL. He deserves it.
What Vick did in the past with his involvement in dogfighting is something that can never be taken back. However, the man has paid his dues and has done everything in his will to be given the opportunity for a fresh start.
He is starting from the bottom and pretty much has nothing left from his 10-year, $130 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons. He has sat out the last two seasons in the NFL and served a 23-month jail sentence. The man has learned from his mistakes and wants to make up for it and do good. So why can’t we let him?
What Vick in the past was cruel, and there is no question on whether or not the Eagles will have to deal with more issues now that he is part of the team. There is a good chance that there will be PETA protesters outside of Lincoln Financial Field every home game for the Eagles this season.
The team’s trip to Atlanta during Week 13 should be an interesting return for Vick considering he will be playing against a Falcons team he spent six seasons playing for before his sentence.
The Eagles should not be worried about the drama that is heading their way in the future. This is Philadelphia we’re talking about, the same team that successfully handled Owens before his eventual release.
When all is said and done, the Eagles were probably the best fit for a player like Vick to end up with. They have a successful franchise that knows how to discipline their players, and Joe Banner, Jeffrey Lurie, and Andy Reid know what they have to do to keep Vick in line.
The interviews show a different type of Vick than we saw two years ago. This is a man who knows he has done wrong and wants to do whatever he can to make things right. He realizes that the NFL is a privilege, not a right, and he wants to take advantage of the opportunity the Eagles have offered him.
Vick appears to be a changed man. In his interview, he stated he wants to get involved with the Philadelphia community and the humane society to help prevent animal cruelty. He is grateful for this second chance to turn his life around with the Eagles, and the fans should be just as grateful to take advantage of the opportunity that lies in front of them.
Obviously, Vick is not the same type of player he was two years ago and won’t be replacing Donovan McNabb anytime soon. However, we all know what he is capable of doing with the football on the field when he is at the top of his game. He makes a great quarterback to have behind McNabb, better than what they had with Kevin Kolb.
Give it time, Eagles fans; Vick may end up becoming useful for the offense in 2009.
With training camp slowly approaching, expectations are higher than ever this season for players and fans of the Philadelphia Eagles after strong late-season performance last year.
After a Week 12 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last season, a game in which quarterback Donovan McNabb was benched in the second half, the Eagles sat at 5-5-1 and would need to play perfect football the last five weeks of the season if there was any hope of making the playoffs.
Against all odds, the Eagles went on to win four of their final five games and squeaked their way into the playoffs with help from other teams around the league, such as the Raiders and Buccaneers.
As a No. 6 seed, they looked impressive in two road wins against the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
With an NFC Championship matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, who the team previously beat 48-20 earlier in the season, the Eagles appeared by some to be a team of destiny on their way to a Super Bowl after miraculously making the playoffs.
Despite the 32-25 loss, the Eagles held their heads high considering most analysts and fans around the league never gave them a shot of advancing as far as they did.
All they could think about was the fact that they needed to carry their hot streak over to 2009.
The fans will say whatever they want about the Eagles’ offseason departures of key players, such as Brian Dawkins. He is irreplaceable at the safety position and will always be respected as one of the greatest players the franchise has ever had.
However, the Eagles arguably had one of the greatest offseasons in free agency and the draft. In March, the team signed free-agent fullback Leonard Weaver to a one-year deal worth around $1.75 million.
He should have an immediate impact blocking for the Eagles, who never really used the fullback position last season.
The team also acquired offensive tackle Jason Peters from the Buffalo Bills, who is arguably one of the best at his position in the league.
The 6?4? 340-pound Peters should improve an offensive line that is dealing with the loss of Tra Thomas, who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason.
In the 2009 NFL Draft, the Eagles were lucky enough to trade up and select Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin with the 19th overall pick. Maclin joins a wide-receiver cast that already consists of Kevin Curtis and DeSean Jackson, two players who have shown they are capable of having 1,000-yard seasons.
The team also traded two fifth-round draft picks to the New England Patriots for cornerback Ellis Hobbs.
If anything, the Eagles make a strong case for finishing atop the NFC East this season thanks to the offseason. With the departure of star wide receivers Terrell Owens and Plaxico Burress, the NFC East may not be seen as competitive of a division as it has been the last few seasons.
The division may be strong, but there may be other divisions such as the NFC South or AFC East who are stronger.
Not only will the Eagles have to deal with playing Dallas, New York, and Washington twice each season, but they have tough matchups with other opponents that may cause problems throughout the season.
They have the ninth toughest schedule in the league with key away games against San Diego, Chicago, Atlanta and Carolina.
Still, the Eagles showed they have what it takes to compete with the best teams in the league with the way they performed toward the end of last season. There is no reason not to believe they will finish atop the NFC East, if not the NFC.
The main factor for the Eagles in 2009 will be health.
Last season, Curtis only played in nine games due to a sports hernia he suffered at the beginning of the season. He looks to bounce back in 2009 after a disappointing campaign last year, in which he finished with 390 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
However, he may not be the most important player that needs to stay healthy on the team’s roster.
From ankle injuries to sports hernias, McNabb has seen his fair share of injuries as an Eagle. However, last season was the first time McNabb was healthy enough to play in all 16 regular season games since 2003.
As long as McNabb can stay healthy for the second consecutive season and takes advantage of the weapons he has on offense, look for the Eagles to finish 13-3 with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs in 2009.
You can follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Eagles_FanVoice
Here’s a statement the city of Brotherly Love never would have expected: Buffalo Bills wide receiver Terrell Owens misses the city of Philadelphia.
During an interview with Mike Missanelli on ESPN 950, Owens expressed how he misses the city of Philadelphia and their fans that supported him each game. He expressed how much the fans got him fired up before each game and how he had his best season and a half as an Eagle.
In the 21 games he played with the Eagles from 2004-05, Owens caught 124 receptions for 1,963 yards, and 20 touchdowns. Midway through his second season with the team, he was deactivated and eventually released.
When Owens first arrived to the Eagles in 2005, some could say he was the savior to a city that was in desperate need for a star wide receiver. Throughout his career, quarterback Donovan McNabb has been known to play without that “go-to-guy.” He helped lead the team to three straight NFC Conference Championships, all in which they lost.
After Owens signed with the Eagles in 2004, it seemed the team had found the missing piece to the puzzle that would get them over the hump and advance to the Super Bowl. Owens and McNabb wasted no time becoming one of the deadliest-duos in the league by hooking up for three touchdowns in Week One against the New York Giants.
That season, the team finished 13-3 and advanced to their first Super Bowl in 24 years. Even though he missed the entire playoffs due to an ankle injury, Owens played a major role in the Eagles success in 2004.
Owens even defied his doctor’s orders and played in Super Bowl XXXIX against the New England Patriots. Despite the Eagles losing 24-21, Owens managed to finish with nine receptions for 122 yards.
Whether Eagles fans want to admit it or not, it’s hard to imagine Super Bowl XXXIX finishing as close as it did if Owens was watching from the sidelines.
They may have fell just short of holding the Lombardi trophy, but the fact that they were able to get over the “NFC Championship Hump” gave fans and players high expectations for the following season.
Unfortunately, the Eagles’ 2005 season became one to forget before they could even begin organized team activities. When Owens hired his new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, in April, he made it clear that he wanted to re-negotiate his contract. Owens made $9 million in 2004, but was only supposed to make around $4.5 million in 2005.
One of the main reasons Owens was unhappy with his contract situation was because he would not be within the top 10 paid wide receivers in 2005, despite his impressive 1,200 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in the 2004 season.
The Eagles on the other hand, who have a history of refusing to re-negotiate contracts once they are in place, felt his contract was fair and denied Owens the re-structured contract he desired. Little did the Eagles know this was just the beginning for the “drama fest” that was about to take place between them and Owens.
The relationship between Owens and McNabb took a turn for the worst when T.O. made a comment that he, “wasn’t the one that got tired in the Super Bowl.” This comment was seen by many as a personal shot at McNabb, who some say appeared “tired” in the final drive against the Patriots in the Super Bowl XXXIX.
To go along with the comment, Owens was also remembered in the offseason for his famous “home workouts.” He stayed true to his holdout by boycotting training camp and set up a workout bench outside his New Jersey home to perform his own workout in front of reporters.
Eventually, Owens gave in and showed up to Eagles camp before the start of the 2005 season. However, he continued to cause controversy for the team during the regular season as he continued to make comments to express his unhappiness with the organization.
At first, the beginning of the 2005 season seemed like a roller coaster ride for Owens and the Eagles. In a Week Two game against his former team, the San Francisco 49ers, Owens caught five receptions from McNabb for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
The two seemed to have put both of their differences aside and were on the verge of returning to the best of friends, like we saw in 2004.
Just when we thought the drama surrounding Owens was finished, it reappeared a few weeks later before a game against the Dallas Cowboys. In a radio interview on 610 WIP, he made a comment that if he could flashback to the 2004 offseason, he would not have signed with the Eagles because of the contract situation.
First off, why would any player in the National Football League make a comment like that for a team they are currently playing for? The comment made by Owens was nothing but disrespectful towards his teammates, fans, and the Eagles organization.
The Week Five game against the Cowboys was one to forget for the Eagles, who could not figure out a way to stop wide receiver Terry Glenn, who finished with 118 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
After the game, Owens made headlines once again by supporting a Cowboys jersey (Michael Irvin’s) after the game. He may be good friends with Irvin, but this was still a questionable move by Owens considering the Eagles had just lost the game to the Cowboys 33-10.
When it seemed like Owens could not possibly do anything else to cause drama for the Eagles franchise, he went on to make comments in an interview with ESPN analyst Michael Irvin regarding McNabb. He stated that if the Eagles were led by former Packers quarterback Brett Favre instead of McNabb, the Eagles would be undefeated right now, simply because Favre is a warrior.
A couple of days before a Week Nine matchup against the Washington Redskins, head coach Andy Reid suspended Owens four games, for conduct detrimental towards the team. The suspension would eventually lead to him being deactivated for the remainder of the season, followed by his release from the Eagles.
One thing about Philadelphia fans is they have been given a nasty reputation for the way they behave at some of their sporting events. Some call them obnoxious. Some call them absurd. Ask any of them personally, and they will tell you that their actions speak for their love of their Philadelphia teams.
When Owens was released from the Eagles, the fans made sure they said their beloved good byes to their once awaited savior by hosting a “mock funeral” in the parking lot at Lincoln Financial Field before a Monday Night Football matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Fans were encouraged to bring their Owens jerseys to place in a coffin that would be donated to charity.
To some, this may seem a little harsh. In reality, this is no surprise to anyone who is or has seen Philadelphia fans act when they are aggravated about something. Either way, this action was a pretty clear-cut sign that the fans from the city of brotherly love were parting ways with their once beloved savior.
Now that his drama with the Eagles had come to an end, what else could Owens possibly do to get underneath the skin of Eagles fans? How about sign with one of their most intense division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys?
In March of 2006, Owens signed a three-year deal with the Cowboys worth around $25 million that included a $5 million signing bonus. The signing also indicated that the star wide receiver would have the opportunity to square off against his former Eagles’ teammates twice a year, including one guaranteed trip to Philadelphia each season.
When Owens first faced his former Eagles-squad for the first time in 2006 since his signing with the Cowboys, it was obvious he wanted nothing more than to march into the Linc and destroy his former team who refused to re-negotiate his contract and give him the money he believed he deserved.
However, Owens was lucky enough to even play in the game against his former team.
A few weeks prior, Owens had accidentally overdosed on a pain medication called hydrocodone. When the story first broke out, there were reports that the overdose was a “suicide attempt” for a depressed Owens.
However, he confirmed the next day, after his release from the hospital, that it was not a suicide attempt and that he had just experienced an allergic reaction with another supplementary he had been taking.
Owens and the Cowboys found themselves visiting the Eagles during Week Five of the 2006 regular season. This game may have been one of the most hyped-up Eagles games of all time as the fans wanted to see nothing more than a Cowboys loss and a disappointed Owens on the sideline.
In the end, it was McNabb and the Eagles who got the last laugh, as they went on to defeat the Cowboys 38-24 in a game that was sealed towards the end after Drew Bledsoe threw a late interception that was returned 102 yards by Lito Sheppard for a touchdown to put the Eagles up 14.
Throughout the entire game, the fans would boo and call-out Owens any time he even came near the ball. There were even chants of “O.D.” in regards to his overdose experience (talk about harsh).
He had gone from one of the most beloved players to one of the most hated in a span of a year. He finished the game with just three receptions for 45 yards, but it was his post-game tantrum that made headlines as he was yelling at his teammates in the locker room following the frustrating loss.
This routine continued for Owens during his three-year tenure as a Cowboy. There were games where he dominated the Eagles defense, and there were games where he was shut-down by some of his former teammates. Each time he returned to his former home, the fans would show him no-love and get on his case for every single move he made.
In his last game against the Eagles as a member of the Cowboys squad, Owens finished with an impressive six receptions for 103 yards. However, his statistics were not much of a factor as the Birds manhandled the ‘Boys 44-6 and clinched the No. 6 seed for the NFC in the playoffs.
Now that Owens is with the Bills, he will not be guaranteed that once-a-year visit to Lincoln Financial Field where Eagles fans can bash on him all they want. Whether or not he will get the chance to play in Philadelphia again is something we will just have to wait around for since we never know how the schedule may play out.
Owens may miss the way the fans fired him up before each home game. However, the way Owens departed the Eagles is something that fans will never forget.
For so long, they had waited for that star receiver for McNabb to hit. When he first signed with the team in 2004, it seemed as if McNabb would have a go-to receiver for the rest of his career as an Eagle.
Instead, McNabb and the rest of the team were left with nothing but a headache that was too stressful to deal with on a regular basis. Even the fans were frustrated with Owens as they wanted him to accept the fact that he was already making millions and should just do his job as a wide receiver.
One can’t help but wonder what kind of success the Eagles may have had if they were able to work things out with Owens. The talent he brought to the table each week may be seen as irreplaceable considering he is one of the top wide receivers in football.
Owens’ talent will always be missed by players and fans of the Eagles across the country. Unfortunately, the type of individual and player he was is something that will never be missed, no matter how hard the case is made.
“Dan Parzych covers the Eagles for NFLTouchdown.com. You can view his work here.”
Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles clinched a playoff spot in one of the most bizarre ways we could have imagined.
In the final week of the season, the Eagles received unlikely help from the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans just to be in contention for a wild-card spot in the playoffs.
After manhandling the Dallas Cowboys 44-6 at home, the Eagles found themselves heading to Minnesota to play the Vikings in the opening round of the playoffs.
With back-to-back wins against the Vikings and New York Giants, the Eagles surprised the world by reaching their fifth NFC Conference Championship game in eight years as a six seed.
Despite falling just short of the Super Bowl by losing 32-25 to the Arizona Cardinals, the Eagles were impressive toward the end of the season, winning six of their final eight games.
After a strong finish to last season and an offseason in which they took advantage of free agency and the draft, the Eagles are suddenly considered by some analysts as favorites in the NFC this season.
For some, this is an easy statement to believe considering the way the Eagles played at the end of last season. However, the road to the Super Bowl for the Eagles may be more challenging than people realize.
Sure, the Eagles were nothing short of impressive this offseason when it came to signing players through free agency and the draft. However, there were other moves made that may cause the Eagles to make adjustments they never thought they’d have to experience come September.
Whether they were for the best or for the worst, the Eagles offseason was filled with numerous changes that will have an impact on the upcoming 2009 season.
Jim Johnson takes leave of absence for chemotherapy
No matter what team you play or cheer for, we all hope for the best for Jim Johnson and his family during these difficult times.
In 1999, Jim Johnson was recruited by Andy Reid to take over as defensive coordinator for the Eagles. Ten years later, the two are still working together and have had plenty of success with the Eagles.
For the first time in his coaching career with the Eagles, Reid may have to start the regular season without Johnson by his side as defensive coordinator. In January, Johnson was diagnosed with melanoma for the second time since 2001.
He spent the final two games of the 2009 playoffs coaching from the press box since he was in too much pain to be on the field.
A few weeks ago, Johnson announced that he would be taking a leave of absence from the Eagles to undergo his second round of chemotherapy. Whether or not he will be able to return before the start of the season remains unknown.
Secondary coach Sean McDermott will take over the defense until Johnson’s return.
At issue is whether or not Johnson’s absence will have an impact on the Eagles’ defense. Johnson is known throughout the league as the coordinator who loves to blitz the quarterback on a consistent basis, and he has had the Eagles defense ranked near the top of the league each season.
In 2001, Johnson and the Eagles became the fourth team in NFL history to give up 21 points or less in 16 straight games in a season. Last season, his defense finished fourth in the league by giving up just 18.1 points per game.
Hopefully Johnson can make another full recovery and return to the Eagles as soon as possible. However, this is one of those situations where Johnson’s health is more important than whether or not he is on the sideline.
As much as the Eagles and their fans would love to see him back as soon as possible, we all want the best for Johnson. If this means his leave of absence is longer than expected, than the adjustments will be made.
The rest of the Eagles staff has adjusted to Johnson’s style of play on defense the last 10 years. McDermott should do a solid job as far as taking over the defense in the meantime.
Filling in the void at safety left by Brian Dawkins
For the last 13 seasons, Brian Dawkins, also known as Weapon X, was the heart and soul of the Philadelphia Eagles. Words can’t describe his passion for the game of football and the city of Philadelphia loved him for that.
Before the offseason, any Eagles fan would have laughed if you asked them if they thought Dawkins would ever play for a team other than Philadelphia. When March rolled around, those fans weren’t laughing anymore.
After 13 seasons that consisted of 545 total tackles, 21 sacks, and 34 interceptions, Dawkins and the Eagles went their separate ways when he signed a five-year deal worth $17 million.
The city of Philadelphia has seen its fair share of fan favorites depart over the last couple of decades. However, no departure of a fan favorite hurt more than Dawkins leaving for Denver.
Does this mean the city of Philadelphia will be mad at Dawkins? Of course not. The reasons behind his signing with the Broncos were fair. The Eagles front office felt that his gas tank was running out and weren’t going to offer him the contract he thought he deserved. The Eagles have 100 percent support behind Dawkins’ move.
Still, it’s hard to replace the leadership Dawkins provided for the Eagles during his 13-year career. The way he would flex his muscles after a tremendous hit on the opponent would send goose bumps to anyone, no matter where they were watching from.
The Eagles can search all they want for Dawkins’ replacement. No matter how many players try to fill his void, no safety will ever be able to fill his shoes in the city of brotherly love.
All the city of Philadelphia can do now is accept the fact that they have to adjust to life without Dawkins starting at safety every Sunday. Wish him the best of luck with his new team and welcome him when he returns to The Linc on Dec. 28.
The signing of Leonard Weaver at fullback should provide enough blocking to improve the running game
One of the most frustrating things about the Eagles last season was there third and fourth down plays for short yardage. Most of the time, they failed to convert in these situations simply because nobody was blocking the way for the running back.
This season, things should be a little different for the Eagles when they find themselves in these types of situations.
Last March, the Eagles signed former Seattle Seahawk Leonard Weaver to a one-year deal to provide the Eagles with the type of fullback they haven’t seen in years.
The most exciting feature about Weaver is that he is a fullback that can do whatever is necessary to help his team win. He can block the way for running backs. He can run and catch the ball.
Last season with the Seahawks, Weaver finished with 130 yards rushing and 222 yards receiving.
Weaver should be an immediate improvement for the Eagles at the fullback position this season. He may be seen by some as the “triple-threat” as he can provide help in any way possible on offense. Not to mention he will make a great fit for those third and short/fourth and short situations, an area where the Eagles struggled last season.
The one Eagle who should benefit the most from the signing of Weaver is Brian Westbrook. Weaver should provide excellent blocking for Westbrook and help him find the necessary holes to gain that extra yardage.
If everything goes according to plan, the Eagles may be looking to sign Weaver to a long-term deal after next season.
McNabb may not have landed the big name receiver he desired, but he has weapons.
During the offseason, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb made a statement that he would not negotiate a long-term deal until he saw what the team did in the offseason.
For most of his career, McNabb has been known to play without that “big name” receiver. Ever since the departure of Terrell Owens, the Eagles have made numerous attempts to land that big name wide receiver to play alongside McNabb.
Some of the receivers whose names have been thrown around include Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
Obviously the Eagles have not landed that big name wide receiver. However, this may not be the worst thing in the world after the recent draft.
When Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was still available late in the first round, the Eagles knew they needed to take advantage of the opportunity and find a way to draft him.
After trading with the Cleveland Browns to move up two spots, the Eagles selected Maclin with the 19th overall pick. Maclin would be joining an Eagles receiving corps that consisted of DeSean Jackson and Kevin Curtis.
McNabb may not have landed the big-name wide receiver that he wished for in the offseason, but he was still happy with the moves the Eagles made in the draft.
All of a sudden, McNabb appears to have a group of weapons at the wide receiver position, which is something he isn’t used to having.
Jackson and Curtis have both proven they are capable of being 1,000-yard wide receiver. Maclin has the potential to have a similar rookie campaign we saw with Jackson last season. Now that McNabb appears to have a talented group of wide receivers, it’s up to him to show the rest of the league what he can do with them.
Jason Peters and Stacy Andrews should have an immediate impact on the offensive line
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to see a family member go on to the NFL—it takes even more work to see two.
Eli Manning and Peyton Manning will always be compared to each other about who is the better quarterback.
Ronde will always be separated from his brother Tiki as the Barber brother who had the opportunity to win the Super Bowl.
Whether they are brothers or cousins, it’s always fun to compare members of the same family who play in the NFL. This is what happened for the last two years once offensive lineman Stacy Andrews was drafted by the Bengals. He and his brother Shawn would always be seen as the brothers who played on two different teams.
That is until this offseason.
Shawn and Stacy Andrews will share an experience that most brothers will never experience during their NFL careers—they will play together for the first time in their football careers by protecting Donovan McNabb.
Not only did the Eagles sign Stacy to a six-year deal this offseason, but they also traded for another offensive lineman in Jason Peters, who is seen by some as one of the best offensive lineman in football.
The Eagles surrendered the 28th overall pick and a fourth-round pick to the Buffalo Bills in last April’s draft to acquire the rights of Peters, who was threatening another holdout in Buffalo if he didn’t receive the contract extension he desired.
After the Bills made the trade, the Eagles immediately signed him to a six-year extension worth $60 million.
It might not seem obvious now, but the signing of Andrews and Peters should have an immediate impact on the offensive line. McNabb will have more protection in the pocket to find his open receivers. Running back Brian Westbrook should be able to find more holes to escape down field.
Offensive lineman in the NFL never receive all of the credit they deserve. Most of the time, the people watching the game couldn’t even tell you the names of the linemen in the game.
One thing is certain: people should know the names of Stacy Andrews and Jason Peters once they start watching the Eagles games come September.
“Dan Parzych covers the Eagles for NFLTouchdown.com.“
Throughout his career, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb has faced his fair share of criticism.
When the Eagles selected him with the No. 2 pick overall in 1999, he was booed by fans who wanted Ricky Williams instead. His controversy with Rush Limbaugh shed light on the issue of African-American quarterbacks in the league. Even this past November, he dealt with criticism after head coach Andy Reid benched him in the second half during a 36-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
If he fails to win a Super Bowl by the time he decides to call it quits, McNabb’s legacy in Philadelphia may be remembered for the five NFC Championship game appearances in eight years without a championship. However, he should be considered for the group of wide receivers he has played with over his career before he gets judged.
Peyton Manning had Marvin Harrison. Steve Young had Jerry Rice. Troy Aikman was lucky enough to have Michael Irvin at wide receiver and Emmith Smith at running back.
Even though he played less than two seasons with the Eagles, Terrell Owens may always be seen as the best wide receiver McNabb ever played with. Eagles fans may not want to believe it, but it’s true. McNabb and Owens had the potential to be one of those dynamic duos that won a Super Bowl together.
Unfortunately, that never happened.
In 21 games, Owens caught 132 receptions for 1,963 yards and 20 touchdowns. Him and McNabb had the potential to become a dynamic duo, similar to Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison of the Indianapolis Colts.
Besides Owens, McNabb has never played with a true dominant No. 1 receiver during his career. Despite this, he has still managed to throw for 29,320 yards and 194 touchdowns during his ten-year career. Looking at the Eagles leading wide receiver each year, the numbers are impressive for McNabb considering which receivers he has had to work with. Look at the Eages’ leading receivers each season since 2000:
2000: Charles Johnson, 56 receptions, 642 yards, and 7 touchdowns
2001: James Thrash, 63 receptions, 833 yards, and 8 touchdowns
2002: Todd Pinkston, 40 receptions, 798 yards, and 7 touchdowns
2003: Todd Pinkston, 36 receptions, 575 yards and 2 touchdowns
2004: Terrell Owens, 77 receptions, 1,200 yards, and 14 touchdowns
2005: Terrell Owens, 47 receptions, 763 yards, and 6 touchdowns (only played in 7 games)
2006: Reggie Brown, 46 receptions, 816 yards, and 8 touchdowns
2007: Kevin Curtis, 77 receptions, 1,110 yards, and 6 touchdowns
2008: DeSean Jackson, 62 receptions, 912 yards, and 2 touchdowns
Owens and Curtis are the only wide receivers to record more than 1,000 yards in a season during the McNabb era. Other receivers that McNabb has played with through his career include James Thrash (2001-2003) and Freddie Mitchell (2001-2004). Throughout his career, McNabb has been able to post solid numbers considering the wide receivers he has worked with.
Ever since the departure of Owens, one of the main topics surrounding the Eagles’ organization has been about Donovan McNabb and how he needs a true No. 1 wide receiver. Even during the offseason, McNabb made it clear to the media that he would see what moves the team made during the offseason before making a decision about a contract extension.
Over the last couple of years, rumors have swirled around the league about the possibility of the Eagles landing a big name wide receiver. No matter how many rumors have swirled around, the matter of fact is the team has never been able to acquire that top wide receiver McNabb always wanted.
As much as the Eagles may have wanted to acquire Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards, they may not need them as much as people think.
As crazy as this may sound, the Eagles enter the 2009 season with loads of talent at the wide receiver spot. They may not be near the top of the list as far as best receivers in the league, but there are a number of players with a level of talent that McNabb has always wanted.
Some players have the potential to be a No. 1 wide receiver. Some players have the potential for playing a smaller role. Either way, these next couple months should be interesting for the Eagles as a handful of wide receivers will be competing for spots in the team’s lineup.
Last year, the Eagles selected DeSean Jackson out of California with the 45th overall pick in the draft. Even though he only caught two touchdown passes, he led the team in receiving yards with 962.
His explosiveness is a perfect fit for the team’s West-Coast offense. Not only does he make a great fit at wide receiver, but he’s a great fit for a punt returner too. After last season, it’s not even a question whether or not Jackson will make the Eagles’ roster this season.
The only question is whether or not he has what it takes to be the team’s No. 1 wide receiver in only his second season with the team.
In this year’s draft, the Eagles were hoping to draft running back Knowshon Moreno. The former Georgia star would be a perfect fit to play behind Brian Westbrook, with the possibility of becoming the main back in the future. Instead, Moreno was selected by the Broncos with the 12th overall pick.
At first, fans were disappointed after all the hype was built up about Moreno. However, little did they know the availability of a certain player that would come later in the first round.
One of the biggest surprises in this year’s draft was the first wide receiver selected. For months, former Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree was seen as the player in the draft at his position. When the Raiders selected Darrius Heyward-Bey out of Maryland as the first wide receiver taken in the draft, it through everyone off.
With the 21st pick in the draft, the Eagles found themselves with an opportunity to draft a standout wide receiver from Missouri in Jeremy Maclin. Not taking any chances, the Eagles decided to trade-up with the Cleveland Browns and select Maclin at No. 19.
Maclin appears to be a mere image of Jackson and has the potential to be one of the biggest offensive threats for the Eagles. In just two seasons at Missouri, he caught 182 receptions for 2,315 yards and 22 touchdowns. He may not be considered a No.1 wide receiver at the beginning of the season, but the potential is there.
Don’t forget, not many people expected Jackson to have the type of impact he had at wide receiver last season for the Eagles.
In 2007, the Eagles struck gold in free agency by signing former St. Louis Rams’ wide receiver Kevin Curtis to a six-year, $32 million deal. At the time, the city of Philadelphia was excited since Curtis was the biggest named receiver on the team since the departure of Terrell Owens.
With the acquisition of Curtis, many questioned whether or not he was capable of being a No. 1 receiver on a football team. In his first four seasons with the Rams, he was always considered a No. 3 receiver playing behind Tory Holt and Issac Bruce. He would put up solid numbers from time to time, but never really had the experience as the top receiver on a team.
In his first full-season with the Eagles, Curtis reached all expectations. He started more games that season (16) than he did his entire career. His 1,110 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns gave hope that the team had finally found the No. 1 wide receiver they had always been looking for.
Once again, Curtis has the potential to be the team’s No. 1 receiver coming into the season. However, a sports hernia injury at the beginning of last season not only caused him to sit out the first couple of games, but it allowed Jackson to emerge as a rookie.
Curtis played in just nine games last season. His numbers were disappointing as he only caught 33 receptions for 390 yards and 2 touchdowns.
As long as he stays healthy, Curtis should have a major impact for the Eagles’ offense. However, whether or not he will be considered a No. 1 or No. 2 wide receiver should be determined over the next couple of months. If Jackson follows up with a successful sophomore campaign and Maclin has a successful rookie season, Curtis may see himself in a similar situation from his days with the Rams as a No. 3 wide receiver.
After his first two seasons with the Eagles, there were high expectations for wide receiver Reggie Brown. Two years later, those expectations have declined and Brown appears to be on the verge of trying to find playing time.
From 2005-2006, Brown caught 89 receptions for 1,387 yards and 12 touchdowns. Last season, Brown had his worst season in his career.
In the ten games he played in last season, he only caught 18 receptions for 252 yards and a touchdown. The main statistic that sticks out is of the ten games he played in last season, Brown only started in three of them. In the three seasons prior to 2008, he started 40 of 48 games he played in.
Brown struggled to find playing time last season. After drafting Maclin in this year’s draft, he could be struggling to find playing time once again. Not only will he be fighting for playing time, but he may be battling for a roster spot.
It’s obvious that Jackson, Maclin, and Curtis will make the cut by the time camp ends. Instead of competing with them, Brown may be competing with Baskett and Avant for a roster spot.
Out of all of the players on the Eagles roster, nobody may have more of an interesting story than Hank Basket.
After attending the University of New Mexico, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie unrestricted free agent. Not too long after, he was traded to the Eagles for wide receiver Billy McMullen.
Baskett has never been the dominant receiver in the NFL we have seen in Terrell Owens or Larry Fitzgerald. Instead, he has always been known for having that big game every blue moon.
Baskett’s rookie campaign will always be remembered for his miraculous game against the Dallas Cowboys. Week 5 of the 2006 season was the first time Terrell Owens returned to the City of Brotherly Love since his so called “divorce” with the Eagles. He wanted nothing more than to march into Philadelphia and beat his former team on their home turf. The city of Philadelphia wanted to defeat the Cowboys more than anything in the world.
While trailing 21-17 in the 3rd quarter, the Eagles found themselves deep in their own territory at the 13-yard line. On the first play of the drive, McNabb dropped back and threw a bomb down the field to Hank Baskett. A broken tackle and 87 yards later, Baskett had his first career touchdown. The Eagles eventually went on to win the game 38-24.
In his three-year career, Baskett has caught 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and 6 touchdowns. He finds himself in a similar situation with Reggie Brown. Since the Eagles have drafted two wide receivers early on the last two seasons, this means there may be fewer spots on the roster for wide receivers such as Brown, Baskett, and Avant.
The advantage for Baskettt, his numbers were better than Brown’s last season. Of the fifteen games he played in last season, he started six of them. He caught 33 receptions for 440 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Hank Baskett and Jason Avant are more similar than most people realize. Both wide receivers joined the Eagles in 2006 as rookies and have seen a decent amount of playing time each season.
Jason Avant will be entering his fourth season as a Philadelphia Eagle. The former Michigan Wolverine was selected in the fourth round after finishing his college career with 120 receptions, 1,470 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns.
During his rookie season, Avant didn’t have that much of an impact with the Eagles. In the eight games he played in, he caught just seven receptions, which resulted in 68 yards and a touchdown.
Over the course of the next two seasons, he played in 30 games. He started 11 of those 30 games and caught 55 receptions for 644 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Donovan McNabb has enjoyed the presence of Avant during the 2008 season. Last season, Avant converted 13 of 15 catches for first downs on 3rd-down plays. Whether or not this statistic will be good enough to keep him on the team this season will be determined in the next couple of months.
After playing most of his career without a star wide receiver, Donovan McNabb all of a sudden has a ton of weapons to throw to. If Jackson, Maclin, and Curtis can stay healthy, McNabb may have one of the best triple-threats at wide receiver in the league. Not to mention he also has Brian Westbrook, who at times is considered another wide receiver for the team.
The wide receiver position will be very competitive for the Eagles over the next couple of weeks. Jackson, Maclin, and Curtis should be a lock. As far as Brown, Baskett, and Avant go, it appears the three of these guys will have a lot of competing to do for playing time, if not a roster spot.
“Dan Parzych covers the Eagles for NFLTouchdown.com. You can view his work here“
Chad Ochocinco will get his desired wish of his new legal name on the back of his jersey. However, it won’t be the way he actually wanted it.
The NFL announced Thursday that the Bengals wide receiver will be allowed to wear his new name on the back of his jersey this season, but it will read “Ochocinco” instead of Ocho Cinco. Since he wrote Ochocinco on his name-change form, the league claims he must wear his jersey that way since it’s his real name.
Once again, Ocho Cinco appears to be a popular topic in the media. He will most likely voice his opinion within the next couple of days about how he is unhappy with the way his new jersey name looks. Does he have the right to speak up?
It’s hard not to assume the league did this to Ochocinco on purpose. Last season, the league was against calling him by his new name because of their large inventory of Johnson jerseys that Reebok already printed for the 2008 season. If he wanted to go by his new name, he would have to pay around $4 million for the jerseys that had already been printed.
Ever since Chad legally changed his name, he has always spelled it as Ocho Cinco. The media has always spelled is as Ocho Cinco. The league knew that he always spelled it Ocho Cinco. So how can we not assume they are making him spell it as Ochocinco to get under his skin?
No matter what happens with this situation, the league will always use the defense that players’ real names appear on jerseys and he made his legal name Ochocinco on the name-change form.
Then again, the league was aware of how he liked to spell his new name. If they knew this was going to be an issue, why did they wait until now to bring up the issue? Is it because they had no reason to deny Ochocinco the rights to wear his new last name?
With everything that happened last year with the name-change debate, it’s hard to not to imagine the league did this to make Ochocinco upset
There was once a popular phrase around the NFL that asked, how do you stop 85? This phrase was about Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson, who now goes by the name Chad Ocho Cinco.
Throughout his career, Ocho Cinco has been nothing but a headache to opposing defenses. Other than his rookie season, he had never recorded fewer than 1,100 yards receiving. That was until last season.
2008 was a season to forget, not only for the 4-11-1 Cincinnati Bengals, but for Ocho Cinco himself. For the first time since his rookie campaign in 2001, he failed to reach the 1,000-yard mark in receiving. In fact, he didn’t even reach the 600-yard mark.
Last season, Ocho Cinco had 53 receptions for 540 yards and four touchdowns. He played in 13 games but started just 10 of them. How does a player with the talent level of Ocho Cinco have such a disappointing season?
Many blame Carson Palmer’s absence for Ocho Cinco’s horrendous 2008 season. Palmer only played in four of the first five regular season games last season due to an elbow injury. While he sat on the bench, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick ran the offense.
It’s easy to assume that Ocho Cinco’s decline in statistics during 2008 was because of the quarterback situation.
Palmer is a former Heisman Trophy winner out of Southern California, which is well known as one of the best programs in all of college football. Fitzpatrick comes from Harvard University, which is well known for having one of the best academic programs in the country, but is not exactly a football production line.
Long story short—the two levels of competition each school faces on the football field is nowhere even close to each other. Southern California plays schools such as UCLA and Oregon, while Harvard plays schools such as Princeton and Yale.
Basically, Carson Palmer’s experience is at a completely different level than Fitzpatrick’s.
If Fitzpatrick is the reason for Ocho Cinco’s 2008 season, does this mean he is only as good as the quarterback running the offense?
It’s obvious Ryan Fitzpatrick is no Carson Palmer. In 13 games last season, he threw for just 1,905 yards, eight touchdowns, and nine interceptions. During the 16 games he played in the 2007 regular season, Palmer threw for 4,131 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions.
In other words, Palmer’s average passing yards each game surpassed Fitzpatrick’s by more than 100. Not to mention he averaged a whole touchdown more per game.
Prior to last season, Ocho Cinco has been Palmer’s main target at the wide receiver position for the previous four seasons. In those four seasons, they hooked up for over 5,000 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Ocho Cinco failed to find that special connection when Fitzpatrick took over at quarterback. In the nine games the two played together in, they hooked up for just 470 yards and four touchdowns.
Besides Palmer, Ocho Cinco has had just three other quarterbacks throw to him during his eight-year career: Jon Kitna (46 games), Gus Frerotte (three games), and Akili Smith (two games).
It’s hard to make comparisons between Ocho Cinco during his time with Frerotte and Smith as his quarterback, considering they played a combined five games together. However, Kitna is a quarterback that makes a strong case for Ocho Cinco only being good as his quarterback.
In his first three seasons with the Bengals, Kitna threw for 9,985 yards, 54 touchdowns, and 53 interceptions. These may not be Peyton Manning-esque numbers, but they were still decent for an average quarterback.
It wasn’t until his second season with the Bengals that Ocho Cinco became a full-time starter at wide receiver. In his first two seasons as a starter with Kitna as his quarterback, he had 159 receptions for 2,521 yards and 15 touchdowns.
There have been numerous wide receivers throughout history who have improved their game because of the quarterback they played with. Some argue that Tom Brady has made Wes Welker a better wide receiver in New England. Others say Marvin Harrison’s career would not have been the same if he had never played with Peyton Manning.
Kitna and Palmer did an excellent job at getting Ocho Cinco the ball from 2002-2007. The fact that he was not able to put up the same type of numbers with Fitzpatrick at quarterback can’t help but make one wonder whether or not he is as only as good as his play caller.
There are other receivers whose numbers have decreased when the team’s starting quarterback has gone down. However, there are a number of wide receivers whose numbers are still impressive, no matter which quarterback is leading the way. Look at what Calvin Johnson did in Detroit last season.
Last season was a season to forget for the Detroit Lions, as they became the first season in NFL history to go winless and finish with a 0-16 record. The Lions found themselves with three different quarterbacks playing throughout the season in Daunte Culpepper, Dan Orlovsky, and Drew Stanton.
Despite the variety of quarterbacks, Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson still managed to put up superb numbers, as he finished with 1,331 yards received and 12 touchdowns. He proved that no matter who was playing quarterback for Detroit, he was still capable of putting up solid numbers.
For the last couple of seasons, Chad Ocho Cinco has complained about how the Bengals will not grant his wish of a trade to a different team. Unfortunately for him, his disappointing 2008 season, in which he recorded just 540 yards receiving and four touchdowns, did not help his trade value.
It’s easy to sit here and blame Ocho Cinco’s statistics last season on the fact that the Bengals played the majority of the season without their star quarterback. However, if a wide receiver in the NFL is as good as he seems to be, he should have no problem putting up the numbers he is used to, no matter who his quarterback is.
With a healthy Carson Palmer and a fresh start to the 2009 season, Ocho Cinco will have a chance to recover from his horrendous campaign last year.
If the statement that he is only as good as his quarterback is true, Ocho Cinco should have no problem returning to his usual form, putting up big numbers, as long as Palmer is calling the shots at quarterback.
The last weekend of April is one of the best times of the year for die hard football fans.
Two straight days of Mel Kiper and the rest of ESPN’s NFL crew hosting the NFL Draft.
Thirty-two teams selecting players in hope that they will lead their team to the promised land in the near future.
Last weekend’s draft left fans full of surprises.
Former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford cashed in with the first overall pick ($41.7 million in guaranteed money) in hopes of helping the Detroit Lions turn around a disastrous season as they became the first team in history to go 0-16.
Mark Sanchez ended up replacing Brett Favre in New York after the Jets traded up to acquire the former Southern California quarterback with the fifth overall pick.
Everybody was interested to see what moves the Philadelphia Eagles would make in the upcoming draft.
After the Arizona Cardinals lowered their trade demands for wide receiver Anquan Boldin, the Eagles were one of several teams expressing interest in a possible trade. The acquisition of Boldin would make Donovan McNabb happy, who told the organization in the offseason, he wanted to see what the team did before he signed a new deal.
The Eagles may have fell short in acquiring the big name wide receiver they wanted in Boldin. However, the team made enough moves this weekend to improve a team that fell a few big plays short of the Super Bowl last season.
When looking ahead to 2009 after this weekend, this team looks as if they could give any of the 31 other teams a run for their money.
A little over a week ago, the Eagles originally had two first round draft picks before trading the 28th overall pick to the Buffalo Bills to acquire left tackle, Jason Peters—hoping to improve their offensive line.
All week, it appeared that the Eagles were going to go after running back Knowshon Moreno out of Georgia.
Moreno seemed like the perfect fit for an Eagles’ offense in which he could work together with Brian Westbrook.
He could run.
He could catch.
Unfortunately, dreams of Moreno in Eagles’ green were shattered when the Denver Broncos selected him with the 12th overall pick.
The Eagles may have fell short in acquiring the running back they really wanted in Moreno. However, they still managed to have an excellent weekend between the selections and trades they made.
After this weekend, a few new names join the Eagles’ roster that could have an immediate impact in 2009.
First round 19th overall: Jeremy Maclin, WR Missouri
The Eagles were disappointed that Moreno didn’t fall late enough in the first round for them to select him with the 21st overall saying.
A good friend once told me that when one door closes, another one opens. This popular saying worked out perfectly for the Eagles in the first round.
In most mock drafts, Jeremy Maclin was expected to be selected within the first fifteen picks. When the Eagles saw team after team pass on him, they knew they had to make a move by trading up to acquire the talented wide receiver.
Lucky for the Eagles, the Cleveland Browns were willing to swap their 19th pick with the Eagles for their 21st overall pick and a sixth round pick so they could draft Maclin.
Some fans were confused with the selection of Maclin, considering he seemed like another DeSean Jackson, who the team selected in last year’s draft.
If this is the case, why are people complaining?
Maclin finished his two-year career at Missouri with 2,315 yards receiving and 22 touchdowns.
He should fit in well with the Eagles West Coast offense with similar speed to Jackson (he ran a 4.46 40-time).
Look for Maclin to have an immediate impact for an Eagles’ offense that has apparently never had that big name wide receiver (minus Terrell Owens).
All of a sudden, Donovan McNabb has another wide receiver with blazing speed to play alongside Jackon and Kevin Curtis.
The Eagles may not have drafted their running back for “life after Westbrook” with Moreno, however, they were smart enough to trade up for a talented wide receiver that may have a bright future ahead of him in the city of brotherly love.
Second round 53rd overall: LeSean McCoy, RB Pittsburgh
In the 2007 draft, the Eagles selected Kevin Kolb out of the University of Houson as their quarterback of the future once McNabb decided to call it a career.
In the 2009 draft, they were looking into selecting a running back to fill in the shoes of Brian Westbrook when he was ready to call it a career.
With the 53rd pick in the second round, the team selected LeSean McCoy out of the University of Pittsburgh.
The Eagles may have been disappointed they missed out on their chance for Moreno.
However, McCoy has enough talent to carry their backfield in the future while playing alongside one of the most dangerous backs in the league during the process in Brian Westbrook.
Like Maclin, McCoy decided to enter the draft early after a superb two year career playing Division I football.
Last season alone, the 5?11”, 210 lb running back rushed for 1,488 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Panthers.
Over the last couple of years, teams with two star running backs have emerged as one of the most popular trends in the league.
McCoy will be seen as the replacement for Correll Buckhalter and most likely considered as the Eagles No. 2 running back behind Westbrook, giving the team a solid one two punch in the backfield.
Buckhalter signed a four year deal with the Broncos after spending his entire career playing in Philadelphia.
Fifth round 153rd overall, Cornelius Ingram, TE Florida
The 2009 NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals left the Eagles in disappointment after overcoming a 21 point deficit to only lose 32-25.
However, the performance of tight end Brent Celek, who finished with 10 receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns, gave the team high expectations for what he could bring in the future.
After the departure of L.J. Smith to the Baltimore Ravens, the Eagles had a gap to fill in at the tight end position.
With the 153rd pick in the fifth round, the team selected tight end Cornelius Ingram out of Florida.
Despite the fact that that he missed the entire 2008 season due to an ACL injury, Ingram has shown in the past he has what it takes to be an impact player for a team.
In 2007, he recorded 34 receptions, with seven of them being touchdowns.
Not bad for a player whose main position is known for blocking.
If Celek can play as well as he did in the playoffs last season, there is no doubt that he can be considered the Eagles main option at tight end in 2009.
Look for Ingram to compete for playing time next season with tight end Matt Schobel. He has similar speed to Smith and is capable of spreading the field to give McNabb another option to throw to.
Two fifth round picks dealt to New England for CB Ellis Hobbs
Sheldon Brown recently expressed how unhappy he was with his contract situation with the Eagles and requested a trade (it’s understandable for anyone making $3 million in one season to be upset).
Last weekend’s trade with the New England Patriots may be a sign of what’s to come for Brown in the future.
The Eagles traded the No. 137 and 141 overall picks to the New England Patriots in exchange for corner back Ellis Hobbs.
Hobbs spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the Patriots and was on the team in 2005 when they defeated the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Whether or not this trade was made because of Brown has yet to be determined. Whether or not they decide to grant Brown’s request for a trade, the Eagles still managed to acquire another solid defender at the corner back position.
In four seasons with the Patriots, Hobbs recorded 198 total tackles and 9 interceptions.
Not only does he defend, but he gives the Eagles another option when it comes to returning kickoffs.
Hobbs will reunite with former Patriot corner back Asante Samuel, who signed with the Eagles through free agency last season. If Brown ends up being traded, look for Hobbs to compete with Joselio Hanson and Jack Ikegwuonu for the other starting position at corner back.