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Saturday August 30, 2008 7:56 am

NFL Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

Posted by Dean Browski Categories: NFL,

Donovan McNabb get ready to throw

2007 RECORD: 8-8

Overview: The past few seasons the Philadelphia Eagles have had some really tough losses and had to deal with some really tough issues.  From the Terrell Owens fiasco, to Andy Reid’s off-the-field problems, to Donovan McNabb’s season-ending injury from two years ago, this team has been through a lot and survived.  Despite not making the playoffs last year, the Eagles can point to one or two plays that would’ve put them in the playoffs.  Look for the gods to smile on the Eagles in 2008, or at the very least, stop kicking them in the teeth.

Offense: Ask people in Philadelphia about McNabb and most will not give you a positive response.  Don’t let the emotions of those knuckleheads get in the way of what the facts are.  McNabb finished last year by completing 65.3% of his passes and throwing 6 TDs to 1 INT over the last three games.  McNabb’s 2007 stats were right around his career averages, which are good enough to earn him status in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks.  Brian Westbrook is coming off an MVP-type year and with two other backs to help shoulder the load (Correll Buckhalter and Lorenzo Booker) Westbrook should be able to stay healthy, which has been an issue for him his entire career.  An average wide receiver corps will be aided by the addition of second-round pick DeSean Jackson from California.  Jackson also gives the Eagles a much-needed punt returner. TE/FB Kris Wilson was obtained from the Kansas City Chiefs which will give the Eagles offense additional versatility.  The Eagles’ offensive line has a few question marks, but the veteran leadership provided by Jon Runyon and Tre Thomas should afford the Eagles younger O-lineman the necessary time to get up to speed and contribute this year.

Defense: There are two areas of the Eagles defense that are vastly improved.  One area, the D-line, improved organically, while the other, the secondary, improved via free agency.  The past three drafts of the Eagles found them focused on D-lineman and that is going to serve them well this year.  Trent Cole recorded 12.5 sacks last year and did it with very little help.  Viktor Abiamiri, Mike Patterson, and Broderick Bunkley all have one year under their belts and should be ready to make significant contributions.  The Eagles also added Trevor Laws with their first pick in this year’s draft, as well as picking up Dan Klecko from the Indianapolis Colts.  What Klecko lacks in stats he makes up for by playing for the New England Patriots and Colts his entire career, winning Super Bowl rings in both places.  With a DL as solid as that it doesn’t take great linebackers to have a great year.  That said, Chris Clemons and Rocky Boiman were added to an already decent LB corps.  Finally in the secondary, Asante Samuel’s arrival instantly improves a sporadic secondary which was hurt by injuries last year.
Rookies: The Eagles had 10 draft picks this past year which bodes well for this team over the next few years as Andy Reid is a consistently good judge of talent, if not the most attentive parent.  DeSean Jackson should have the greatest impact as he will bring speed to the offense and give the Eagles a return man which they sorely missed the past few seasons.  Trevor Laws from Notre Dame is NFL-ready and will be able to cut his teeth playing on downs that best suit his style.  OT Mike McGlynn from Pitt is also a good pickup that will hopefully not be thrust into action too soon, but can hold his own if push came to shove.

Prediction: Since 1999 there has been a direct correlation between the Eagles strength of schedule and their win totals.  Lucky for he Birds, this year’s schedule include the NFC West and the AFC North.  There are enough weak teams in those two divisions to combat their NFC East schedule.  No other team in this division made as many relevant improvements in the offseason and it should pay off for the Eagles in 2008.  I predict the Eagles record to be 12-4 in 2008.

View All of Dean Browski’s 2008 NFL Team Projections



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