TO will help Eagles soar into the Super Bowl
In the past three seasons the Philadelphia
Eagles have won the NFC East divisional title and in the last
two seasons they earned themselves a bye in the first round of
the playoffs. In those three seasons the team has made it to
the NFC championship and lost each one of the three losing to
the eventual winner of the Super Bowl once. Last year Eagles
fans saw their team open up the season with a 2-3 record after
a heartbreaking 23-21 loss to their divisional rival the Dallas
Cowboys. The Eagles then reeled off nine straight wins on their
way to their third straight divisional crown and a first round
bye in the playoffs. The Green Bay Packers won their first round
game of the NFL
playoffs and the chance to play the Eagles in Philly. The game
came down to the last drive with the Eagles trailing 17-14. The
Packers had pushed the Eagles back to 4th and 26 and the Eagles
were able to make the improbable conversion off a 28 catch by
wide receiver Freddie Mitchell. David Akers nailed a 37 yard field
goal to send the game into overtime where the Akers kicked another
field goal to win the game. The conference championship pitted
the Eagles against the Carolina Panthers who had a suffocating
defense. The Eagles weren’t able to get anything going and
fell in an ugly game 14-3.
In the off-season the Philadelphia front office had a great deal
of decisions to make because they needed another playmaker on
offense and at least one more on defense. They got both of them
in wide receiver Terrell Owens and defensive end Jevon Kearse.
The team also lost three of the lynch pins of their defense in
linebacker Carlos Emmons and cornerbacks Troy Vincent and Bobby
Taylor. The uprgrades of these players should help the team sell
more Eagles tickets to their home games.
In the draft the Eagles needed to fill holes on the offensive line and get some
more depth at cornerback. The team was able to do both by drafting Arkansas offensive
tackle Shawn Andrews and UCLA cornerback Matt Ware. The team also drafted offensive
guards Tray Darilek and Thomas Tapeh from UTEP and Ohio State. To get some more
depth in the secondary the Eagles picked up South Florida safety J.R. Reed and
Colorado State cornerback Dexter Wynn.
The head coach Andy Reid is a product of the Bill Walsh West Coast offense that
takes advantage of short accurate passes and the motor of the offense is a smart
mobile quarterback; enter Donavon McNabb. McNabb is a perfect fit for this offense
and has displayed many times over that he is the heart and soul of this franchise.
He hadn’t had much help in the past but with the acquisition of Owens and
the strong running of tailback Brian Westbrook the Eagles should be running on
Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is a firm believer
in the blitz. He blitzes linebackers, safeties and
cornerbacks from every different angle and in every
different combination imaginable. If he could blitz the water boys he probably
would. When a team prepares against the Eagles defense they have be pick up
the blitz and their quarterback has to be ready to
spend some time on his back. All-Pro free safety
Brian Dawkins is the main guy on Philly defense.
He is one of the few safeties in the league that
can blitz, cover slot receivers and make big plays
whenever he is near the ball. The defensive line
will be the strength for the Eagles D this year.
They showcase defensive tackles Corey Simon and Darwin
Walker and defensive ends N.D. Kalu and Jevon Kearse. Johnson is just hoping
that young cornerbacks Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard will be able to handle
starting on a regular basis well enough to keep them from being a liability.
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