The 09' regular season opens up against the Carolina Panthers, a team with the 3rd best record in the NFL in 08'. The Panthers have done very little in the off season, other than drafting speedy pass-rusher Everette Brown and bringing on Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks. The Eagles on the other hand have made enough off season moves for many analyst to pick them as an early Superbowl favorite. Here are few challenges the Eagles will have to deal with to win game one.
1. Maybe the best running attack in the NFL. At least that is what some analysts are predicting. In 08' Deangelo Williams had over 1500 yards, 5.5 avg, led the league with 20 TDs, and most importantly had 0 fumbles. All this while splitting carries with rookie stud Jonathan Stewart.
2. Steve Smith. What was up with those rumors last year that the Panthers might trade Steve Smith to the Eagles? The Panthers would never trade potentially the best player in their short existence. He is usually the best athlete on the field, and can take over a game any given week. His constant Houdini acts create wins out of games the Panthers have no business winning. His threat is rivaled only by guys like your very own Brian Westbrook... when healthy.
3. Potentially a much improved pass rush. Led by Julius Peppers and his 08' 14.5 sacks. Julius is not always the most motivated player, but when he is focused he is arguably the best defensive players in the league. In addition the Panthers drafted Everette Brown, possibly the best pass rusher in the draft. And they brought in Ron Meeks whose specialty is in making a huge impact with small, fast, Panther-like defenders. Add in Jon Beason, whom many call the best LB in the NFL, and this defense could be handful.
What are the biggest challenges the Panthers will have to overcome against a new, young Eagles team?