Sponsored Post: This post is presented by Sprint. Bringing you the first wireless 4G network from a national carrier. Only on the Now Network.
Over the past month we've seen a lot of articles and tidbits coming out that rank NFL teams or various positions and invariably the Eagles are not counted among the top teams. Most recently, even the makers of Madden didn't show much faith in the Birds.
Our community has generally reacted negatively to these perceived slights, but let's be honest... They're not wrong. The Eagles are a massive question mark right now. It's pretty hard to definitively say that the Eagles will be really good or really bad at this point. Many pundits have ranked them somewhere in the middle simply because they don't know what to make of this squad. Man for man they have probably the youngest offense in the league. Part of being so young is that these guys have little to no track record in some cases and many aren't that well known around the league. Other than DeSean Jackson, Asante Samuel, and maybe Jason Peters the casual NFL fan probably doesn't know much about any of these Eagles. Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Brian Dawkins, Jon Runyan, Jevon Kearse, Sheldon Brown... these were names that everyone knew. Hopefully that will soon be the case with the likes of Brent Celek, Stewart Bradley, Brandon Graham, & Kevin Kolb... but it's not yet.
Speaking of Kolb, there's probably no greater reason that the expectations for the Eagles have dropped. Having a guy that was among the top 5-10 QBs in the NFL like Donovan McNabb for the past decade made it easy for national media types to always count the Eagles as a contender. Now, the largely unproven Kevin Kolb is at the helm. Sure, we can look at the tape of his two starts and there's certainly some encouraging things in there... but two starts is hardly enough to prove that the guy is ready to be a franchise QB for the next decade. If the Eagles are going to rise back to prominence in the eyes of the national media, Kevin Kolb is going to have to be the guy that leads them there. Much of the Eagles' ability to prove themselves rests on Kolb's ability to prove himself.
Despite the new starting QB, the offense is probably held in better regard than the defense. The Eagles defense was average at best last year and arguably got worse as the year went on. Now veterans like Sheldon Brown, Will Witherspoon, & Darren Howard are gone which probably won't have a huge impact on the team(other than Brown probably) but they were names people knew nationally. The Eagles' D is relying on rookies like Brandon Graham & Nate Allen, returning injured guys like Stewart Bradley, and trades like Ernie Sims & Darryl Tapp to make an impact.
Perhaps most importantly, the question of whether Sean McDermott can fill the shoes of the great Jim Johnson is still unanswered. If all goes well and these guys live up to their potential then these Eagles are going to be good. Really good and they'll be that way for a long time. A lot of Eagles fans think this will be the case... but I really can't fault someone who has doubts.
That's part of what makes this coming season so exciting. Whether you think the team is going to stink, be average, or be great you don't really have much evidence to support your point. This is a very new and very young team which we're going to spend a season learning about.