1) Is anyone besides me reserving their excitement until the season starts? How many times have we had drafts where we thought we would have an instant budding star (especially in the 2nd-3rd rounds), only to have the guys get cut and be out of the NFL within a few years...Or stay perma-special teamers...Yes Matt McCoy, Matt Ware, Bryan Smith, I'm talking about you guys and several others. How many 1st rounders did we draft that ended up being pro bowlers? Neither Bunkley, Patterson, Maclin, have made made a lasting impact at a really high level like 1st rounders should. Though Mike patterson has been a very decent starter, and Bunkley and Patterson did have a great year in 08 with Jim's last year. Maclin has yet to be the explosive stud he was supposed to be, and since the football Gods hate the eagles, Shawn Andrews decided he rather rap than be a master at the RG position and it's going to be Brandon Grahams first year that he can prove he was worthy of the almighty 13th overall...
With that said, I really like what we did, but let's not deem ourselves anything better than what we were last year, an 8-8 team with still a lot to prove.
2) Why do I see so many people down on Nate Allen? Honestly, it makes fans look stupid. He had a very productive rookie reason before injury and he really came back strong as he recovered from his knee surgery as the season came along. Yet I see fans still wanting for his head. Yes, I realizle he's not a punishing hitter like Dawkins was. But last time I checked the last S to cover well, hit hard, and force turnovers was....Brian Dawkins. Just like the last guy to come into the league at 6'4'' and blazing class A speed that caught everything thrown to him was Randy Moss...These are once in every 20 year talents, stop thinking we're somehow going to replace a Dawkins. In today's league as long as you can cover and tackle adequately, you're a good safety in my book.
3) I swear to G-O-D if I NEVER have to hear someone talk about Riley Cooper as if he's the next Terell Owens it will be too soon. He's more like the next Hank Baskett. No really, look at his stats, they are just about the same. If anything I rather see what we have in McNutt, not some tall , slow white guy who doesn't know how to use his body to box out CBs for the tough grab... Oh, and in the preseason game where the CB blew coverage and Ed Reed tried to make up 15 yards to cover up the mistake -- yeah that's not impressive. No one could possibly accomplish less, but receive an over OVERWHELMINGLY amount of praise from fans... It just goes to show having all these under sized WRs for 10+ years will do to a fan base that doesn't show love unless you produce on a weekly basis.
4) You know what's funny? I haven't heard anyone bring up these discussions, but they are by far the biggest questions to our success...
4a - Can Danny Watkins take another step forward? Another 1st rounder that didn't exactly light the world on fire coming in. Honestly, he needs to be MUCH better, and I did see what I liked from him later on in the season.
4b - Can Jaquan Jarrett play? Kurt Coleman is smart, instinctive, and plays hard. Unfortunately he has to because he's not athletically gifted. The SS position is still a ? mark.
4c - Can Vick progress as a pocket passer? He had somewhat of a sophomore slump. He was NEVER a good passer in ATL, in fact, bottom of the barrel in terms of completion % and YPG. He has to get better if we are to compete with Rodgers/Brees/Manning
4d Can we FINALLY get better in the red zone? For a team that's ranked in the top 5 for the past couple of seasons in YPG, being ranked in the middle-of-the pack in red zone success means there's a bit of an issue there. This is where we need a big guy, and NO Riley has shown us nothing down there.
4e Did Juan really progress as a D coordinator? Honestly, I'm not so sure that he did. I like his fire, but yet again, since JJ, defense is another question mark.Besides QB... DE/DTs are probably the biggest bust rate, no matter how dominant they were in college...DE moreso than DT.
I'm usually an optimistic guy, it's just that, we've been burned so many times before as fans, I'm not willing to give into the elation that everyone else is catching...I wish it so, but I'm more worried about the questions that we still have.