Here is what I want to happen to the roster before the regular season starts and my take on what we have currently.
This is the make or break year for Vick. If he continues his average play from last year, I hope this is his last year as the starting QB. As good as Reid is supposed to be at evaluating Qb's, he seems to keep picking Qb's that aren't suitable for his offense. I'm hopeful that his new project in Nick Foles is a good fit for this offense and that Reid is here long enough to see it through. Not really impressed with what I saw from Kafka last year, so wouldn't mind if Trent Edwards beat him out for the back up job. Vick and Foles will be on the roster, so it's between Kafka and Edwards, we saw a little of Kafka last year, now let's see what Edwards can do.
Sorry for the honest perspective on this situation, but not here to mince words, just telling it like I see it, you may like it or hate it.
Ready for this one ? Let's start with the positives. At least we won't have to see Chad Hall at receiver this year. Do we have an all-around, complete receiver on this team ? I don't think so, Maclin has the best chance to be one, but he has to step it up even more this year (the only thing I want to see from Maclin is being able to break some tackles and be a fearless receiver, other than that he is not bad). DeSean is a one trick pony and we all know that. It's all about speed with him and let's hope that the Eagles can maximize on that one really good talent. Other than that, Avant is mediocre, I hope Marvin McNutt can beat him out for the 3rd spot this year. Riley Cooper ? I hope he gets cut. I would rather have Plaxico on this team than Cooper. Not sure what we have in Gilyard and the undrafted free agents Elvis Akpla and Damaris Johnson, we'll see in the pre-season.
If the Eagles end up keeping 5 receivers, here is who I would go with at this point: DeSean, Maclin, McNutt, Plaxico and maybe another free agent (Patrick Crayton and Braylon Edwards are still on the market). If we end up keeping 6 then we could keep the best one from the preseason from Avant, Akpla, Damaris or Gilyard. It's a little out there to think that they'll get two free agent wide receivers, but I hope they get at least one, because the other receivers on the team after our top two don't really do much for me. Hopefully McNutt will stand out and grab that 3rd spot.
Okay, on to some positive stuff. Love the 4 Rb's we have on the team right now. I wish we could keep all 4 on the 53 man roster, but that's not possible, or is it ? Let's see if Bryce Brown can beat out Polk. I'm really excited to see how Dion Lewis, Bryce and Polk do in the pre-season. I would love for the Coaching staff to figure out a way to use the talents of all these backs to add to our offense. This is a position on the team that I'm more upbeat about and excited to see.
Let's hope Demetress Bell is not too much of a drop-off from Peters. Another year together can do nothing but help this line get more consistent. Although the starting 5 are pretty much set, Mudd always has an open mind if another player stands out and he plays the best 5. I'm interested to see how our two draft picks (Kelly and Washington) do and if they can come in and pick up quickly on what Mudd wants from his linemen. I'm not the biggest Dunlap fan, so I'm kinda meh on him being the first guy off the bench if either one of our tackles gets hurt. I hope we have another option at Tackle if Bell or Herremans either get injured or if Bell isn't playing that great. Let's hope they can keep Vick healthy and off his back (although Vick can also keep himself healthy by learning how to slide and not running around in the pocket forever to throw the ball and receive a crushing hit once he delivers the ball).
Clay Harbor is Clay Harbor, nothing more, nothing less. Let's see if he can add to what he has been the last couple of years. Brent has a chance to be more productive in receptions if they don't need him to block as much this year. After those two, we really don't know what we have. Chase Ford (who came up with that name ?) and Brett Backett seem to be competing for who will get cut last.
Stanley Havili. Roseman says he's bulked up and in great shape and he hadn't recovered fully from a college injury last year. Roseman feels that he is ready to go, and who am I to disagree with him. Would be nice to see a fullback who can catch the ball as well. We haven't had a great one since Keith Byars, so let's hope Havili can be productive here. And I won't say anything about Emil Igwenagu other than he reminds me of a player we used to have on this team.
Alright, on to the defense
Okay, so they didn't go with Mark Barron in the first, which was okay. But then they didn't go with anyone else either for the rest of the draft. They went with Phillip Thomas as an undrafted free agent from Syracuse, let's see if he can make it as the 4th safety. Now for the other 3 suspects - Jarrett, Allen and Coleman - let's hope last year did them good in terms of recovering from injury or learning the system. I'm curious to see if Jarrett can unseat Coleman for the starting job, if not then that was a waste of a 2nd rounder. Coleman plays his heart out, but he's limited by his size and speed. Don't want to see another lowlight of him getting run over by a running back. And for Allen, let's hope he's fully recovered so we can really evaluate his play. I give him a pass for last year, but if he's not up to par this year then we're in trouble. I'm open to a safety from the free agent market as long as it's not a repeat of Jarrad Page.
Deep breath. I just hope they can get their shit together this year. I don't care who beats out who at the WILL or SAM. I'm curious to see what DeMeco Ryans can bring to the middle of the defense, I'll wait to see him play as an Eagle to get excited about him. After Ryans, I'm not sure what we have. I'm also curious to see what Kendricks can do, only time will tell, I'm not getting too excited until I see him in game action in the regular season. I don't know what to say about the other LB's on the team, hopefully somebody is really ready to grab one or both of the open spots that are up for grabs this year. I'd definitely give Matthews a chance to see if he can recover from the bad situation the coaching staff put him in last year. Chaney, Rolle, Clayton, Fokou and Jordan - really not sure if anyone will stand out, let's hope so.
This could turn into one of the best d-lines in the league. We all know what we have in the players from last year, so we're really waiting to see what we have in Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry. I don't think they will disappoint, I have high hopes from all 3 of these guys. If this line turns into a wrecking crew then our road to the Super Bowl will be that much easier. This is the part of the roster with the most upside and I really hope they live upto the expectations and potential. We have a lot of high-motors and fastballs on this line now. There should be no excuses this year.
This is my 2nd favorite position on the team after the running backs in terms of the talent we have. This should be a dangerous group in 2012. Can't wait, can't wait to see them play. Don't let us down this year Nnamdi. And let's hope DRC is a better tackler then Asante, although he should be a better cover corner with his speed. I'm excited to see what Boykin can do, ditto with Marsh and undrafted free agent Cliff Harris. I really hope Cliff "lock sh*t down" Harris can make the team. Marsh would be the next in line if either one of the starters go down, so he really needs to be ready to go in his 2nd year. The rest of the guys - Hanson, Brandon Hughes and Lindley - not sure who the Eagles will end up keeping or how many corners will be on the roster.
For special teams, we have a kicker already who played really well in his first year and we have some competion at punter (not really exciting stuff) and we will have a serviceable long snapper be it Dorenbos or the undrafted free agent. The real positions are punt and kick returners, and we have plenty on this team now: Brandon Boykin, Cliff Harris, Damaris Johnson, Mardy Gilyard and Elvis Akpla. Don't want to risk putting DeSean or Maclin out there unless it's the end of the game and we need DeSean to do what DeSean can do. Out of all those, you know Boykin will be on the team, so hopefully we can handle at least the punt or kick return duties. I would like Cliff Harris to make it and also contribute either as a PR or KR. Not sure who else will make it, they'll have to shine in the pre-season.
That's it folks, the torture is over, hope you were able to make it through. What I said might not have been what you wanted to hear, but you needed to hear it. It's for your own good. Don't be misguided into thinking that since we had a great draft on paper that we're gonna be successful this year. A lot of things go into a Super Bowl year, and let's not forget the coaching aspect. At least we have Howard Mudd and Jim Washburn to balance out Juan Castillo and Marty Morhnigweg. I just hope Washburn takes Marty out this year if he steps out of line. Other than that, we always have good ole Andy to feed us with non-answers for the whole season, so really can't wait. Btw, who is worse in his non-answers: Roseman or Reid, I'll have to put up a poll.
Fire Away after the Poll !!! Go Birds.