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Hofmann | A Saintly obsession

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Rich Hoffman had an interesting thought after surveying the sum of everything the Eagles did this offseason. Exactly how much did that loss to the Saints shape the teams' moves this offseason?

It is impossible not to see the influence that game had on the ensuing months - or, maybe more accurately, it might just be that the Saints playoff loss merely crystallized on one January evening the months of flaws and frustrations that the Eagles had been gradually uncovering all along.

You cannot say the result has been a revolution, but we are seeing a fast philosophical evolution taking place.

People in the organization scoffed when linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, in his frustration after the Eagles were run over during a regular-season game in Indianapolis, made the observation that the defense was just too small. But they have gotten bigger almost everywhere on defense in the offseason.

Run defense didn't used to matter to defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, provided some unspoken tipping point was not reached. Well, the Saints apparently tipped it. Now, run defense matters. Now, the Eagles even have signed Ian Scott,a defensive tackle described as a run stopper.

As Hoffman points out it obviously wasn't just the Saints game, but that particular loss did provide a final underscore to what the real problems with this team was last year. This team could be pushed around and when a team can physically dominate you and push you around they've virtually won the game before it even started.

It wasn't all about just size and brute strength. Some of it was(Matt McCoy), but part of it was a lack of pride and desire(Walker, Jones). A guy like Montae Reagor may be very similar in size to a guy like Darwin Walker, but no one ever described Walker like this;

"Montae Reagor is a gentleman and a true team leader. He is everything Terrell Owens isn't: hard worker, team leader, team focused, stand-up guy."

Combine the high character guys like Reagor and Spikes with the young guys with impressive physical tools like Gocong, Bradley, & Bunkley who are hungry to make in the NFL, and the guys that have something to prove like Howard and Scott... and I think the Eagles have done their best to prevent themselves from being pushed around again.