By far the most popular and oft repeated criticism/doubt of the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles squad has been the question of whether they can "gel" or "come together." This has baffled me during this entire abbreviated offseason because it seems to assume that the Eagles are working under a different set of circumstances than any other team in the NFL. It is a fact that all teams had a short offseason, there are a record number of undrafted free agents on NFL rosters this year, multiple new coaches around the NFL and many, many teams with far more change than the Eagles.
But for some reason, the best that any analyst or opposing fan can come up with as a criticism of this Eagles team is that they might need time to "gel." That's just lazy to me. It doesn't mean anything. This is a team with the same head coach for the past decade plus. They've got continuity at quarterback and all of their skill position players are the same. Are there questions and new players? Sure, but are there really more than most any other team? Not really.
The Rams are working new players into their offensive line and secondary today, just like the Eagles. However, unlike the Eagles, the Rams are debuting a new offensive coordinator with an entirely new offensive system. Now, the Eagles are debuting a coordinator of their own, but it's on defense and he's using the same basic system and terminology. The learning curve just isn't the same.
So, today we get to see if there's any truth to this criticism. I don't suspect we'll see players running into one another or Nnamdi Asomugha having no idea of what to do. It may well be true that this Eagles team will be better an more effective overall in six weeks than they are now... but my guess is that we'll be seeing an Eagles team that has "gelled" a lot more than anyone seems to be thinking.