This feature is a weekly piece on BleedingGreenNation.com titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.
It is everything I hoped it would be: Winning a Super Bowl two months ago has changed the lives of everyone. From the moment the end zone pass to New England tight end Rob Gronkowski hit the turf at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, the world changed. The Eagles won a Super Bowl! I filed my story that night immediately after the game, put my laptop in my backpack and got down to the field as quickly as possible to enjoy all the festivities.
Mostly, I just stood around watching the confetti, hugging co-workers and friends, in awe of the fans and the entire season. It was bedlam on the field, and it was incredible (I saved two bags of confetti as a souvenir). Then when the field cleared I went into the locker room and listened in as head coach Doug Pederson addressed the team and the celebration continued. I was handed the Lombardi Trophy, something I have dreamed of holding my entire life. After a various poses for photos, I kissed the Trophy, deeply, as I always wanted to do. I didn’t think for a second that 80 other people had held and kissed Vince before me, so it was no surprise that I was sick for the next two weeks.
The sore throat was worth it, though. The post-game celebration lasted until 4:30 a.m. I slept from 5:30 to 7:30 and then attended the press conference for Nick Foles and Doug Pederson and by 10 a.m. we were on a bus to the airport and by 3 p.m. we had landed back in Philadelphia. Four days later we had the Parade of Champions and, well, it was the thrill of a lifetime. It was incredible, everything about it.
Two months later, the feeling continues. Everyone is happy. The angst of 57 years without a football championship has evaporated. Philadelphia is the City of Champions.
Around the NovaCare Complex, the mood is extremely positive, with the caveat that everyone has had to turn the page toward 2018. There is an air of confidence and of camaraderie and the understanding that a lot of work needs to be done to get the Eagles back to the top of the NFL’s mountain in the year ahead. The NFC is stacked with good teams. The schedule is extremely challenging.
A great season is ahead.
Where are the Eagles better and where are they still in need with the draft only a few weeks away? Let’s take a look …
- The defensive line is improved with the additions of Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. Chemistry is a big thing here, but there is no doubt that Bennett’s pure pass-rushing ability and Ngata’s run-stopping game and ability to collapse the pocket make the line more talented and more versatile. No offense to Vinny Curry and Beau Allen here. The Eagles upgraded. The line will be dominating, and it needed to be better. The three games the Jim Schwartz defense really had trouble in two years were against Green Bay, at the Giants and in the Super Bowl against the Patriots. The common thread: All three teams used quick-passing attacks. The must be better not giving quarterbacks a chance to set up and throw off a three-step drop.
- The Eagles aren’t as good at the nickel cornerback spot with Patrick Robinson gone to New Orleans in free agency. Jalen Mills is a strong candidate to win the job at nickel, but a lot depends on how he responds to reps inside and how Sidney Jones and Ronald Darby and Rasul Douglas and some young prospects fare in the spring and summer. Promising group at cornerback. But you never know until the players are on the field …
- Running back? Loved LeGarrette Blount, but Corey Clement and Jay Ajayi deserve more reps. And this is a strong running back class. It would not surprise if the Eagles dive into the running back draft class. Maybe even high.
- Along those lines, is there a more watch-him returning player on the roster than running back Donnel Pumphrey? He’s added weight, his legs are fresh and he knows he either performs or he won’t be here.
- I guess quarterback Carson Wentz is kinda high on that watch-him list, huh? We won’t see Wentz on the field until Training Camp, at least.
- Are the Eagles done at linebacker? I say no. Corey Nelson and Paul Worrilow will be given chances to challenge for playing time with incumbents Mychal Kendricks and Jordan Hicks, respectively. But the draft has some players at linebacker. Could be somewhere in that second day, perhaps.
- Who do the Eagles take at 32? It’s a total guessing game. And nobody would be shocked to see the Eagles deal out of 32 to gather more draft picks. Round 1 will get interesting for the Eagles right around the 25th pick. Before that? Party and enjoy yourselves. “The Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia Eagles are on the clock.” Can’t wait to hear that.
- I love the Mike Wallace signing. Fast and explosive, playing on a one-year contract. He’s going to be motivated to have a great season.
- There is still an opening at tight end, if the Eagles choose to fill it. Richard Rodgers is a good No. 2 tight end. Maybe one of the other young prospects on the roster – Joshua Perkins, who played with Atlanta, has a chance, as does Billy Brown – develops, but the Eagles are in line to use a draft pick on a tight end.