Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Eagles Offseason Review

eagles certainly had an interesting offseason to say the least (in a good way). there was a mini-controversy at QB and big red's kids went insane, but mostly it was just good old-fashioned roster upgrading. let's start off with a comparison of what i was hoping the birds would do this offseason vs. what they did do.

QB
the qb was at the center of a short firestorm for a while. at the end of last season, i assumed the birds were going to resign garcia and head into this season with the same QB trio, giving mcnabb some cushion to focus on getting his mcknee mchealthy. unfortunately, garcia wanted starter money after what he "proved" last season (more on that later) and big red never even gave bringing jeff back a second thought -- choosing instead to trade for kelly holcomb to provide additional veteran backup insurance. at this point, we were looking at mcnabb/feeley/holcomb and still feeling ok about the QB position. enter kevin kolb. the birds were targeting safeties in the first round of the draft only to see every first round grade safety taken before their pick. with none of their first round graded players left on board, the birds traded down and selected kolb. don't know much about him, but as i wrote just after the draft, if big red likes him and mornhinweg thinks he's the best worst coast offense QB in the draft, then i'm a believer.

bottom line is that we're looking at mcnabb, feeley, and kolb as our QB corps this season (which football outsiders' ranks 3rd in the nfl)

RB
the birds addressed their RB needs this offseason by drafting a tough runner in tony hunt and adding intriguing fat guy nate ilaoa. expect the birds to drop mahe and either moats or buck as a result. a lot of people are going to list ilaoa as a FB, but i think the birds see him as a bowling ball of a third down back with great hands.

i expect the roster to be - westbrook, hunt, ilaoa, buck (FO rank 7th in NFL)

FB
tapeh seemed to be an upgrade over parry (shudder), but as i think about it more, i wonder if he's not getting the credit he deserves? the running game couldn't have been successful last season if the FB wasn't at least competent, if not pretty good, at blocking. i'll have to pay more attention to him this season (assuming he's on the team)

i expect the birds to go into the season with tapeh as the lone FB, but wouldn't be surprised if they went with no true fullbacks and instead went with a combo of hunt and ilaoa as a platoon since hunt is a terrific blocker and ilaoa is great out of the backfield.

WR
i liked the combo of stallworth, brown, baskett, avant, and lewis and was expecting donte' to re-sign. losing stallworth resulted in the birds probably overpaying for kevin curtis, but i think kevin and donte' are equivalent players.

receiving corps of curtis, brown, baskett, avant, lewis (FO rank 21st in NFL)

TE
big news here is LJ's sports hernia. the birds needed to replace the retired mike bartrum and did with a chad lewis clone in brent celek.

smith, schobel, celek

OL
no OL draft picks for the first time in a while. that's a bit of a surprise big red is usually good for a couple every season, but not really because this is the best OL i've seen in eagles green both in terms of depth and talent. not only do i have no complaints about them, they're one of my favorite units on the team. they have personality, grit, toughness, a mean streak, fat guys, they blow people off the ball... pretty much everything you want to see in an OL.

i'd be surprised to see any changes here - ex-tra thomas, runyan, herremans, andrews, jackson, mccoy, justice, gillies, young, fat nick cole (FO rank 7th in NFL)

DL
an unexpected flurry of activity here. though the draft pick at DE (abiamiri) was expected, darwin walker and truck driver out/ian scott and montae reagor in wasn't. still, the big question is whether bunkley can play at a high level. if he can, this unit can be a force. if he can't this unit will continue to have issues. patterson is not suited to playing on the nose like he did most of last season.

significant change here - kearse, howard, trent cole, abiamiri, juqua thomas, patterson, bunkley, reagor, scott, ramsey (FO rank 8th in NFL)

LB
major, major upgrades at LB... finally. the long nightmare that has been the birds linebacking corps seems to be ending. let's start with takeo spikes. TAKEO SPIKES! this is not the sixers getting chris webber. this is a legitimate warrior with gas still left in his tank. i've been trying to be conservative and keep expectations low until we see him play, but as the season gets closer i can't help but get excited thinking about him in eagles green. TAKEO SPIKES! combine that with addition by subtraction in dumping the bowtied banjo player, moving gaither back to the middle, and drafting a backup plan in case gocong can't play, i think the birds did pretty well. TAKEO SPIKES!

i'm pretty happy a linebacker corps that consists of spikes, gocong, trotter, gaither, mccoy, bradley, and probably daniels, especially compared to past rosters (FO rank 24th in NFL)

DB
safety was a big focus on draft day, but the birds didn't come away with any of the top safeties. instead drafting converted corner cj gaddis from b-dawk's alma mater. sean considine supposedly put on 15 lbs of muscle in the offseason (i'll believe it when i see it). rod hood left as expected, but unexpectedly, will james is back. thankfully, we're not looking at joselio hanson at nickel corner. center fielder rashard barksdale has practice squad written all over him. still, can't complain too much when you have lito, b-dawk, and sheldon roaming in the defensive backfield.

roster looks to be - sheppard, sheldon brown, james, hanson, dawkins, gaddis, considine, mikell (FO rank 2nd in NFL)

ST
hoping for/expecting big contributions from new punter and ex-aussie rules football player saverio rocca and fresh of IR jeremy bloom. akers looks to rebound from a sub-par 2006. coverage teams were solid last season. hopefully they don't take a step back with harbaugh's promotion to defensive assistant. hopefully rocca can beat out incumbent horrible punter dirk johnson.

my hope - akers, rocca, bloom (FO rank 18th in NFL)

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Phil said...

Welcome back.

9:45 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

thanks

10:12 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet you see a couple pass plays to Bloom this year.

- Joe

2:50 PM EDT  

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