NFL Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

Head Coach: Andy Reid
Offensive Coordinator: Marty Mornhinweg
Defensive Coordinator: Sean McDermott
Special Teams Coordinator: Bobby April
Chairman/CEO: Jeffrey Lurie

Offensive Starters (Projected)
QB: Kevin Kolb
HB: LeSean McCoy
FB: Leonard Weaver
WR: Jeremy Maclin
WR: DeSean Jackson
LT: Jason Peters
LG: Todd Herremans
C: Mike McGlynn
RG: Stacy Andrews
RT: Winston Justice
TE: Brent Celek

Defensive Starters (Projected)
DE: Brandon Graham
DE: Trent Cole
DT: Mike Patterson
DT: Brodrick Bunkley
LB: Ernie Sims
LB: Stewart Bradley
LB: Akeem Jordan
CB: Asante Samuel
CB: Ellis Hobbs
FS: Quintin Mikell
SS: Nate Allen

Special Teams
K: David Akers
P: Sav Rocca

Schedule:
Green Bay
@ Detroit
@ Jacksonville
Washington
@ San Francisco
Atlanta
@ Tennessee
BYE
Indianapolis
@ Washington
New York Giants
@ Chicago
Houston
@ Dallas
@ New York Giants
Minnesota
Dallas

Rookies to Watch:
The Eagles are going through a big of a transitional period and each of their first two draft picks are expected to start.

Brandon Graham was their first pick out of Michigan, he’ll be a key piece of the defensive line making sure teams can’t put too much emphasis on Trent Cole.

Nate Allen was their second round pick and he’ll quickly become the leader of the defensive backfield.

A big of a sleeper is 5th round pick Riley Cooper, Cooper was Tim Tebow’s favorite target in Florida and he’ll be a solid possession receiver to complement the explosiveness of Jackson and Maclin.

Season Expectations:
The Eagles are going to be an interesting team to watch this season. The biggest change is obviously at QB where they will now rely on Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick after getting rid of Donovan McNabb. The fans have been asking for this change for a while and now it will fall on Kevin Kolb to keep the Eagles near the top of the NFL East. To take some pressure off of Kolb, the Eagles will rely on the running game with LeSean McCoy and power back Mike Bell. Both players should get a fair share of carries with McCoy having the game breaking ability that this offense is built on. Even with two solid running backs, you know the Eagles are still going to be throwing the ball a lot because that is the way the offense is set up. With Jackson and Maclin on the outside the Eagles have two explosive receivers who can really stretch the field.

The defense continues to be a bunch of guys who aren’t really big name guys, but they’ve always played well as a unit and a great scheme has led the defense to being one of the best around the league. Trent Cole and Brandon Graham will be the key pieces to the unit this year since the defense is based on pressure. Cole had 12.5 sacks last season and he’ll have to match that this season with Graham probably needing close to double digit sacks as well. At the linebacking core, the Eagles have added some speed to the unit with Ernie Sims coming in. He’s played well in the preseason and is taking pressure of Stewart Bradley and allowing him to take games over. In the secondary Asante Samuel remains one of the top CBs in the league and probably won’t get picked on too much this season with Ellis Hobbs on the other side. Hobbs will have to come up big this season and rookie Nate Allen needs to step in quickly and make an impact on the deep routes.

The Eagles have a great scheme and some great players, but I don’t think they have enough talent to compete with the better teams in the division and conference. Combine that with the tough schedule, NFC North/Indy/San Fran/Tennessee, and I don’t think the Eagles will be a contender this season.

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