Offseason Progress Reports: Philadelphia Eagles


It's too early for '09 season previews, and too late for '08 season reviews. What's an NFL blog to do in the never-ending quest to overcover the bejeezus out of the NFL? Offseason progress reports. Let's go in alphabetical order. Today, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Free agents lost: RB Correll Buckhalter(notes), S Sean Consindine, S Brian Dawkins(notes), WR Greg Lewis(notes), WR Willie Reid(notes), TE L.J. Smith(notes), OT Tra Thomas(notes)

Free agents gained: OL Stacy Andrews(notes), S Rashad Baker(notes), RB Eldra Buckley(notes), DL Amon Gordon(notes), LB Charleston Hughes, S Sean Jones(notes), CB Byron Parker, P Ken Parrish, FB Leonard Weaver(notes)

Lost via trade: WR Greg Lewis, CB Lito Sheppard(notes)

Acquired via trade: CB Ellis Hobbs(notes), OT Jason Peters(notes)

Drafted: WR Jeremy Maclin(notes), RB LeSean McCoy(notes), TE Cornelius Ingram(notes), CB Victor Harris(notes), OT Fenuki Tupou(notes), WR Brandon Gibson(notes), OG Paul Fanaika(notes), OLB Moise Fokou(notes)

Some pretty big names came and went from the Eagles the offseason, but the two biggest and most important remain: Donovan McNabb(notes) and Andy Reid. They are the identity of this organization. They get all the credit, and, perhaps more familiar to them, despite a decade of relative success together, they get all of the blame.

Myself, I can't wait to see what they come up with in 2009. I don't know if any team out there sees a bigger difference in their ceiling and their floor for what might happen this season.

The ceiling for the Eagles couldn't be any higher. They were maybe a couple of plays away from being in the Super Bowl last year, and in the offseason, they managed to get more talented on the offensive line, better in the secondary and they added legitimate weapons through the draft to both the running and passing game.

It's easy to see the Eagles going as far as they did last year, and perhaps a little further.

But there's a floor, too. Any time you tinker with an offensive line, you've got to worry about chemistry and continuity. What if, despite the upgrade in ability, there's a downgrade in performance? What if the brilliant Brian Westbrook's(notes) hobbled all year long by injuries that will have him sitting out up until the regular season starts? What if the loss of Brian Dawkins has a huge impact on the defense? What if there's an injury to McNabb?

Given the strength of the NFC East, it wouldn't take much for any team to slip from being a legitimate contender all the way to the bottom of the division. It's not difficult to see that happening, either.

Progress: On paper, I like the way everything looks, with the exception of Brian Westbrook's medical chart. Jeremy Maclin should add a bit of danger to the passing game, and LeSean McCoy should be a better number two running back than the Eagles have had in recent memory. The offensive line, if they can come together, should be excellent. If things work out as planned, the Eagles will see the postseason again.

Plus 1.5 games. 9-6-1 last year, 11-5 this year.