Yesterday I was asked this question: “What universe are we in?” To which I replied, “Hopefully one in which we win.” It was a simple question brought about by extraordinary circumstances. Those circumstances now lend themselves toward the most anticipated Eagles season since 2005, a year after they lost the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots and appeared poised to bring home a Super Bowl.
So why did a friend of mine wonder if we had slipped into some other dimension in the space-time continuum? Pretty simple. Because nothing, as it pertains to the Philadelphia Eagles makes sense in this dimension anymore.
The Philadelphia Eagles seem to be re-inventing themselves in almost every way. They are more media and fan friendly. Andy Reid cracks jokes now and stops just short of singing “*** Ba Ya” at his press conferences. They handle their personnel differently as well, suddenly rewarding players who have been loyal, hard-working and committed to the team. You know, the way you’re supposed to do things.
This Eagles incarnation drafts the best player available. They address their needs instead of stubbornly acting as if they don’t have any. They take chances, like dumping a huge contract on Shady McCoy that is well earned, but not necessarily the norm for a running back in the NFL these days.
These Eagles admit mistakes and try to remedy them. They take a bad circumstance such as Jason Peters rupturing his Achilles’ tendon in the offseason and turn it into a signing of a competent replacement like Demetress Bell.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that all is forgiven and forgotten. This team, and by that I mean the front office, has a lot left to prove. All of the rainbows and unicorns of late were a long time coming. It does not undo years of botches and flubs. But it does help to make me hopeful. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks. Maybe fans can help an organization see it’s blunders and help to correct them.
The only need that the Eagles have failed to address this offseason is at the safety position. As I write this, word is coming out that the Eagles are one of two teams left in the running for former Miami Dolphins safety Jeremiah Bell. Bell is a 34 year old, who is an on field leader and an excellent tackler. Not too long ago, the Eagles would not have even looked at a player over 30. Now they appear to be pursuing one. Just further proof of change.
Last year was exciting in the offseason, but it felt gluttonous at times. The focus was not on the team and it’s core, but rather on the external wants, that weren’t always needs. On a lot of levels, I agreed with Asante Samuel’s assessment of the front office playing fantasy football with owner’s money. It may not have been the appropriate thing to say, but that doesn’t negate the truth in the comments.
Last year I was hopeful that the pieces would come together. This year I feel like they actually may. Hope springs eternal.
Only time will tell if this change in the organization is truly something that can be parlayed into a Super Bowl, but for the first time in a very long time, I get the sense that this team is headed in the right direction.