Last year right around this time, the Philadelphia Eagles had just completed what most presumed to be one of their more successful free agency periods in the Andy Reid era. The rash of premier talent signed to the team including (DE) Jason Babin, (CB) Nnamdi Asomugha, (CB) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and (DT) Cullen Jenkins was perfectly executed, again leading many to claim there wasn’t any reason not to consider the Birds as Super Bowl contenders.
Then the 2011 season happened and there were far to many instances were Philly fans were left asking themselves “did they really just lose to them”? The two teams that would most often be referred to as “them” would be the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks. Once it was all said and done the list of reasons why the Eagles failed so miserably, well, we’ll just say it was a lengthy list. Everything from the lack of a true offseason, the abundance of youth on the team, right down to Vince Young’s dreaded “Dream Team” remarks went from high praise to a curse never to be said again.
But this is 2012 which presents yet another opportunity to have a ton of success, and once again the expectation level is through the roof.
The reason(s) for the high expectations are simple enough. Remove everything that held the Eagles back in 2011 and it should all flow smoothly. Philly just ended their first rookie mini-camp and will enjoy the benefit of OTA’s and a full training camp this year. The front office added veteran Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans while adding (ILB) Mychal Kendricks in the second round of the draft. Philly utilized their first round pick on (DT) Fletcher Cox who was ranked as the best defensive lineman in the draft.
And with those three additions alone it is believed the Eagles defense will be a tremendous force in 2012.
However, it is more than just the pieces that were added this year. It’s also about those returning key players coming back for their second season with the Eagles, including the 2011 rookies. It’s about having the time to build the chemistry now that everyone who is returning to the nest has a much clearer idea of the implemented schemes.
Lastly, it’s about two young, gifted, players who are entering 2012 with fresh contracts. Both (RB) LeSean McCoy and (WR) DeSean Jackson were rewarded handsomely for their early achievements and I expect both players will be coming out to further prove the Eagles money was well spent.
They’ve added the pieces to the puzzle they were missing last year, or so it seems. Now it’s just a matter of going from individual athletes and branding as one team.
It’s a matter of not allowing any room for excuses!