Top 5 Things for Philadelphia Eagles Fans to be Excited About This Season
Of all the teams to take advantage of the post-lockout free agent feeding frenzy, the Philadelphia Eagles have come out on top with some serious moves, and fans all over the City of Brotherly Love are flapping their wings in anticipation at seeing their birds of prey dive-bombing into opponents’ fields and making their presence known.
With additions ballooning the Eagles’ already-stacked offense and putting together the pieces of their defensive puzzle, all of you who wear the Midnight green, black and white have a lot to be excited about.
5. VY in PHI
Sure, Vince Young’s NFL career s is probably one that will go down in the disappointment column for years to come, but any football player that did what he did in college is a viable contender wherever he winds up.
After four injury-prone, up-and-down seasons with the Tennessee Titans, in which he never reached the sky-high (aren’t they always?) expectations put on him as a first-round quarterback, Young was released and was picked up by the Eagles July 29th.
While there’s not much to be excited about with him being a backup to Michael Vick, there’s not much to be worried about either.
Coming out of college, Young was compared to Vick in his ability to scramble and his speed. But Young, almost five inches taller than Vick, also had strong pocket presence that helped him find open receivers and earn him two trips to the Pro Bowl in his NFL career.
If something happened to Vick during the season, forcing VY to stand tall in his stead, the former Heisman candidate will be there in a heartbeat. All players have potential, and all players can make a comeback. Philadelphia at the moment seems to be the nexus for this healthy attitude.
4. Ronnie Brown: Shady’s Big Shadow
At 6’0″, 230 pounds, Ronnie Brown is not the biggest halfback in the league, but compared to LeSean McCoy he’s a veritable A-Train.
Sure, they’ve got barely-stable Owen Schmitt as their fullback for the fourth-and-inches downs that Vick decides not to leap over, but when (not if, sorry) McCoy gets injured this season, decorated runner Brown will be there to fill the smaller shoes.
Sure he’s not as agile as he once was, or as elusive, but he is a bonafide game changer and a threat both in the open field and on the occasional outside run, where I guarantee he’ll show that the move from Miami hasn’t cooled his jets one bit.
And even if McCoy does stay healthy all season, Brown will get his snaps.
And he won’t disappoint.
3. Steve Smith as a Number 3 Receiver
Perhaps I’m taking this one a little too far, but Steve Smith two years ago on the New York Giants had an All-Pro season.
This was earned with his stats: 107 receptions, 1,220 receiving yards, first Giant receiver in history to catch more than 90 receptions in a season. Like a flash in the pan, however, he was back to normalcy in 2010.
This was not due to a serious slide on his part, however, but because Eli Manning found a faster, more agile target in rookie Hakeem Nicks. After some haggling between the Giants and Eagles (read my compatriot’s story) Smith comes to Philadelphia this season primed to show that he wasn’t full of false swag (i’ll say this word again soon, don’t worry).
Smith has established himself as a go-to third-down receiver in the last two years. When the major wideouts are covered, Smith always seems to run the slot perfectly and get his quarterback the extra three or five yards through the air to move the chains.
And when he’s wide open, watch out, as he can be as good a bomb target as any other Eagles’ receiver.
Well, maybe not DeSean Jackson, whose pressure he’ll undoubtedly be putting on opposing team’s defensive backs will make Smith look like even more of a safe target.
2. Michael Vick in his Junior Year of Resurgence
The entire league was Vick-rolled last season, as the name Michael Vick went from being whispered in family rooms and office parties like a Gypsy curse to being followed by the qualifier, “is ridiculous” (like Devin Hester).
The man who just in July 2008 filed for bankruptcy last season gave even casual fans of professional football a show they haven’t seen since . . . well, since Vick first started playing.
On Monday Night Football November 10th against the Washington Redskins at home, Vick threw an opening game 88-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson from scrimmage. At the end of the first half, Vick would add two more passing touchdowns as well as two rushing ones. The Pro Football Hall of Fame asked for his jersey following the game.
Two years ago that particular organization would have laughed if you uttered Hall of Fame and Michael Vick in the same sentence.
Now who’s laughing?
Despite the jig being up, and opposing defenses now realizing that he is indeed not only back but better than ever, Vick is primed to repeat his stellar 2010 season (3,018 yards, 21 touchdowns passing; 676 yards, nine touchdowns rushing) now that he’s settled into the role of leader.
1. Nnamdi and the NFL’s Premier Shutdown Secondary
After seven seasons with the Oakland Raiders, something that has prohibited him from getting his just acknowledgement while he was lost in Al Davis’ Black hole, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha agreed to a 5-year free agent contract with the Eagles.
Along with Asante Samuel and new addition from the Arizona Cardinals Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the four-time Pro Bowler has been the catalyst for what rabid Philly fans (my esteemed colleague) and casual admirers (myself) are calling the New-Look Defense or, to put it simply and repetitively, the Dream Team.
Asomugha has been the least-targeted cornerback of the entire NFL in the last four years. To throw some stats at you, in 2008 he was targeted only 27 times by opposing quarterbacks, and allowed just 8 completions. In the entire season.
And now, throwing off the shackles of the “Commitment to Excellence”, expect Asomugha to completely revamp the way opposing offenses look at the Eagles’ secondary. Likewise expect Samuel to allow his need to swag keep him trying hard to compete on the other side of the field, while Cromartie plays the vulture-in-waiting while one of them is drinking some Gatorade on the sidelines.
From any way you look at it, as an Eagles fan both part of the heartbroken old and the bandwagon new, this team’s talent is crackling.
Posted on August 12, 2011, in Lists and tagged michael vick, new look defense, nnamdi asomugha, nnamdi eagles, philadelphia eagles, ronnie brown eagles, steve smith eagles, vince young eagles. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.