After a tragically disappointing 2011 season, the Philadelphia Eagle’s fans have a lot to be optimistic for the upcoming 2012 season. At least, NFL.com certainly thinks so. NFL.com’s senior analyst, Bill Brandt, published yesterday (June 14th) his latest power rankings and the Eagles were posted at number three.
Last season, the Eagles were labeled with the ‘Dream Team’ compliments of former back-up quarterback Vince Young. The moniker caught on fervrently with the local, regional and national media. In retrospect, the ‘Dream Team’ was poignant as it was damning. Last offseason, the Eagles were gobbling up big name free agents. The problem was that the NFL lockout created little time for their new cast of former pro-bowlers to gel in training camp.
The national media has always given much deference to the Eagles ownership and organization. Much of the praise is spouted about head coach Andy Reid’s leadership and football accumen. When I take an objective view from far away I can see why that is so often the overview.
The Eagles finished the 2011 season strong, winning their last four games. The organization continued that momemtum into the offseason by re-signing talented core players (wide receiver DeSean Jackson and half-back LeSean McCoy), acquiring a pro-bowl calibre leader in the middle of the defence (former Houston Texan middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans) and drafting talent that actually fits their needs (Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox).
The Eagles will have a full training camp that will allow the coaching staff to prepare the players, both returning and new. Some people forgot that the coaching staff was completely revamped before last season. Second year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo will have a lot to prove. Castillo’s defensive line coach, the venerable Jim Washburn, will look to enhance his relentless front four.
Finding out the Eagles were #3 on the NFL.com recent power ranking was not utterly shocking. I still beleive that the spot is exaggerated. The Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots were number one and two. I can envision that, however, the New York Giants were three spots behind the Eagles. Say what? Yep, Eli Manning is still looking for a little love.