Monday, July 25, 2005

At least Jaws is positive...

July 24, 2005

"When I look at this Eagles team, I see one that has answers for just about every question. Starting at the very top all the way down, the Eagles are prepared to defend their NFC title and possibly take it a step beyond this season.

"There are many things to look for in training camp. While the defense is experienced and has 10 starters returning, that 11th starter is one to watch -- defensive end Jerome McDougle. After two season where he hasn't produced much, McDougle is being counted on to step up and be a factor.

"There are new players up and down the roster -- almost all of them rookies and only a handful, in my opinion, who will make this team. First-round draft pick Mike Patterson should impact the defensive tackle picture in a positive way. I think Corey Simon needs to get to training camp on time and in good shape to win a battle, because there is going to be competition at that position.

"Last year at this time, there were questions about the Eagles' cornerbacks, but Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown answered those last year. I want to see some of the Eagles' young defensive players show they are ready this season -- namely cornerback Matt Ware and some of those linebackers and McDougle and Jamaal Green.

"On offense, you can't talk about the group unless you begin by talking about Terrell Owens. That's a shame, really. I've traveled across the country in the last few months and that is all anybody asks me. They don't ask me about the Eagles, they ask me if T.O. is going to report to camp and what the Eagles are going to do about him.

"I think it's time that T.O. comes to camp, zips it up, start playing football and help the team get back to the Super Bowl and win. At this best, Owens can help this team win it all. He's an important part of a very powerful puzzle, but I am convinced that he is not above and beyond what the Eagles try to incorporate as a team.

"That's a key thing. The Eagles are a T-E-A-M. No one individual rises about the team concept. I am sure that Andy Reid will talk to T.O. and make sure they are both on the same page heading into training camp.

QB Donovan McNabb is in his prime as Eagles' leader "Otherwise, the Eagles should have an explosive, diverse and dynamic offense. Shawn Andrews looked great last year in the preseason. There is every reason to think he'll be back and on the road to stardom. The offensive line is solid -- I think Tra Thomas will be fine after missing the spring with a blood clot.

"I, like everyone else, can't wait to see Reggie Brown in uniform. All the reports I've received from the coaching staff from the spring were very, very positive. He's an exciting talent and the coaching staff loved the way he assimilated into the offense. Wearing pads is a whole new ballgame, so we'll see how the young man adjusts to his first real taste of the NFL.

"Donovan McNabb is a quarterback in his prime. This is his team. He is the leader. Do I worry about the relationship between Donovan and T.O.? I don't think Donovan likes what is going on, but when they are on the field there will be nothing but professionalism going on. They don't have to be best buddies. They just have to function together on the field and in practice.

"A really important part of this offense will be how the Eagles provide some depth at running back behind Brian Westbrook. Correll Buckhalter is healthy, but his track record is not a good one there. He has so much talent and it's a shame he's had to lose two seasons to injuries.

"You're going to like seeing Ryan Moats in action. The kid is lightning quick with his feet and he's explosive between the tackles. The Eagles have some options at that position.

"Overall, the Eagles are in good shape to repeat in the NFC and this time, win the Super Bowl. They need to stay healthy. They need some good luck. They need some bounces going their way.

"And they need everybody on the same page. It doesn't work if forces are pulling in different directions. Everybody needs to be in the same boat rowing for the same goal."


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