“I feel this year we have the best roster in the league” said Joe Banner on July 26th 2009. As we now know, that roster didn’t fulfill its potential to win a Super Bowl. It didn’t even come close. Does getting rid of ten players back up Banner’s previous assessment or blow it out of the water? Well, when you consider that he also claimed to have the best roster in 2003, 2004 and again in 2008 I’d lean heavily towards the latter.
And so we say goodbye to released team-mates Will Witherspoon, Brian Westbrook, Shawn Andrews, Kevin Curtis and Darren Howard, plus the recently traded Reggie Brown, Chris Clemons, Sheldon Brown, Chris Gocong and Donovan McNabb. That’s a massive exodus of veteran personnel including, of course, the franchise Quarterback.
What does this mean for the coming season? Well, for one thing we’re likely to have the youngest group of players in the NFL. As far as I can see only David Akers, Sav Rocca, Juqua Parker and Jeremiah Trotter are over the age of thirty in a league where experience means a huge amount.
When Andy Reid was asked last week who his offensive leaders were he answered, “That’s a good question because Kevin becomes one of them. One of the things I’ve mentioned is that I think he’s a good leader. I think we have some tremendous leaders up front. DeSean Jackson has turned into a kid that has shown leadership ability. Brent Celek is one of our primary leaders.”
These are all young guys with a lot on their shoulders already, how much can they reasonably take on and still play at their best? Reid refers to DeSean Jackson as a “kid” which says it all. No matter how talented, these guys are barely more than rookies.
The successful returns of Jamaal Jackson and Stacy Andrews will be a big boost to the organization, but the Draft is where Andy Reid is undoubtedly focusing. With eleven picks to play with including five in the first 87 overall, we have some serious bargaining power.
I’m really looking forward to the Draft this year. With the revamped format, eleven picks and Andy Reid calling the shots it should be quite spectacular for the watching Eagles fans. There are some big gaps to fill, such as cornerback, but Reid has shown time and time again that he’s good at this side of the job and I’ll be relaxing with popcorn on hand and Twitter fired up!
I’m quite excited by this rebuilding process and for me, the Eagles ARE rebuilding even though no one at NovaCare will admit it. It may be a year or two until we make the playoffs again, but this team growing up together could eventually lead us to that elusive Super Bowl title that we all crave so much.
Just one thing though. If Joe Banner claims again this year that we have the best roster in the league, I’ll know for sure that his rose-tinted glasses are superglued to his face!
Cheers from the UK and GO BIRDS!