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Ah, the smell of burgers on the grill and the sight of leaves changing colors. The familiar chant of E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLESSSS rising out of the Linc is about to deafen opposing teams again. Yes, people. It is September once more, and football season is finally here.

As we get prepared for another season filled with hopes of a Super Bowl for our Birds, it’s easy to look past all of the transformation this team has undergone over the past couple of years. It seems crazy now to think that Brian Westbrook, the mainstay of Eagles teams over the past decade is now RETIRING.

However, one man who has been here since 1999, and hasn’t changed (ok maybe his weight has) is Andy Reid, who will be entering his 14th season. In what will be perhaps his most pressure-filled season as Head Coach, Reid has already dealt with the pain of burying his son and the looming comments from owner Jeffrey Lurie that anything less than “substantially better than 8-8” will most likely result in his firing.

The “Dream Team” fiasco from last year, combined with the turbulent offseason the Eagles have endured hasn’t seemed to affect analysts, many of whom are predicting a Super Bowl run for these Eagles.

I hate to be a downer, but my opinion was last year and still is this year that the Eagles, while surely talented, are not a Super Bowl caliber team.

Blasphemy, you say?

Or have WE, as fans, overlooked the key deficiencies of this team? Lets explore together, shall we?

First of all, lets look at passing and third down conversions. The Eagles were 9th in passing last season, but the only team in the top ten who completed less than 61% of their passes (59.6%).  They converted on third down 41.5% of the time, good enough for 9th in the league in that stat as well. I look for both of these numbers to remain around the same as last year, UNLESS Michael Vick suffers an injury.

The bottom-line with passing numbers? Keep Vick healthy, and the Eagles are unlikely to have as many turnovers as last season, and they won’t have to play a rookie backup quarterback who, while impressive in the preseason, probably won’t be able to win but maybe two of the four or five starts he might have to make if Vick gets sidelined.

The running game is the biggest area I expect the Eagles to decline in this year. Although I love Shady McCoy’s talents as a runner and receiver, the loss of Jason Peters will become very apparent early in the season. They should drop from 6th in the league to somewhere around 10th adding in Vick’s running ability. That may seem like an insignificant drop, but I believe that the ability of the receivers to stretch the field is going to be predicated on play action passing, which Andy Reid is quite fond of. Bottom-line? The inconsistency of the running game (and of calling running plays) will show up this year again and be an Achilles heel of the team.

The running, passing, and receiving game all go hand-in-hand with offensive line play, which is the other area I expect a lot of struggle this season. The lack of Jason Peters on the left side not only closes huge running lanes, but forces the Eagles to use young players at other positions, and although I am quite a fan of Jason Kelce’s beard, he (to me) is too small to be a center. This group will have great games and horrible games this season.

The ONE area that this team is going to improve a lot on is Defense. Not necessarily an improvement in talent (outside of Demeco Ryans) but in cohesiveness and in maturity. After a year of learning Juan Castillo’s system, they will still be undersized and a little slow in the middle, but hopefully won’t make as many bonehead miscues as last season, and should finish around the same spot in total defense, or at least in the top ten.

Overall, expectations are very high for this team. Are they merited? Absolutely. This is clearly the most talented roster in the NFL. However, I don’t believe they will win a Super Bowl.

Call me a typical negative Eagles fan, or call me crazy.

Whatever the case may be, I see them going 13-3, splitting with the Giants and losing to Pittsburgh and New Orleans. I see them getting to the Super Bowl, but sadly I think the season will end with another Super Bowl loss to Tom Brady and the Patriots.

I THINK that is what will happen. But who am I, and what do I REALLY know? Not a whole lot more than any other passionate fan. I’m hoping that this is the year. Only God knows what will happen. But not knowing is all the fun right? It’s a new season, and we are blessed to be fans of the greatest team playing the greatest game in the world.

So sit back, have a beer, and relax. Football is back.

 

Foles Continues to Shine – EaglesFanCast 132

Three preseason games down, and the Philadelphia Eagles win their third.  This time backup quarterback Nick Foles takes the start while Mike Vick gets some rest for his ribs.  Foles continues to do very well, showing great things as a future starter with this organization.  The Eagles beat the Cleveland Browns 27-10 under his leadership.  We talked about how Vick needs to protect himself during this season and not put himself out there on every play if there are huge risks.  He has to throw the ball away or slide (feet first, of course.)  What we want overall, besides a safe quarterback, is a controlled and balanced Offense this year.  With the caliber of running backs we have, this Offense could be deadly if balanced correctly.

Our guest this week is EFC contributor Holden Fulco, and he brings up an former Eagles player who is also not doing well, in the name of Kevin Kolb.  The conversation then shifts to what the organization sees that we as fans do not, and most of the time the players that leave the Eagles do not thrive.

The Eagles organization had both good news and sad this week, with the sad being we learned of the death of legend Steve Van Buren.  Any Eagles history book has to mention him, and his accomplishments are still talked about to this day.

On the positive side, modern favorite Brian Westbrook announced that he would retire an Eagle.  Still amazes me as to how lucky I have been to have watched him live on that field so many times.  An amazing player and great person.  I’m glad he is retiring with us.

 

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post Quarterbacks – EaglesFanCast 131

Andy Reid and Craig Stadler Mustache War

Andy Reid is declared the winner!

Two games into preseason, and two games our starting quarterback Michael Vick leaves with an injury.  This time it looked just as scary as the first week, and lucky for him (and fans), all scans come up negative for broken ribs or cartilage.  Backup rookie quarterback Nick Foles once again impresses and takes control of the Offense for three and a half quarters, leading the Philadelphia Eagles over the New England Patriots 27-17 on Monday Night Football.  We expect Foles to pretty much get the remainder of the preseason playing time so Vick can rest his sore ribs and pretty much not get killed before the start of the regular season, plus Kafka is still going to be out until Week 1 or so.  This is fine with Eagles fans, as right now we cannot get enough of seeing the future leader get as much NFL experience as possible.

Others that impressed us in the game were Mychal Kendricks, Bryce Brown, Phillip Hunt, and Brandon Boykin.  Those who did not impress were the replacement refs -shudder-.  Obviously it’s preseason, so we’re not going to see too much from the Offense or Defense regarding specialty plays, yet we do expect the team to improve in terms of discipline and basic mechanics.

We had an email from Herbert in Philly, and a few voicemails from Ross in DC… remember, voicemail records for only three minutes!  LOL  Thanks for the feedback, you guys are great.  A special thanks to Steve Brown who stayed up very late to hang with us this week.  Good on ya!

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post Vanilla – EaglesFanCast 130

Publication previewWe are back after an extended Summer break, and we couldn’t be more excited for the new Eagles season!  We catch up a bit, welcome in guest co-host Ryan Mains, and discuss what has been going on with the midnight green and silver.  As is typically the case as Training Camp winds down and we have our first pre-season game at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team shakes off some of the rust.  We saw some exciting play from Boykin and Foles, some sloppy Defensive tackling, Kafka out for a few weeks with a broken hand and the end of Training Camp.  The second pre-season game is on the road on Monday night against the New England Patriots.

No matter how the game went, and we believe we saw more good than bad… it’s the start of the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles season.  There are high expectations for this team again this year, and we have a lot to look forward to.

Something that is a must-read for every Eagles fan is the “Bleed Green’s 2012 Eagles Preview” put together by Cody Benjamin of Bleed Green.  There are a ton of contributors in this including Les Bowen, Tim McManus, Jason Brewer, Jeff Warner, Chuck Stanley (of EaglesFanCast, of course), Cody Benjamin, and more.  The magazine is available in both print and digital editions.  I highly recommend this!

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post Eagles Draft 2012 – EaglesFanCast 129

The NFL Draft 2012 is now in the history books.  We are back with the scouting guru Tommy Lawlor to work through everything our Philadelphia Eagles did during the Draft weekend.  The Eagles went after the players they targeted, moving around in the order to get them.  We discuss how this all came about, and was each one worth it?  Overall things looked good for the team and if the new additions can make a difference this coming season, then the Eagles are an improved team overall.

Here are the Philadelphia Eagles 2012 Draft picks:

Round 1 – DT Fletcher Cox – Mississippi State, 6-4, 298 pounds
Round 2 – LB Mychal Kendricks – Cal, 5-11, 240 pounds
Round 2 – DE Vinny Curry – Marshall, 6-3, 266  pounds
Round 3 – QB Nick Foles – Arizona, 6-5, 243  pounds
Round 4 – CB/RS Brandon Boykin – Georgia, 5-9, 183 pounds
Round 5 – OT Dennis Kelly – Purdue, 6-8, 321 pounds
Round 6 – WR Marvin McNutt – Iowa, 6-3, 216  pounds
Round 6 – OG Brandon Washington – Miami, 6-3, 320 pounds
Round 7 – RB Bryce Brown – Kansas State, 5-11, 224 pounds

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post Eagles Pre-Draft 2012 – EaglesFanCast 128

The NFL Draft 2012 is a week away, and as in previous years we have it covered thanks to a great friend in Tommy Lawlor.  Tommy helps us weed through all of the speculations, rumors and anxious fan concerns leading up to this year’s Eagles Draft.  We discuss the year’s draft class, what the Eagles need, try to understand what Andy Reid might be thinking, and the overall approach the Eagles will take to address the needs of the team for the near future as well as the positions to be addressed a few seasons from now.  It is never easy to decipher the extremely complicated plans that all of the teams have, but there are only a few days for them to put them together and execute starting next Thursday evening.  The 2012 Eagles season may be influenced in a huge way by this Draft.

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post Eagles Take A Step – EaglesFanCast 127

Well now things are getting interesting again.  The Philadelphia Eagles welcome the Jets to The Linc and trounce them 45-19, showing for the second week in a row a rather dominant Offense AND Defense.  Surprisingly, the Eagles are also still a faint glimmer in the playoff conversation, but need plenty of help the last two weeks of the season.  So no Eagles fans all over are at odds with their feelings on the team; those wanting head coach Andy Reid and Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo gone at any cost, and those that really enjoyed the Eagles teams that showed up the past two weeks.  It’s a very interesting thing that is going on in this regard, as all fans still bleed green, but are just disgusted at how the team as a whole played most of the previous twelve weeks.  Joining us this week is a return guest, Steve Malinowski from Tailgate365.com!

We want to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday, no matter what holiday you celebrate, where, or with whom.  Enjoy your family, friends and cherish the good times.  Happy Holidays Eagles fans!

What we discussed:

  • Eagles beat the New York Jets 45-19, winning their second straight game
  • Fans battle themselves in where their loyalties on the team lie, resulting in winning or losing
  • Are the Eagles coaches safe yet?
  • Jason Babin is a beast, being all over the Jets quarterback this week and now leading the NFL in sacks this season
  • Be a Jets fan this week!
  • It would be so sweet for the Eagles to walk into Dallas’ big house and play the spoiler this week
  • EFC FFL Upate – the championship is on us and your two EFC cohosts battle it out for the title!

 

Go JETS! Go EAGLES!

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