The Philadelphia Eagles suffered their most disappointing season in 2011, an 8-8 disaster, after an exciting offseason filled with big-name free agent signings and blockbuster trades. Even with another good offseason, many fans might wonder why they should stick with a team that has put a good product on the field yearly without bringing in a Super Bowl title.
Here are ten reasons to watch the Eagles in 2012.
1. Michael Vick, the NFL’s Most Dynamic QB
Regardless of the last year’s turnover problems or his injury-prone status, Michael Vick is one of, if not the most exciting players in the National Football League. He passes well, particularly the deep ball, and runs even better. Some say he could have been a running back in the League just as easily as a QB.
Combining the his rocket arm and evasive legs forms a dynamic player that Eagles and Falcons fans have loved to watch since his introduction to the NFL. You should be one of those fans, too. Watch out for Michael Vick in 2012 as he avenges the poor 2011 season, and attempts to lead these Eagles to the playoffs for 2012.
2. DeSean Jackson (on contract, as well)
I want you to remember the 2009 and 2010 versions of DeSean Jackson. The one before the contract issues, before he lost determination.
This is the DeSean Jackson we can expect for 2012. Only . . . better.
With three NFL seasons under his belt, DeSean Jackson wants to help this team reach the pinnacle. A Super Bowl. He’s said it himself, and you can see that he is honest about winning now more than ever. He has his cash, and now he wants to win trophies with the Eagles.
This new and improved DeSean Jackson is going to be in-the-zone more, he is going to be thrown-to much more, and he will basically be the big-play making, awesome-celebrating D-Jax that we have grown to love in Philadelphia. What could be more exciting than that?
3. Getting Back to the Playoffs (a.k.a “Redemption”)
What are you left with when you have a team that disappointed beyond all measure the previous year? You are left with a team that has the hunger and motivation to improve and win. That’s the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles in a nutshell.
8-8 was an unexpected record last season. It could have been worse too, had the team not rallied together for a four-game win streak in the last four weeks. But this season, an improved mindset, no more “Dream Team” labels, and this motivation to win should see the Eagles push to the playoffs and get back to their winning ways under Andy Reid. Last season it was clear that everyone from punter Chas Henry to cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to quarterback Michael Vick was out of sync. Even Reid look flustered as he saw a possible extension with the team fading away before his eyes, which brings me to my next point . . .
4. Andy Reid and the Proverbial Hot Seat
Andy Reid is a coach that wins. He’s proven that, as he is one of the most winningest coaches in the NFL at the moment. He gets the best out of his players and is a superb tactician and game-planner. In 2011, however, these were traits that were just thrown OUT the window. The signs outside of the NovaCare Complex speak for themselves.
In 2012, Andy Reid needs to win. It’s that simple, seeing as his job depends on it.
These Eagles are under pressure to win and Reid is at the forefront. The pressure is on, and with that Andy Reid could either crumble or he could thrive. We Eagles fans are hoping for the second option. Be sure to watch these Eagles in 2012 to simply admire a master at work, head coach Andy Reid, fight to save a job he’s held for 13 years.
5. An Improved Linebacking Corps
The trade for middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans was a superb move by General Manager Howie Roseman. It brings in the leader that this defense has lacked since the passing of Jim Johnson and the departure of Brian Dawkins and it fixes the biggest hole on last year’s team, stopping runs up-the-middle. Ryans will do great things for improving the overall defense.
The drafting of strong-side linebacker Mychal Kendricks also brings in a guy that has the intangibles to start immediately, and any development in the future will see him become a superb NFL linebacker. The other LBs, especially Brian Rolle, Jamar Chaney and Casey Matthews, are young and should see that experience from last season push them further in 2012. Overall, this Eagles linebacker group will be much better and fun-to-watch in 2012.
6. Sacks, Sacks, and More Sacks
In a disappointing 2011 season, the one thing that I looked forward to the most when watching Eagles games last year was the defensive line’s masterful punishment of the opposing quarterback. It was a joy to see Jason Babin and Trent Cole get straight to the QB and bring him down before he could make a play. We will see that more this season.
Cole and Babin are still in their prime, which means they’re still going to be posting ridiculous sack totals. Also, addition of rookie D-liners Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry will add to the electrifying play of the group, which once again brings me to my next point . . .
7. An Exciting Rookie Class
It is entirely too early to say whether these players are going to boom or bust. However, from what we have seen and heard about these 2012 draft picks, they’re ready to play and many are challenging for a starting spot already.
Fletcher Cox, the 1st-round pick, has received great praise from D-line coach Jim Washburn and head coach Andy Reid. Second-round selection Mychal Kendricks is already projected to be the starter at strong-side Linebacker for the Eagles and is looking like great value for his pick. 4th-rounder Brandon Boykin is challenging Joselio Hanson for the nickel cornerback starting spot and will start the year returning kicks as well.
Vinny Curry and Marvin McNutt will bring their own talents to the team, Curry as a versatile sack-threat and run-stopper, McNutt as a big possession receiver who can be a legitimate red zone threat for the Eagles.
Third-round pick, quarterback Nick Foles, is being hailed as a future starting quarterback in this league. Bryce Brown has shown some great skills in the offseason and preseason camps so far, and could see some snaps at RB behind LeSean McCoy. The other two rookies, Dennis Kelly and Brandon Washington, are very much special teams players now, but are projects that could see a rise up the depth chart in the future.
On the whole, this rookie class looks very promising going forward.
8. Beating the Super Bowl Champions…TWICE
They haven’t done it yet, but the Eagles do get the chance to play the 2011 Super Bowl-champion New York Giants twice as always this season. How good would it feel to watch the team dominate the Giants in both games? I’d love it.
It can surely be done. Our great secondary against a Giants receiving group that has lost Mario Manningham and an inconsistent regular season QB in Eli Manning. Our pass-rush against an offensive line that is one of the weaker points for the Giants. Our Pro Bowl running back ‘Shady’ McCoy against a weak defensive tackle and linebacking group. Our fearsome threesome at wide receiver against a porous secondary.
2-0 against the reigning champs would be a nice start for redemption in 2012.
9. The Super Bowl Ability is There
Trying as hard as I can to avoid something like the “Dream Team” label of last season, I still can’t help but admit that this Eagles team has Super Bowl potential for this season. The ability is there at every position, the team chemistry and attitude just needs to be there as well.
The 2012 schedule is quite tough, but no NFL schedule is ever “easy”. The basic concept is to win and the Eagles will be favourites to win many times this season. The team will need to rally together and show the NFL community the Eagles team that was supposed to show up last season. It might be a year late, but that star-studded roster is still intact and the loyal fans are still here too. A Super Bowl win is a serious possibility this season for a team that lacks major holes like it did last season.
10. LeSean McCoy, The Best Running Back in the NFL
Shady McCoy is most Eagles fans’ favorite player. He is an All-Pro, Pro Bowl RB who breaks tackles, jukes would-be tacklers, scores touchdowns and catches passes. He’s the full package and does it all with a smile and a will-to-win attitude. It is really quite hard not to like LeSean McCoy.
If he can stay healthy in 2012, and even get close to the numbers that he put up last season, he will be the key player to the Eagles season. He will be the MVP for the Eagles. If it weren’t for him last season, the team would have had a much worse record and be in a state of complete rebuild in 2012. He has been the glue to hold this franchise together in only his third season. I cannot wait to watch him in 2012.
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