Saturday, September 3, 2011

NFL Season Preview - The Eagles' Offense

Over the next few days, we will be doing a look at the upcoming 2011 NFL season. Today we continue the preview by examining the offense of the Eagles.  Scroll down to check out yesterday's ten questions concerning the Eagles. Feedback in the comment thread is welcome, as always. Enjoy! -- J.L

Quarterback

Michael Vick (Vince Young) - Vick did extremely well last season after stepping in for an injured Kevin Kolb, but what remains to be seen is the ability to have sustained success.  The biggest fear I (and many of my Eagles brethren) have is the idea that he will get hurt for a long time and then we'll be back to 2005 (the Mike McMahon 'era').  Vick is a dangerous weapon who has worked hard to get back up to a high level of play.  His one weakness is still found in that he just doesn't read blitzes well; he has a tendency to run right into them and thus takes more sacks than he probably should.  Hopefully, some extra film study will help ease that tendency.  My only advice is - don't get hurt.  I have not a lot of positive things to say about Vince Young, except that he should be damn grateful to Andy Reid and Co. for making the Eagles the NFL's reclamation project.

Running Back

LeSean McCoy (Ronnie Brown) - Shady had a breakout season last year with his first 1,000 yard campaign, but more importantly, he averaged 5.2 yards per carry.  I wouldn't count on him getting much more than about 250 carries this season, but if the Eagles jump out to leads by the fourth quarter, that number and his 5.2 YPC could become a much bigger factor.  I like the signing of Ronnie Brown to back up McCoy.  He's solid and can catch passes out of the backfield, as well as run the wildcat, if Andy still has that idiotic notion in his playbook.  

Wide Receiver

DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant (Riley Cooper, Steve Smith) - In all honesty, I believe this is one of the best receiving corps the Eagles have ever had.  There are many threats to be had - Jackson is your deep threat.  Maclin is your medium threat who can also go deep.  Avant is your possession receiver who has absolutely no fear of going over the middle whatsoever.  I love what this group is capable of doing, and with at least a credible threat of McCoy/Brown running, the passing game ought to open up even more. I do worry about the health of the receiving corps.  Jackson is a little guy whose body can't take that much of a pounding; Avant, as you may recall, was knocked out cold during Jackson's miracle punt return at MetLife Stadium last year.  Maclin has been afflicted with the 'mystery illness' and it remains to be seen how he is able to play once the season starts.  If the offense has to rely on Cooper and Smith, it will be a step below.  Hopefully everyone stays healthy.

Tight End

Brent Celek (Clay Harbor) - Celek had a major off-year in 2010 after putting up very good numbers in '09. He seemed distracted and dropped a lot of passes in 2010, so a big part of the offense will rely on him getting his stuff together and taking some of the pressure off the receivers and running backs.

Offensive Line

Jason Peters/Todd Herremans (Tackles), Evan Mathis/Danny Watkins (Guards), Jason Kelce (Center) - As with any good offense, the line is the linchpin.  It has seemed somewhat leaky over the past couple of years, and with Andy's penchant for focusing on the line, we should see more improved play from the offensive line.  As a general rule, offensive lines on the Eagles for the past twelve years have been set up for pass blocking, but linemen prefer to run block. Maybe they'll get more of that this year. We can hope, anyway.

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