The Eagles won't publicly admit it, but 2010 could be looked at as a rebuilding season -- a crossroads for a franchise that's moving beyond franchise legend Donovan McNabb and gambling on unproven Kevin Kolb. The team made the playoffs in eight of McNabb's 11 years and was usually favored when they stepped on the field thanks to the six-time Pro Bowler, who was often surrounded by a veteran unit.
But Reid and the front office, now led by first-year GM Howie Roseman, slashed and burned the roster after the 34-14 wild-card loss to Dallas, severing ties with more than a half-dozen players over or near age 30, including two-time Pro Bowl running back Brian Westbrook, once considered the epicenter of the offensive attack.
The club is loaded with young playmakers, including Pro Bowl wideout DeSean Jackson and rising second-year stars LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin, but the front office is attempting to rebuild a porous defense on the fly.
Offense: The world is about to discover if Kolb is the next Aaron Rodgers or the next David Klingler. Kolb served a three-year apprenticeship to McNabb, but they're not carbon copies. Kolb's arm strength is nowhere near McNabb's, but he can make any throw and his accuracy and quick release are stronger attributes than his predecessor's. He passed for more than 300 yards in his first two NFL starts last season, but there's a big difference between spot-starting and taking the wheel for an entire season.
McCoy, who set a club rookie record for rushing yards (637), has dynamic change-of-pace moves, an explosive first step, solid burst and excellent hands out of the backfield -- but it's unfair to expect McCoy to be Westbrook's equivalent. To complement McCoy, the team signed free agent Mike Bell, a between-tackles runner with adequate hands who can help the team in short yardage and goal-line situations.
The departures of icon Brian Dawkins and reliable cornerback Sheldon Brown over the past two years has left the secondary vulnerable at two critical positions. Opposite Pro Bowl corner Asante Samuel is Ellis Hobbs, who comes off major neck surgery that sidelined him for the second half of the season. The team signed former Colts corner Marlin Jackson with the hopes of converting him to free safety, but he sustained an Achilles' tendon injury last week and is out for the season. As a result, the team likely will go with rookie Nate Allen as the starter.
Stacy Andrews, guard: Andrews was an abject failure in his first season in Philadelphia -- he started only two games -- but he'll be a starter in 2010. His knee is 100 percent, and he has had spring drills to adjust to the blocking schemes. A full training camp will be a big plus, too.
"It was a mixture of things -- it was me coming (back) from my ACL (surgery), learning a new system and a new technique. It was a mixture of all three of those things. And then I didn't get the offseason in. If I would have got the offseason (camps) in, I would have been fine. Now I feel great. I'm getting the offseason in, and I'm feeling good." --Andrews
"They are very talented defensively. They are very consistent, very physical. They get a good pass rush. They do some odd blitzes and stuff. They are very sound, and they have good defensive players. They cause a lot of turnovers defensively, so it is important for us not to give them any breaks …
"(Their defense presents) unique looks, different things that you don't see every week that you have to prepare for. (They) try to get you free hits on the quarterback …
"I think they just kind of see what is working (with the blitz). You have to expect that it is coming still, but they do a good job of mixing things up, showing blitz and backing out."
Despite the youth movement and landmark quarterback change, the Eagles don't expect to fade away and refuse to label 2010 as a rebuilding season. Super Bowl expectations remain the same, as they always have in Reid's 11 seasons.
QB: Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick
FB: Leonard Weaver, Dwayne Wright
RB LeSean McCoy, Mike Bell
WR: DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant
WR Jeremy Maclin, Hank Baskett
TE: Brent Celek, Cornelius Ingram
LT: Jason Peters, Todd Herremans
LG: Todd Herremans, Max-Jean-Gilles
C: Jamaal Jackson, Nick Cole
RG: Stacy Andrews, Mike McGlynn
RT: Winston Justice, King Dunlap
LE: Juqua Parker, Darryl Tapp
LT: Mike Patterson, Trevor Laws
RT: Brodrick Bunkley, Antonio Dixon
RE: Trent Cole, , Brandon Graham
SLB: Moise Fokou, Akeem Jordan
MLB: Stewart Bradley, Joe Mays
WLB: Ernie Sims, Akeem Jordan
LCB: Asante Samuel, Joselio Hanson
SS: Quintin Mikell, Quintin Demps
FS: Nate Allen, Macho Harris
RCB: Ellis Hobbs, Dimitri Patterson
K: David Akers
P: Sav Rocca
KR: Quintin Demps
PR: DeSean Jackson
LS: Jon Dorenbos
CSN: Chip Kelly says he'll adapt his offense to fit the NFL, but analyst Ron Jaworski isn't sold.
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