Being eliminated from the playoffs sucks, but there can be some good to come out of a bad season. Remember 2005 when they Eagles went 6-10? I hate to bring up that awful year, because most people just remember that bum Mike McMahon, and the end of T.O. as an Eagle. A lot of good came out of that second part of the season. Once the Birds were out of contention, Andy Reid started to mix in numerous young players. During that second half of the year Reid found out that he had a few players there.
Reggie Brown emerged at wide receiver taking over the suspended Terrible Owens. Jamaal Jackson filled in for the injured Hank Fraley, and is now the Iggles starting Center. Todd Herremans played a few games at left tackle, and is now the teams starting left guard. Trent Cole made probably the biggest impact. He proved to be a great pass rusher, and is now the teams leader in sacks with 12.5.
All of those players listed are now starters, and have signed long term contract extensions. They are all a big part of the Eagles future, and there is a good chance they would still be on the bench if 2005 was not such a disaster.
These last two games may seem meaningless to most fans, but it will mean a lot to the future of some young guys. Here is a quick look at some young guys you should keep an eye on:
- Brent Celek- Celek has been working his way into the offense slowly. Last week he made a huge third-down catch that moved the chains and killed the clock. With L.J. Smith, and Matt Schobel both injured Celek will get the start. L.J. already has one foot out the door, and Brent Celek could play his way into his job.
- Akeem Jordan- This undrafted rookie out James Madison will start in place of Takeo Spikes(IR). Jordan has been on the practice squad for most of the year, but was called up to replace Matt McCoy(cut). Jordan has been a good special teams player, and now has a chance to really show what he can do.
- Max Jean-Gilles- The “Big Kid” has been ruled out of tomorrows game, and “Big Max” will start in his place. Gilles has a ton of talent, but fell in the draft due to weight issues which have carried over into the NFL. He does seem to be a very good shape as of now though, and could really make a name for himself in these last two games.
- Tony Hunt- Correll Buckhalter is sick, and may not be able to go. If that is the case then Hunt will be the backup to Westbrook. He has spent most of the season inactive, and when he has suited up, he has rarely been used. Will this be the week Andy gives Hunt some playing time? Even if it is not, you should expect him to play more in the Buffalo game.
- Michael Gasperson- He was signed from the practice squad after Spikes was placed on IR. Gasperson is a very big WR, and supposedly the Eagles have been developing him into a tight end. Celek will be the starter, but Gasperson could be used in two tight end sets.
- Victor Abiamiri- With Jevon Kearse all but done as an Eagle, the coaches have to really evaluate Victor. Juqua Thomas will start at left end, but Abiamiri will rotate in. The rest of the defensive line seems to be very strong, and hopefully Abiamiri turns out to be good as well.
- Stewart Bradley- The Spikes injury also promotes Bradley up a notch. He has played mostly on special teams so far, but expect him to see some action in the nickle package.
- Kevin Kolb- The man everybody wants to see, probably wont play against New Orleans unless the score is a blow out either way. Expect him to get some snaps in the Buffalo game though. Kolb is the QB of the future, and Andy seems to be working him in slowly.
- Winston Justice- Justice had a horrible first career start against the Giants. Osi Umenyiora abused him, and Justice was responsible for giving up four sacks. Like Kolb you should look for him in the Buffalo game. Hopefully his confidence has not been shattered.
Not all of these players will turn out to be future starters, but a few might. Forget holiday shopping this Sunday. Any true fan will watch these last two games, and hope to see something positive for the future.
Tags: Akeem Jordan Brent Celek Eagles Jamaal Jackson Kevin Kolb Max Jean-Gilles Michael Gasperson Mike McMahon Philadelphia Reggie Brown Stewart Bradley Terrell Owens Todd Herremans Tony Hunt Trent Cole Victor Abiamiri Winston Justice