Praise for the Eagles

I realize most fans are still livid at what happened or didn’t happen over the weekend. The wound of Dawkins leaving is still fresh, as is the frustration that the Eagles have done very little to improve their roster. I’m not here to tell you how to feel, but I would like to offer a different perspective.

While many of the pundits at ESPN and the NFL Network are crucifying the Birds for their miserly ways and lack of activity, there are some respected football writers who seem to think they know what they’re doing.

Pete Prisco from cbssportsline.com was very complementary when handing out his weekend grades:

Thumbs up: To the Philadelphia Eagles. They added a power right tackle in Stacy Andrews, traded away disgruntled corner Lito Sheppard for a fifth-round pick next year and a conditional 2010 pick, then stood tall as Brian Dawkins, one of their aging leaders, signed with Denver. This is an organization that gets it.”

Here’s his take on the Dawkins signing:

Head-scratcher: To the Denver Broncos for signing Dawkins to essentially a two-year, $9 million deal. The money is fine. It’s just that Dawkins isn’t the same player he was a few years ago. He wasn’t the best safety on the Eagles roster last season. That was Quintin Mikell. Dawkins is a great guy in the locker room, but he lacks coverage skills. In a division with a San Diego team that features Philip Rivers throwing it and Kansas City with Todd Haley and now Cassel throwing it, the safeties need to have cover skills.”

He added this regarding the Redskins:

“Head-scratcher: As much as I like Haynesworth as a player, does he really make the Redskins that much better? Does the $100 million deal put the Redskins in the Super Bowl? The way I see it, they’re still the fourth team in a four-team division.”

In addition, Pat Kirwan at NFL.com expressed his dismay over the salaries handed out to cornerbacks:

“The guaranteed money that free-agent cornerbacks have received so far seems out of whack: Nnamdi Asomugha ($28.5 million from the Oakland Raiders), Kelvin Hayden ($22.5 million from the Indianapolis Colts), DeAngelo Hall ($22.5 million from the Washington Redskins) and Domonique Foxworth ($16.5 million from the Baltimore Ravens). Not too long ago, Foxworth and Hall were shown the door by teams. I can only wonder what McFadden — and even Greer and Bodden — expect to get in the coming days.”

Who made the best deal?

“The best deal signed so far has to be the Eagles’ contract with Joselio Hanson. Here’s an up-and-coming player who only received $6.4 million of guaranteed money in a five-year deal to be Philadelphia’s nickel cornerback.”

Again, I’m sure many of you think these guys are off their rockers. That’s cool, but sometimes it’s good to get an outside viewpoint on the Eagles. These guys don’t live and breathe Eagles football like the local writers or the fans. They can be objective, not emotional.

Listen, I went on record as saying I’d be pissed if Dawkins wasn’t brought back for one more season. One season. Not two, not five. Have you seen the kind of cash Denver is throwing around? It’s insane. Buck, JJ Arrington, Renaldo Hill, Andre Goodman, Jabar Gaffney aren’t exactly superstars, are they? Not to mention they considered trading Jay Cutler. Do they really have a plan in place? My feeling is Josh McDaniels is in over his head. Just because he worked for Bill Belichick, doesn’t mean he’s the second-coming. Add Brandon Marshall‘s arrest the other night and I’d say things in the Rocky Mountains are out of control. Dawk may end up regretting his decision sooner than later.

Is that what you want? A Front Office that overpays overrated players? Haven’t teams like the ‘Skins and Cowboys and Raiders proven this strategy doesn’t work? I’d rather have the Birds’ 11 draft picks. If they can walk away from the draft with a quality tight end, running back and left tackle, I’ll be more than pleased.

It’s easy to trash management. We do it every off-season, don’t we? I recall a lot of dissent when they traded out of the first round last year and then selected a “punt returner” named DeSean Jackson. You can hate them if you want to, or you can trust the guys responsible for building a team that’s been to the playoffs seven times in ten years and five NFC title games.

I love what Dawk brought to this team, but how many championships did the Birds win with him? Wasn’t he part of the defense that got shredded by Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald? Wasn’t he the guy that a lot of people wanted to run out of town before the 2008 season? “He can’t cover, he’s too old.” Now he’s irreplaceable? Please. Apparently, we have short memories.

The great Reggie White left during his prime. He could still dominate in every phase of the game when he became a Packer. You can’t say the same about Dawkins. He’s still good, but his days of greatness on the field are over. We bitched and moaned when Trotter, Douglas and Vincent were shown the door. “How will we survive?” “What will we do without their leadership?” Blah. Blah. Blah. Get over it.

If you want to shed your loyalty to the Eagles, go ahead. You have every right to do so. Seems a little melodramatic if you ask me. Brian Dawkins was a great Philadelphia Eagle. One of the best. He will be missed. That being said, the Eagles will be fine without him.

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Tags: Brian Dawkins Eagles Free Agent Grades Pat Kirwan Pete Prisco

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