Remember all the times during the last decade when Andy Reid would sit in front of the media and express his satisfaction with his receiving corps by stating that he didn’t want or need a true number one wideout in his version of the west coast offense?
He would stoically proclaim that he had a bunch of playmakers, not just one or two. Fans would throw up their hands, shake their heads in disbelief and hurl expletives at their television or computer screen. That’s because there was a major flaw in Reid’s logic. The so-called playmakers were mostly garbage.
The names are by now infamous: Charles Johnson, Torrance Small, Na Brown, James Thrash, Freddie Mitchell, Todd Pinkston, Greg Lewis, Billy McMullen, L.J. Smith, to list just a few. All these wastes of space did very little to aid the likes of Chad Lewis, Terrell Owens and Brian Westbrook. Therefore, the entire offense relied on Donovan McNabb to manufacture chicken salad from chicken shit on a weekly basis.
Those dark days may finally have reached an end. We got a glimpse of the future last season, when the trio of DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant and Brent Celek emerged as legitimate threats. This season another trio of talents have entered the picture.
Only five weeks into the ’09 campaign, Kevin Kolb, Shady McCoy and Jeremy Maclin all announced their arrivals to the NFL. Kolb won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award, Shady leads the team in rushing and Maclin has been nominated for Rookie of the Week honors after his 142 yard, two touchdown performance versus the Bucs.
In addition, Celek has become a top five tight end. DeSean is drawing more and more attention due to his big play ability. It took ten years, but Reid’s vision of a multiple threat attack is coming to fruition. McNabb – who is still very much in his prime – is surrounded by young, hungry skill players. It’s about friggin’ time.
No more piling the weight of the offense on Don and Brian’s shoulders, which is a good thing, because McNabb’s injuries are mounting and Westbrook is clearly nearing the end of a brilliant career. The proof of this renaissance is in the stats. Through five games last season, the Eagles compiled 127 points. Through four games this season, they have accumulated the same amount.
The scary thing is none of these guys (except Don) have reached their full potential. Frustratingly, it took Reid a decade to figure out drafting elite talent like Jackson and Maclin is how you improve an offense, not guessing on bargain basement bozos like James Thrash, Ryan Moats, Billy McMullen, Tony Hunt and Lorenzo Booker.
Even if McNabb is not the quarterback beyond 2010, the offense will be potent for years to come. Forget about a window of opportunity. The Eagles have aligned themselves to be contenders for the present and future. That, I think we can all agree, is very good news.