Eleven Years In The Making

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.

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Tags: Brent Celek DeSean Jackson Donovan McNabb Eagles Add Young Playmakers Jeremy Maclin Kevin Kolb Shady McCoy

  • http://www.birdsfan.com Mike

    Very well said Scott. The past few years you kind of looked at the team and thought when is the last hoorah coming and when does the dreaded “rebuilding” phase begin? With the way the Eagles look now, it looks like the Birds can keep on truckin’ for years to come.

    You focused on the offensive side of the ball here, but I think almost as much can be said on defense. They have slowly worked in a lot of talented young players who can contribute for years to come.

  • Jason

    It just shows how important the draft is. The biggest complaint during this time is that the front office didn’t care about the skill positions enough which wasn’t true. They just didn’t draft well. Pinkston(2nd round pick), Fredex(1st), Reggie Brown(2nd), L.J. (2nd) were all busts which made it almost impossible to have an elite offense. They hit a home run last year with Jackson and Maclin looks legit. Throw in 2 other great picks in Celek and Shady and the offense is one of the leagues best now.

  • Ivan Bravo

    Not only are the skill positions young and talented but look at the O-line… From left to right they are all solid if not great lineman who all happen to be signed with the Birds for the next few years.

    Hopefully all these young players learn to play together.

  • Tony

    I agree. The Eagles are very talented offensively (and defensively, especially with a healthy Bradley) and the burden is really starting to come off of McNabb’s and Westbrook’s shoulders. Kolb was very impressive in his two games as a starter, I’m excited to watch him in a couple of years.

    Now that I mention it, does anybody else believe that McNabb will be traded this offseason now that the FO has seen what Kolb is capable of? The Titans, Bucs, Rams, and Panthers, and Raiders may all be strong candidates.

  • Scott Tunstall

    It’s possible McNabb could be moved, but I don’t see it happening. They have both QBs under contract through 2010. If anyone gets dealt to one of those needy teams it will be Vick. I can’t see him hanging around as a “specialist” next season.