Ok. Just hear me out.
I know it’s bad form to write an article like this about any team – even if they’d just won the Superbowl – at the end of July. When we’ve only been out of the lockout for a week. When none of the players who make up this all-star squad have ever really played together, when a lot of them don’t even know the system let alone the particular packages they’ll be expected to run, when the team has a mere two weeks of training camp prior to its first preseason game, and when there are still a lot of questions left unanswered.
Is this team really that much of a threat without Desean Jackson? Sure, the big name additions have been AWESOME and like every Eagle fan I’ve been praying for this kind of an offseason since 2004. Those among us who have continually called out the Eagles front office for being, um… too thrifty in many situations, have nothing to complain about at all this year. Howie Roseman, it turns out, is the guy we’ve been begging for all along. If things don’t end well this year we’ll have no one to blame at all. This is what we wanted.
But let’s face it, the defense is in turmoil. New coordinator, new line coach, new corners, new strong safety, a 2nd-year free safety, new LDE, new tackle, God knows what at linebacker… you get the point. Add in a new defensive philosophy and you’re pretty much guaranteed to have pretty much every player learning as they go in the shortest offseason of all time. The Heat – you remember – didn’t win a championship this year.
My point is that we really don’t know who will be starting for our defense come September, so I’m a little hesitant to crown them the top unit in the league.
And thanks to all of this chaos our team is going to be relying on its offense a lot more than people realize, especially in those first four or five weeks. We need the same kind of high-powered juggeraunt attack that blew the doors off the Redskins on Monday Night Football last year. I forget. Did Desean Jackson play in that game?
Johnny Lee Higgins has no place being on this team. We don’t need competition. We need 10 on the field. We need to pay him. Yesterday.
Let’s take a quick look at the last 80 hours for a second. Take a breath and try to process it:
Thursday, July 28. Morning: Jason Babin acquired from the Titans. 13 sacks and a Pro Bowl last season
Thursday, July 28. Afternoon: Kevin Kolb is finally traded to the Cardinals for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2nd round pick. Everyone says we’re now “out of the Nnamdi sweepstakes.”
Friday, July 29. Early morning: Vince Young agrees to a one-year deal with the Birds.
Friday July 29. Evening: I’m driving home from the store. My roommate calls me and says Nnamdi is an Eagle. I flip to Sirius NFL Radio, they confirm. I still don’t believe it. I get home, see it on TV. I still don’t believe it. We currently have the most talented secondary in the league. Period.
Saturday, July 30. Afternoon: We sign former Packer DT Cullen Jenkins.
Saturday, July 30. Evening: DT Brodrick Bunkley is traded to the Browns for a 5th round pick.
Sunday, July 31st. Morning: We sign Bengals OG Evan Mathis. Because Winston Justice (and Brandon Graham) were put on the PUP list, and King Dunlap isn’t very good.
Six personnel moves (not counting cuts) resulting in five new players, two draft picks (a two and a five) and the pieces to build one of the best defenses ever. At least in the salary cap era.
But in the meantime we lost Leonard Weaver, one of my favorite players on this team. Talk about nice guys finish last. Weaver was one of the most gracious and hard-working people on this team – he loved the fans and, in his farewell address, made sure to thank us all – and he was given his walking papers to save cap room. If there was ever a player who deserved to be put on IR. Anyway.
We lost a lot of players, rehired some old ones (welcome back, Akeem Jordan) and the business of football rushed along. But in the background, our most valuable player (in my opinion) sat by and waited his turn. He watched all of the spending and signing and he watched Weaver get cut via Twitter just for being injured, knowing full well the whole time that he had earned a new contract by consistently out-performing his old one (the guy’s been to like six Pro Bowls in three years). And he hasn’t seen a dime yet.
In my opinion, this whole offseason could be a wash if we lose DJax. Say what you want, but the guy is the definition of a playmaker. He is the reason we’ve had the highest scoring offense in franchise history for three consecutive years. He doesn’t just stretch the field, he rips it to pieces. He opens up holes and blocks for runners and returns punts and does everything we’ve ever asked of him, and he saves his best performances for the Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins. He is the perfect Eagle if I’ve ever seen one, and I’d honestly give all the rest up if it meant keeping DJax on this team.
If we do pay him, however, then I’m on board. Fit us for our rings. 20-0? Why not.
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