I write this knowing full well I may be pretty much alone in the assessment that there are many bright futures on this 2012 Eagles team, especially after a butt-kicking and fifth straight loss at the hands of none other than the lowly Dallas Cowboys. But I must say I was actually pretty encouraged by a lot of what I saw Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field.
Sure, this season is disappearing down the drain at a pretty alarming rate, but for those who think if we cut Andy Reid loose after year 14 that the situation is so dire we’ll be stuck trying to claw our way out of the NFL basement for the next 10 seasons, I think you should step back from your Dallas hate and try to look at the big picture.
First, I thought the draft class looked especially good. First overall pick Fletcher Cox was dominant at times. Second round linebacker Mychal Kendricks looked fast and talented. You barely heard fourth rounder Brandon Boykin’s name which, as a corner, is certainly not a bad thing. We may have the makings of a fantastic 1-2 at RB with LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, who proved he can pass block like a beast. And Nick Foles was, though not the savior some hoped as well as not the disaster some predicted, calm, collected, and showed command of the huddle and command of the offense.
Riley Cooper, with a wonderful one-handed touchdown on a fade pass to start the scoring for the Birds is starting to look like your new number three wide-receiver, with Damaris Johnson a not too distant runner-up. Jeremy Maclin and Desean Jackson are still very young (Side note: I take umbrage with those who say Maclin isn’t playing well enough. I think he’s had poor circumstances and poor QB play and it’s only a matter of time until he “breaks out”). And Brent Celek and Clay Harbor are a more than capable tight end pairing.
Add in that 2010 first round pick Brandon Graham is starting to look like a legit player, defensive tackle Cedric Thornton is still young and improving, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie probably isn’t going anywhere, and there aren’t quite as many holes as people seem to perceive.
Sure the safety play isn’t great, but I think Nate Allen is at the very least a capable starter and Kurt Coleman is a fantastic number 3 and special teamer. The spot opposite DRC will probably be re-manned in the offseason as Nnamdi Asomugha has not lived up to the billing or his hefty contract, and there will be more than a few other expensive veterans needing replacement, namely Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins, the latter of which has earned his keep but ultimately has been surpassed on the depth chart.
But really, with the return of a lot of injured players, specifically along the offensive line, and a draft and free agency (albeit, hopefully not too much free agency) focused on the lines and secondary, this team may not require the complete overhaul some seem to suspect it needs.
Add in the fact that the Eagles have the second youngest roster in the league, and at the very least it’s a positive to see a nucleus of young, homegrown Eagle talent play well.