PFW. Their reporting is solid and their writers very knowledgeable. Now ..."/> PFW. Their reporting is solid and their writers very knowledgeable. Now ..."/>

PFW Compared the Eagles to Who?


I’ve always been a fan of the boys over at PFW. Their reporting is solid and their writers very knowledgeable. Now that I’ve dispensed with the praise, it’s time for me to pick some bones with Eric Edholm’s latest article on the Eagles.

He tiptoes a perilous line in his parallels to the 2008 Cowboys:

"“Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sold out for the chance at a title last season. He put talent before character and chemistry, and the team paid the price with a 9-7 disaster. I don’t think the Eagles have taken this route, but I also am not sure that valuable cohesion is as strong as I would like it to be.”"

Okay, so he avoids a direct correlation. However, associating the Birds with last year’s fifty car pileup in Dallas is taking things a bit too far, in my estimation.

Edholm on McNabb:

"“McNabb now is the unquestioned central figure on this team, a position he has been in before, but not without the shield of that veteran corps around him. His struggles late in the season and subsequent benching nearly drove a stake through the team last season, and he must respond with a steady performance in 2009. I don’t even want to think what might happen if he goes through another rough stretch again. Would Andy Reid consider sitting him a second time? It’s a compelling thought to consider.”"

The “veteran corps” he refers to are Dawk, Tra and Runyan. Yawn. Same old story. I think Westbrook, Mikell, Cole, Bradley and dare I say, Sheldon when he returns, are enough to fill the void. Not to mention Donovan himself. (I realize his leadership skills have been spotty, but maybe not having a dominating personality like Dawk in the locker room will benefit him. Just a thought.)

Staying with the above excerpt: McNabb struggled mid-season, not late. He was incredible “late” in the season (except for the team disaster in Washington). Just to be factual.

Edholm goes on to discuss Shawn Andrews‘ position change and mental health, and the lack of running back depth. Again, valid points, but haven’t we heard enough on these two subjects? Better concerns to raise would be instability at linebacker and the need to start the season fast.

More from Edholm:

"“I also am not ready to give up on this team if Jim Johnson can’t coach this year. Imagine the Steelers if Dick LeBeau suddenly retired; that’s how much Johnson means to this defense… But Johnson is the nerve center of this defense, and even if McDermott has been prepping for this day for two years, he lacks the experience and the will of his mentor right now.”"

Isn’t this statement contradictory? It sounds like he is ready to give up, doesn’t it? Maybe he’s attempting sarcasm and I’m just not picking it up. I read it three times and I’m still scratching my head. Anyway, he does like the receivers and front seven, so it’s not all bad.

Here’s how he wraps it up:

"“I think there’s enough talent here to get this team through a brutal division, past three rough road games in the final five weeks and into a playoff field that promises to be deep and daunting. But I have to be convinced that the Eagles can overcome tests to their character and thrive and survive when the going gets tough. That’s what last year’s Cowboys failed to do.”"

Alright, he likes their chances, but I’m still not happy with his his final two sentences.

Is “overcoming tests when the going gets tough” similar to surviving the mid-season benching of your franchise quarterback to make a miraculous run to the NFC title game? Or it more sensible to collect a group of malcontents and losers like T.O., Pacman, Tank Johnson and Roy (the receiver) Williams, only to squander a golden opportunity to earn a playoff birth by getting annihilated 44-6 in the season finale?

Considering Reid has coached the team to four consecutive NFC Championship games, they should have little trouble dealing with high expectations. In fact, I think the Birds take pride in being contenders. They have played in plenty of pressure games to handle the “favorites” label. Now if they can only close the deal.

The 2009 Eagles may underachieve. Hell, they may end up being no better than a .500 team. But to equate them to last year’s Cowboys is ridiculous. That team was built to fail from the start. All you had to do was watch one episode of Hard Knocks and you could tell they were going nowhere.

Name one new addition to the 2009 Eagles’ roster that would fit into the clown college in Dallas. Peters? Weaver? Stacy? Jones? Maclin? Shady? Ingram? By all accounts, these are all hard-working, high character players.

Chemistry is impossible to quantify. Every team in the NFL must manufacture it to succeed. Each team will be different than their 2008 incarnations. Sheldon, Westbrook and Asante’s absences from OTAs don’t help, but let’s wait until training camp is in full swing before we start passing judgment on team chemistry.

The Eagles may be a lot of things, but they aren’t the 2008 Cowboys.

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