For an Eagles fan, it seems as if every year is "the" year. Going to five NFC Championships in the last eight years puts a certain type of expectation on a team.
Last year was no different.
Reaching the NFC Championship and falling just short seems to be a normal occurrence for the Eagles faithful. Once again, the Eagles fell just short of a Superbowl birth, which forced the Eagles' organization to make some major changes.
The '09 offseason started off with a bang—just not the bang that all of the fans expected. The departure of the vocal leader and future Hall of Fame Safety Brian Dawkins enraged fans across Eagles' Nation.
Then Tra Thomas, the anchor and blindside protector for Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles also departed. Many Eagles fans were put into a state of shock.
Little did they know that in the coming weeks and months the team would improve as much as it did.
Stacey Andrews, arguably the best offensive linemen on the free-agent market, signed with the Eagles, replacing John Runyan. Then the Eagles signed ballhawlking safety Sean Jones to help replace Brian Dawkins.
The Eagles also picked up fullback Leanord Weaver to help out Brian Westbrook and the Eagles' short yardage game.
Then the yearly rumors of a disgruntled wide receiver started to arise shortly after. With two picks in the first round, this was the year that the Eagles made a move for a big-name receiver, right?
Wrong! Instead, they went out and got pro-bowl LT Jason Peters for the 28th pick in the draft. All of the offensive line issues were addressed before the draft, which was considered to be the Eagles' major concern!
On to the draft...
The Eagles had the 21st pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and many mock drafts had the Eagles taking Knowshon Moreno, who was high on the Eagles draft board.
The Denver Broncos scarfed up Knowshon with the 12th pick in the draft, leaving many Eagles' fans upset and curious as to what the Eagles will do next.
Would it be Donald Brown? How about LeSean Mccoy? Or maybe Brandon Pettigrew?
The Answer: None of the above.
The Eagles traded up two slots to the 19th pick and took wide receiver Jeremy Maclin from Missouri.
With their second round pick, they took running back LeSean Mccoy from Pittsburgh. Then in the fifth round, the birds took tight end Cornelius Ingram out of Florida.
Additionally, the Eagles traded a few draft picks to the New England Patriots for starting cornerback and return man Ellis Hobbs.
The Eagles' 2009 offseason was a huge success, and the Front Office should be applauded for the job well done.
The Addition of Jeremy Maclin instantly gives the explosive DeSean Jackson the opportunity to focus primarily on offense.
Maclin also has the opportunity to play a major role on offense as well. If Maclin can grasp the playbook and prove that he can run the west coast style routes, then he could play in the slot this year.
LeSean Mccoy will be Brian Westbrook's eventual successor, as well as this year's spell back. He has a strikingly similar skill set to Brian, and is a perfect fit for the West Coast offense.
The trade for Ellis Hobbs gives the Eagles' secondary tremendous depth, having three starting quality cornerbacks as well as a very good nickel corner.
He will also impact the special teams as a kick return man if the Eagles choose to have safety Quintin Demps focus on the safety spot.
Tight End Cornelius Ingram could be the steal of the draft. He had second round talent, but slipped into the fifth round because he missed the '08 season due to a knee injury. At 6'4" and close to 250 pounds, he could be the answer to all the Eagles red-zone problems.
The defense is returning every starter except for one, which was Brian Dawkins. His leadership and toughness will be missed, but Sean Jones has big play ability that Brian Dawkins lost.
Asante Samuel is corner that will make all the big plays, as well as Sheldon Brown who is one of the most consistent corners in the game. Joselio Hanson is a very good nickel corner and Ellis Hobbs has starting corner talent.
Quintin Mikell has Pro-Bowl talent and Sean Jones can be a turnover machine in the secondary.
The linebacking core is a very young, and talented group. Stewart Bradley could take on the role as leader on defense. He may not be as vocal as Brian was, but he leads by example.
Chris Gocong has a lot of talent and is improving year after year. Expect Akeem Jordan and Omar Gathier to compete for the other outside linebacker spot.
The defensive line is very good, lead by Brodick Bunkley and Mike Patterson. Patterson and Bunkley are both young and very talented, making it tough for teams to run up the middle.
The defensive end spot is lead by Trent Cole, who is a sack machine and has a constant motor. The other end spot features Juqua Parker as well as Chris Clemons. Expect Clemons to compete for the starting job after a very good second half of the season in '08.
The Offense is lead by often criticized quarterback, Donovan McNabb. McNabb threw for over 3,900 yards, 23 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and completion percentage of 60.4 percent. Expect even better numbers with a healthy Brian Westbrook and Kevin Curtis.
Brian Westbrook and LeSean Mccoy should make for a dangerous one, two punch, and could give defenses fits if those two are on the field at the same time.
The wide receiver group could be the fastest group in the league, with both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin running 4.3 40's. Kevin Curtis is no slow-poke either, and Jason Avant is a very formidable fourth option.
At tight end, Brent Celek and Corneilius Ingram give Donovan two great redzone threats as well as big targets.
The offensive line is one of the best units in football, giving Donovan time to pick apart opposing defenses, as well as paving huge holes for Brian Westbrook and LeSean Mccoy.
The Eagles are a front-runner for the NFC East, as well as Superbowl contenders. If everyone stays healthy, it is truly Superbowl or bust for the Eagles
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