Sky's the Limit...Or Is It?: Expectations for 2009 Philadelphia Eagles

TCorrespondent IIIMay 13, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 18:  Quarterback Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during the NFC championship game against the Arizona Cardinals on January 18, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

On the heels of an impressive draft, the Philadelphia Eagles seem poised to regain their standing as one of the NFC's elite, right?  Not so fast, don't make travel plans for Miami just yet. 

While the 2009 edition is an improvement over the team that found itself one win away from a Super Bowl berth, there are pitfalls that can turn the rosy preseason picture into a solemn gray.

The offensive line has been shored up at both tackle positions with the acquisitions of Jason Peters and Stacy Andrews.  As a whole, this unit is as solid as one will find league-wide. 

Coupled with newly acquired fullback Leonard Weaver as well as Brian Westbrook and rookie running back LeSean McCoy, the running game should benefit greatly from this upgrade. 

However, it is all too well known that coach Andy Reid is not in love with running the ball.  If Reid falls in love with the passing game as he is notorious of doing, it could spell disaster for the capability of a balanced, efficient offense that this team's rushing attack could provide.

The departure of Brian Dawkins leaves a hole in the heart of this team.  His tenacious play and attitude spoke volumes on and off of the field.  Most importantly, Dawkins' leadership will be missed. 

The defense as a unit is solid, however, when the going gets tough, who will step up and be the calming force the defense needs to get the job done?

The key to success in 2009 lies solely in Donovan McNabb's hands.  Given the efforts by the front office to give him the protection that he needs and new weapons like rookie wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, McNabb needs to step up most of all for this team to fulfill its lofty expectations. 

Barring injury, there are no excuses for a failure to execute on the field for McNabb.  2009 ultimately could be McNabb's second strike, the third being his contract year in 2010. 

On paper, this team is poised to make a serious run at a trip to the Super Bowl in 2009.  However, the game is not played on paper.  That being said this edition of the Philadelphia Eagles still has the potential to be a special team.