Off Season Review: The Making of the 2009 "Green Dream" Philadelphia Eagles
The goal is the Championship. There is no doubt about that.
Five NFC Championship games and one Superbowl appearance has served as an expectational appetizer to the lofty goals of the Philadelphia Eagle's emotionally charged fans. Never have we seen such an exciting offseason.
While the Broncos stole away our heart and soul, Brian Dawkins, we became impatient with the front office's decisions and lack of a sense of urgency in signing quality free agents by the bunches.
TJ Houshmandzadeh was asking for some brotherly love and the memories of future Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison streaking down the sideline appeared to be logical solutions in providing McNabb the tools necessary to ultimately bring the Lombardi hardware to Lincoln Financial Field for the first time.
The front office had other plans.
The Stacy Andrews signing went largely regarded as not enough. The front office snuck in some quality depth at safety to help offset the loss of our ultimate warrior, Dawkins.
We signed our first big back since Herschel Walker in Leonard Weaver who also serves as our first true fullback since the John Ritchie days.
Then in our final move before the draft we made the blockbuster deal for the monster left tackle to replace Trae Thomas on McNabb's blind side with the perennial talent of Jason Peters.
The book ends and run blocking were in place and everything was beginning to feel right.
Doubts about Westbrook's durability were still lingering. We felt little while LJ Smith was shopping himself around and we shared an excitement regarding the youngster Brent Celek.
Still, the fans were justifiably clamoring for some depth at running back and tight end as Tony Gonzalez signed with the up and coming Falcons. Above and beyond the calls for depth at running back and tight end was the call for the main ingredient almost everyone craved, that elusive game changing wide receiver.
While many fans were optimistic about the potential and depth of the wide receiver ensemble, rumors of trade viability for the likes of Boldin, OchoCinco and Braylon Edwards permeated the collective consciousness of Eagles fans everywhere.
It was however, not to be.
It wouldn't have been like Philadelphia if we didn't face a bit more uncertainty and drama. Accordingly, weeks before the draft day, Sheldon Brown, our bone cracking veteran corner back, expressed his disenchantment with the organization and demanded a trade.
Perfect last minute drama as it would otherwise have appeared that the missing pieces of the puzzle would most likely find resolution through the draft.
With nothing but a championship caliber team in mind we entered the draft feeling under dressed in the wide receiver, running back, tight end and corner back positions. Weakness at these positions left an unsettling feeling in the core of most die hard Eagles fans.
The mock drafts picked either Moreno or Pettigrew falling to the Eagles at pick 21 and largely the debate was hot and heavy as to who would serve the better use.
Moments before the draft, the wizard Mike Mayock, predicted Jeremy Maclin, a top 10 prospect from Mizzou, to fall to the Eagles. Fan expectations were Moreno to wear Midnight Green until the Broncos yet again stole our wind and ripped him from our grasp with the 12th pick of the draft exceeding nearly all draft projection rankings.
Surprisingly, the highly rated receiver and return man Jeremy MacLin continued to slip and as the Giants were expressing their interest in trading up to acquire the hot prospect, Reid made a stunning move up the board to grab the speedy, highly touted receiver.
Having traded their second of two first round picks to Buffalo in the Peters deal, the later rounds would have to fill the remaining Eagle needs. With Donald Brown and Beanie Wells falling off the board in the first round attention turned to the very Westbrook-esque LeSeanMcCoy.
Amazingly, the virtue: patience, rewarded the 53rd pick with the dangerously elusive running back stand out from PITT as if it were destiny itself.
Sensing the remaining depth at tight end, Reid shrewdly traded a third and one of many fifth round picks to New England to acquire a former teammate of Assante Samuel in Ellis Hobbs, a stand out kick returner and young veteran corner.
Rounding out the best of the draft, in the fifth round, our Eagles grabbed a tremendous athlete at tight end in Cornelius Ingram who had definite first round talent had he not missed his senior year at Florida due to an ACL tear. Also in the fifth Reid selected Victor "Macho" Harris, a stand out, hard hitting and explosive corner from Virgina Tech who also seems destined to make the team with a likely transition to the safety position.
Without a doubt the 2009 draft was the sexiest and most fan enthused of the Andy Reid era.
The draft did not disappoint and neither did the rookie free agent acquisitions of Vanderbilt safety Reshard Langford, Purdue Converted tight end Eugene Bright and Illinois State running back Walter Mendenhall who have been the buzz among avid Eagle bloggers.
The first post draft minicamp had Eagle's fans drooling in anticipation of watching our Eagles soar this season.
Expectations are high for returning offensive weapons, Desean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett and Reggie Brown.
This wide receiver group along with the newly acquired Jeremy Maclin is possibly the most explosive in Eagle's history and moreover the offense as a whole is truly loaded with speed at the skill positions and power on the line.
The returning defensive backfield, Samuel, Brown, Hanson, Mikkel will be challenged by Ellis Hobbs, Jack Ikeguano, Victor Harris, Rashad Baker, Sean Jones, Reshard Langford, Quintin Demps and company.
Linebackers, Gocong, Bradley and Jordan will be pushed by Mays and Gaither. Trent Cole is complemented by the likes of Darren Howard, Victor Abiameri, Jaquan Parker, Chris Clemmons and Bryan Smith.
The interior line of Bunkley and Patterson are supported by young Trevor Laws, Amon Gordon and Dan Klecko. All are capable starters. What has become apparent is that managing to cut this incredible pool of talent down to the 53 man active roster will be a painful, but luxurious task.
Reid has amassed all of the offensive weapons necessary to conduct his West Coast symphony. Pass catching full backs, tight ends, dangerous running backs and receivers combine with a super sized athletic offensive line that have all been gathered with the veteran leadership of Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook to complete an offensive arsenal full of youth and veterans in compliment.
Along with last years third rated defense returning ten young but mature starters, including the returned to normal form Sheldon Brown and the ever resilient Coordinator Jimmy Johnson, Andy has built a team that will not only make a championship run in 2009, but 2010, 2011 and more.
Despite the very stiff competition of the NFC and fiercely competitive NFC East, opposing teams will have more than their hands full as this team charges for the Division, Conference and Lombardi for the foreseeable future.
I have officially dubbed this Eagles roster, "Green Dream".
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