Before the Philadelphia Eagles 2009 campaign could get under way, it seemed as if their fate for the season was already sealed.
It was going to be another injury-plagued season!
The three key players returning for the 2010 season are MLB Stewart Bradley, RG Stacy Andrews, and TE Cornelius Ingram.
Stewart Bradley: MLB - Torn ACL
Stewart Bradleys' healthy return is easily the most notable of the three players. He was coming off of a stellar 2008 season (151 tackles) and quickly made a name for himself as one of the more fierce LBs in the league.
Unfortunately his season was cut short before it even started.
During a routine exercises at the Eagles 2009 Annual Flight-Night, Bradley tore his ACL and was unable to return and missed the entire season.
Almost a year removed from the initial injury and rehab going better than expected, Stewart is looking for more of the same (2008) from himself in 2010.
An ACL tear has ended players' career in the past, but Bradley is young, strong, and determined so expect nothing less out of him than an explosive eagerness to make plays.
Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott had enough pieces to put into place in order to hold the down the fort in 2009 but he needs a solid force in the middle of the pack. Bradley adds multiple dimensions to the Eagles defensive unit and is a welcomed return for the upcoming 2010 campaign.
Cornelius Ingram: TE - Torn ACL
Another player whose season was over before it started due to a torn ACL, Ingram was on the verge of possibly becoming the starting TE during last years training camp.
If nothing else he was expected to have seen plenty of playing time his rookie season!
All signs were pointing to a fully recovered (prior knee injury) red zone threat who was catching everything thrown his direction. It seemed as if every time he would hit the field coaches and fans alike were allowing their jaws to hit the floor.
Nobody could effectively cover him.
He made seasoned veterans like Asante Samuel just look silly in man coverages, and even a double coverage of CB Sheldon Brown and S Quintin Mikell was not enough to keep Ingram from catching the ball in the air.
Cornelius is yet again a year removed (August) from a knee injury and the Eagles front office is hoping this kid can stay healthy.
If he can Eagles fans can expect many double TE formations in 2010—especially inside the 20-yard line.
Stacy Andrews: RG - Knee Injury
He is a massive body who has the required skill set to be a dominating guard in the NFL. He comes from the same pedigree as the once great Shawn Andrews, and he has one of the best offensive line coaches in the league with Juan Castillo.
Nothing tells me Stacy won't have a great 2010 season as long as he can stay healthy.
When he was with the Bengals, he showed enough progress to make the Eagles believe he would be an added force along the offensive line for the 2009 season. The expectation was that at some point Stacy would be recovered enough to take over at right guard along side of his younger brother Shawn, if he was ready to go.
We all know what happened there, Shawn went on a rapping spree on YouTube and the two siblings never played a game of Eagles football together.
Stacy too is showing great strides to make a 2010 comeback and help solidify the right side of the line next to Winston Justice (RT).
He did play some football in 2009, but his knee injury combined with a new offensive playbook made him look almost rookie like last season. With a full year under his belt learning the Eagles way, I am anticipating Stacy to have a breakout season.
There you have it, the three broken keys who are hoping to have a healthy and productive return to the Philadelphia Eagles squad in 2010. There is still time left before the start of training camp to get as healthy as possible!
The opening of my website, bleedingeaglegreen.com, is right around the corner, which is going to have lots to check out and please—spread the word!