For the Philadelphia Eagles, the upcoming 2010 NFL campaign is filled with numerous questions surrounding the youth of the franchise, yet at the same time is entertaining, given the multiple fascinating roster battles.
Still, the Eagles and their fan base still maintain a high level of expectations to produce check marks in the win column by not allowing that youth to become an excuse.
Instead, they'll be looking to make more of a statement.
The reason for that is because of all the play-makers— mainly on the offensive side of the ball— the Eagles now have who could all potentially serve as key pieces to the new look of their offense.
There are several young players who are looking to take on, or being forced to take on, more responsibilities as a result of veteran players being traded or outright released from the team.
First and foremost is quarterback Kevin Kolb.
It is without question the media and fans will scrutinize every mistake Kolb makes in the upcoming season, and he will make mistakes. But Kolb is going to be a season-long focal point, and will be compared to former gunslinger Donovan McNabb in the eyes of the media and the fans for some time.
But not, however, in the eyes of the Eagles or Kolb himself.
If the Eagles didn't feel Kolb was ready to take the helm, they would not have traded their veteran franchise QB, and made him the starter.
The Eagles still have Michael Vick at their disposal, and yet the still made Kolb the man here in Philly.
Not only that, but they also stamped that decision by giving Kolb a one-year contract extension worth approximately $12 million. Due to the league's collective bargaining agreement (CBA), Kolb could only receive up to a 30 percent increase in his salary. Once an agreement is reached, however, expect to see the Eagles sign Kolb to a long term deal.
That is, unless he isn't cut out for the job.
The one-year extension puts the Eagles in a beautiful situation. Not only does it give them a happy QB who knows that the Eagles technically couldn't give him more, it also allows the Eagles to really get a good look at what Kolb brings to the table as a leader.
Running back LeSean McCoy is another player who is extremely young in his NFL career being thrust into a starting role after the release of fan favorite and all hailed RB Brian Westbrook.
McCoy stepped in and played well when Westbrook suffered multiple concussions, and went on to averaging 4.1 yards on 155 carries.
For a rookie those are great numbers but for a young man, who was handed the keys to the Eagles backfield I would like to see him somewhere in the ball park of five yards per touch.
McCoy, and the Eagles, have their crutches ready however if McCoy should go down for an extended period of time like 2009 Pro Bowl selection fullback Leonard Weaver, and newly acquired RB Mike Bell.
I would also like to see sixth round draft pick RB Charles Scott out of LSU be involved in third and short situations in 2010.
Weaver and Scott on a third-and-short should be a heavy concern on the minds of defensive coordinators this year.
The Eagles also have a plethora of receiving threats at their disposal.
Wide receivers DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, and tight end Brent Celek are the four names most fans are familiar with by this point, and each had a stellar showing in 2009.
Each of them, with an accurate quarterback, should excel in 2010.
Jackson served up a multiple role in the 2009 Pro Bowl (returner man/wide receiver), and even with the expectation that the Eagles will go to more of a traditional West Coast offense with Kolb under center, I still expect Jackson to have a great 2010 campaign.
Celek, who was severely overlooked for a Pro Bowl berth, is going to come out and prove why he should be considered among the best in the business. He now knows he has what it takes to be really good in the NFL.
There is also second-year TE Cornelius Ingram who if healthy must be factored in. I am expecting to see a ton of him once the Eagles are in the red zone, and rookie TE Clay Harbor is an interesting prospect as well.
But the list doesn't stop there.
There are two rookie wide outs that I think have a real good shot at making this team—mainly for their size.
Colgate product Pat Simmonds (6'5", 229 pounds) and Florida's Riley Cooper (6'3", 222 pounds) have great upside who could make life very easy for Kolb inside the 20.
Simmonds is by far the more powerful WR, and also has better hands but is criticized for lacking a burst off the line and also tends to run lazy routes.
If he can prove in training camp that those are inaccurate allegations head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Morhinweg, and the fans of Philadelphia, could be in for a pleasant surprise.
Keep the faith Philly, there is going to be so many roster battles and players to watch in training camp this year, it is ridiculous.