The Philadelphia Eagles scored a franchise-record 429 points last season despite being shutout by the Dallas stinkin' Cowboys.
The season finale flop set the tone for the Eagles getting absolutely whipped by the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional round of the playoffs.
It was ugly.
The back-to-back losses resulted in Donovan McNabb getting the boot and the defense getting a facelift.
The turnaround has been so great that the 11 players who appear on this list have only started a combined 67 games for the Eagles.
A lot of players have a lot to prove this season.
Hopefully, the 11 players on this list prove their worth and ultimately provide the positive impact so desperately needed.
When the Eagles made a trip out to Oakland, a lot of fans were worried Raiders tight end Zach Miller might give the linebackers fits.
Those fears were validated when Miller scampered 86 yards after burning Jeremiah Trotter for the game's only touchdown.
At that point, we all knew Trotter's best days had passed him and that help was needed at the position.
What we didn't know was that the Birds would turn to the NFL's worst statistical defense for a solution.
Ernie Sims was the ninth overall pick by the Lions in 2006 out of Florida State.
The pedigree is certainly there, but he has not been able to produce thanks in large part to being surrounded by less than stellar talent around him.
With Sims getting a new start in Philadelphia he has the chance to show off his skills.
Sims is reliable in pass coverage and is considered more of a pursuit guy with great range than a point-of-attack player. But most importantly, he knows how to finish tackles.
In a blitz-oriented defense, Sims will find himself isolated with a player, and that is when he will really prove his worth. Too many times last year, the opposition would break through arm tackles or make a defender miss in the open field.
If Sims can play to his potential, he instantly makes the rest of the defense better.
Last year, Sims struggled as he battled shoulder and hamstring injuries.
Whenever you stumble across an effective West Coast offense, you will inevitably find a reliable tight end.
Even though Andy Reid may not run a traditional West Coast offense, he still likes to use his tight ends, especially in the middle of the field.
Brent Celek clicked with Donovan McNabb last year and blossomed into one of the up and coming tight ends of the league.
In his first two seasons, Celek caught a combined 43 passes and found the end zone twice.
Last year alone, Celek caught a team-high 76 passes and scored eight touchdowns.
While Celek found a rhythm with McNabb, it was even more promising that he clicked with Kevin Kolb.
In Kolb's two starts last year, Celek caught a combined 16 passes for 208 yards and one touchdown.
A reliable tight end will go a long way for Kolb's development.
DeSean Jackson? Hello? Where are you?
He completely disappeared in the two most important games of the season last year, and they just so happened to come against the Dallas Cowboys.
Jackson caught a staggering four passes that totaled a whopping 20 yards in the final two games against our most hated division rival.
Following his Harry Houdini impersonation, Jackson asked for more money.
I don't care how many touchdowns over 50 yards Jackson scored. I'm not tuning in to see how many fantasy football points he can put up in one play.
I want consistent production, and it is even more important this year.
With Kevin Kolb going under center for the first time in his career as the franchise quarterback he is going to need the team's supposed top receiver to show up all the time.
Hate to pile it on D-Jack, D-Jax, or whatever nickname he goes by, but he didn't exactly have a great game against the Cowboys in the first meeting of the season either.
In a terrible home loss, he caught two passes for 29 yards.
So far in the young receiver's career, he has caught 62 passes in each season and has a total of 11 receiving touchdowns.
The production has to pick up big time.
And I don't want to hear announcers suggest that he is taking off on plays, which is what occurred during the playoff loss to the Cowboys.
When Marlin Jackson's season officially ended June 10 with a trip to the ER thanks to an Achilles injury, Nate Allen was shoved into the spotlight.
The good news is that Allen will benefit from the timing of the injury because he will take first-team reps the rest of the pre-season.
The bad news is that safety can be an incredibly difficult position to adjust to in the NFL, especially when it is with the Eagles.
When you blitz as much as the Eagles, the secondary is exposed to a lot of man-to-man situations and making coverage reads.
Allen will make his fair share of mistakes. But if he can limit them and show off his apparent ball-hawking skills, the secondary will immediately reap the benefits.
And if Allen shows he is capable of making plays on his own, then who is to say that defensive coordinator Sean McDermott won't dial up the blitz a few more times?
Maybe this ranking is a little high for Brandon Graham considering he may not start right away for the Eagles, but he certainly can have a huge impact on the defense this season.
Graham is seen as an explosive defender off the edge, which could spell potential problems for the opposition’s quarterback if things go according to plan.
Imagine if Graham can begin to establish himself as a legitimate pass rusher.
To start, Trent Cole may see less double-teams, which means Cole will have more opportunities to record sacks, force fumbles, and help get the defense off the field.
But even more importantly, it may help the Eagles reduce their blitzing.
I know I said earlier that Nate Allen may help the Eagles' chances of blitzing. But the ideal situation is for the Eagles to create enough pressure from the four-down linemen that a blitz is not needed.
This would cut down the linebackers and secondary being placed on an island in passing situations.
In all honesty, I was not too excited about the selection of Graham, but the more you hear about him, the more you start to believe this could be a great move.
Ellis Hobbs is now the fourth player on the list who did not start a game with the Eagles last year.
Hobbs played in only eight games last season before his season ended with a neck injury during the Eagles' 20-16 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
The former New England Patriot starter recorded only eight tackles and failed to register any pass-defending statistics according to pro-footballreference.com.
His biggest contribution came via kick returns, but this season, he will be asked to fill in much bigger shoes.
Hobbs must replace Sheldon Brown, who was traded away to the Cleveland Browns this off-season.
It is tough to say how he will fit in with the Eagles defense, but he certainly will impact this team one way or another.
If he proves that he can be a physical corner opposite of Asante Samuel then the Eagles will quickly forget Brown.
But if Hobbs is pushed around easily by big receivers, which is the fear of some, then we could see a cornerback who is constantly picked on when the Eagles decide to blitz and in the red zone.
Hobbs is a major question mark heading into the 2010 season, and he will inevitably leave his mark on the defense.
Stewart Bradley was seen as one of the best young middle linebackers before he blew out his knee during Flight Night at Lincoln Financial Field last preseason.
Now he is a question mark along with being the linchpin of the defense.
Bradley is a great run-stopping linebacker and the Eagles desperately need that.
While the Birds ranked ninth against the run last year, you can't help but to remember what the Dallas Cowboys did against the Eagles in back-to-back weeks last year.
In the final game of the regular season, the Cowboys rushed for 179 yards.
The following week in the playoffs, the Cowboys crammed the ball down the Eagles' collective throats for 198 yards.
Those type of performances cannot happen, and Bradley will be the leading candidate to see it doesn't.
But if Bradley does not bounce back well from his knee injury, the Eagles' run defense could be in serious trouble.
It may seem odd to place LeSean McCoy higher on the list than Stewart Bradley, but I assure you there is a logical explanation.
With Kevin Kolb having little experience as a starting quarterback in the NFL, many people expect Andy Reid to run the ball slightly more this season to take the pressure off of Kolb.
Well, if that is the case, then McCoy needs to produce at a much higher level this season.
McCoy only carried the rock 155 times last year for 637 yards while finding the end zone only four times.
The second-year pro can expect his touches to drastically increase this season, which begs the question: Can his small frame handle the constant beating of a 16-game NFL schedule?
The 5'10", 215-pound running back was called on to run the ball 15 times or more in only three games last year.
You can expect that number to at least double.
The versatile back caught three or more passes in seven games, which is a trend that should continue, but we are left with no answer about his durability and more importantly, his reliability.
Kolb will need a reliable running back, much like how Donovan McNabb needed Brian Westbrook.
Let’s face it, McNabb had some of his most productive years with Westbrook in the backfield. The shifty back was able to take pressure off McNabb by running the ball and catching the ball out of the backfield.
A breakout year from McCoy could lead the Eagles into the playoffs and Kolb down the road of continued success.
When you talk about one, you have to talk about the other.
Jamaal Jackson and Nick Cole will be tied at the hip this year thanks to Jackson's season-ending knee injury suffered in week 16 against the Denver Broncos.
In a season that saw little stability along the offensive line, Jackson proved to be the one constant.
And when Cole was forced to take over the duty of playing center, you could see how much the offensive line struggled.
Cole really can't take a lot of the blame for the poor play along the line in the final two games against the Cowboys. He played well at guard throughout the season and was then thrust into the spotlight with little time to work at arguably the most demanding position on the line.
With an entire off-season to work on his technique, Cole needs to play well right out of the chute, especially with reports saying Jackson will not be ready for the season opener against Green Bay.
The offensive line needs to give Kevin Kolb ample time. And if there is a weakness at the center position, then all hell will break loose.
Once Jackson is healthy enough to return he will need to pick up where Cole left off.
Kolb and the Eagles cannot afford to go through an adjustment period if and when Jackson takes over for Cole.
There are a lot of players that can make Kolb's season run smoothly, but the offensive line will provide the biggest impact in Kolb's season.
With all of this talk about helping Kevin Kolb out, it should come as no surprise that he tops the list.
This is now his team and he is the leader.
Players such as Brent Celek, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Jackson, and Nick Cole may struggle throughout the season. But that will not give Kolb a free pass in this town.
Kolb needs to find a way to win no matter what goes on around him. The fans treated Donovan McNabb that way, and you can rest assured that Kolb will be held to the same standards.
It doesn't matter that Kolb threw for 300 yards in first two starts, which is the only occurrence in NFL history. It doesn't matter how much his teammates and coaches respect him or how great of a leader he is.
The only thing that matters is winning big games in clutch situations.
And when you are a quarterback in the NFL, it is the only thing you are judged by.
Football may be the most team-oriented sport, but the quarterback receives a lot of the credit in wins and just as much blame, if not more when a team loses.
Is Kolb tough enough mentally to handle that?
Will he be able to survive in a pass-oriented offense?
Will he cut down on his interceptions?
There are so many questions that surround Kolb.
Fortunately for Eagles fans, there is an equal amount of potential.