Philadelphia Eagles: Five Questions That Need Regular Season Answers
I'd like to know what bet these clowns lost.
I'd also like to know where one buys a fake bird nose, and if either individual has any self-respect.
Those questions may seem obvious, but I will never have a definitive answer.
I guess that means I should move on to figuring out if Riley Cooper is going to beat out Hank Baskett for the No.4 receiver spot.
Well, that doesn't really intrigue me a whole lot either because I doubt if either player is going to provide a big enough impact this year to make me lose sleep over the decision.
In fact, there are few answers I actually care about coming out of training camp and the preseason games.
The five questions I have can't be answered until this show gets on the road. And even then it may take about until week eight for us to get all of the asnwers.
No. 5: Will Brandon Graham's Size Be Exploited?
The biggest knock on Brandon Graham is his size.
NFL.com lists Graham as 6-2, 268 pounds, which is not incredibly small, but it was a concern amongst many scouts during the NFL Draft.
Right now everyone is raving about Graham up at Lehigh. He's been called unblockable, and a high motor player with a ton of heart.
That's great to hear, but what happens when training camp ends and the real action takes place?
What happens when teams get film on him and figure out different ways to block him? What happens if teams figure out ways to exploit his size?
Graham can have the highest motor in the history of motors (I hate the term "high motor player"), but there comes a point when hustling, trying hard, and wanting it really really badly don't cut it.
I'm not saying Graham is going to be a bust as the 13th overall pick in this year's draft. But I am certainly not going to get excited about a player because of his performance during training camp or preseason games.
Call me a hater or whatever unoriginal line you have stashed away.
I will call myself wise for not going overboard on a player that has not played a down in an uncontrolled environment against the best offensive linemen he's ever seen.
No. 4: Is Defensive Coordnator Sean McDermott Legit?
It's difficult to replace people who are sports legends in any city.
I don't care if you are replacing the franchise quarterback or a public address announcer, it's a daunting task.
Such was the case last season when Sean McDermott replaced legendary defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.
McDermott worked various positions under Johnson from 2001 - 08, which is why many thought the transition would be relatively smooth.
It proved to be anything but.
Off the field, Johnson died in July 2009 from melanoma.
On the field, the Eagles had a revolving door at linebacker, a giant hole at free safety, and a defenisive line that seemed to only put pressure on the quarterback through a blitz.
Things weren't good and as the season progressed people began to wonder if McDermott was the right man for the job.
That same question remains this offseason, and unfortunately we have to wait until the regular season gets under way until the fans get an answer.
With limited work against the opposition's No.1 offensive units in preseason games, and a tendency to not tip your hand in the preseason it's hard to get a read on McDermott.
With a healthier linebacking corps, an improvement in safety with Nate Allen, and a bolstered line that should not have to rely solely on the blitz to put some heat on the quarterback, McDermott will have no excuses for a defense that falters.
No. 3: Do the Eagles Think LeSean McCoy Is Ready To Be a Feature Back?
Mike Bell is a reliable backup, J.J. Arrington is a high draft pick who has not materialized, and Eldra Buckley will be fortunate to make the team.
This means the backfield belongs solely to LeSean McCoy.
Yeah, Leonard Weaver earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl last year, but you can't count on him to be a productive back throughout the course of the season.
It's not a knock on Weaver, it's only the truth. 323 yards on 70 attempts and two touchdowns doesn't make me think Weaver should take any touches away from McCoy.
But if Weaver doesn't take touches away from the second-year pro and the other members of the backfield aren't ready to do it, then one has to wonder if McCoy can handle the workload of a feature back.
McCoy had 155 rushing attempts and 40 catches, which equals 12 touches per game.
It's safe to say a feature back should have about 20 touches per game.
I'm not implying McCoy is Brian Westbrook, but as a reference, Westbrook averaged 22 touches per game from 2006-08.
That would be a tall order for a back who can't weigh more than 215 pounds with pads on.
But if the Birds want to be successful this season, McCoy has to emerge as the type of back that can handle the demands of running the ball about 15 times and catching about another five passes out of the backfield.
It's a shame the Eagles can't find out about McCoy's durability in the preseason. Those questions won't be put to the test until about week 12 in the regular season.
To keep this thing fair, it has to be pointed out that Westbrook averaged 6.9 touches per game in his first two seasons with the Eagles.
No. 2: Can Stewart Bradley Bounce Back From Knee Surgery?
All indications are that Stewart Bradley looks great in training camp.
It's also fairly safe to assume he is going to play well in the preseason games.
But does that mean one of the best young middle linebackers has recovered from an ACL injury that sidelined him for the entire 2009 season?
Even the most optimistic fan can't pass a judgment on Bradley's health until they see how he reacts to the speed and hitting of several regular season games.
What happens in week one when the Eagles' coverage gets mixed up and Bradley is matched up with Green Bay Packer tightend Jermichael Finley?
Are we going to say to ourselves, "It kind of looks like Stew isn't all the way there yet."
And what happens when Ryan Grant runs the ball between the tackles? Is Bradley going to be quick enough and strong enough to fill the hole like he used to?
It's impossible to figure those things out when players are practicing in shorts and pads, and not flying around there trying to knock the snot out of one another.
And for all we know, Bradley could look great early on in the season and then begin to fade away as the season progresses due to knee not being used to the constant pounding.
There are so many variables to consider when it comes to a player reacting to a major knee surgery that one has to wait until Bradley plays in at least a half dozen games.
No. 1: Is Kevin Kolb Ready?
No one knows how good or bad Kevin Kolb is going to be.
Last year we saw Kolb play against the New Orleans Saints in a blowout, and against a terrible Kansas City Chiefs team.
Over the past week or so we witnessed the four-year pro roaming around the practice fields at Lehigh in a red jersey that warns everyone to avoid him.
In a couple of days we get to see him play against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kolb will probably play for about a quarter against a defense that is sure to not reveal too much considering the two teams meet in week three of the regular season.
We will basically have little to nothing when trying to formulate a solid argument one way or the other about Kolb's ability.
Seven-on-seven drills and practicing repeatedly against the team's first team defense does little for me as a fan.
I want to see how he reacts to defenses he doesn't know well.
I want to see how he performs in week 13 after he's taken a physical beating for the first 12 weeks of the regular season.
I want to see how well he can read complex defensive schemes.
I want to see him run a two-minute offense with the game on the line.
There are a ton of things I want to see out of Kolb along with numerous questions.
And until the regular season gets rolling along, none of us will have any evidence or answers to the questions surrounding a quarterback who only has one career win in the NFL.