Five Bold Predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles' 2008 Season

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Five Bold Predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles' 2008 Season

1) The Eagles will completely shake up their wide receiver corps by the end of the season.

Kevin Curtis will be the only wide receiver that begins the season in the same role as he began. Reggie Brown, who's currently the No. 2 wide receiver isn't going to catch 40 balls this year. He just doesn't fit well into this system. The Eagles will exploit the fact that the remaining wide receivers are all great at specific things, while Brown is not.

Jason Avant is a solid receiver that can go over the middle and make tough catches. Hank Baskett is going to be an absolute weapon in situations where the ball has to go to the sidelines and in the red zone. His large frame and great hands allow him to catch balls most receivers can only dream of catching.

Finally, DeSean Jackson has shown all training camp, and in the first preseason game, that he's going to be able to stretch the field. Jackson has also showed the ability to catch the ball in short-yardage situations and use his agility to have large yards-after-the-catch totals.

This all adds up to the Eagles saying "peace" to Greg Lewis.

 

2) The defensive line will be one of the most dominant in the NFC.

The Eagles' defensive line will, overall, be much improved from 2007 when the defense was good, but not great. The heart of this resurgence will come from the defensive line.

Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson is one of the best defensive-tackle duos in the NFC. They aren't the best, but they are right there. Backing them up will be Dan Klecko, who's undersized but has the best motor of any player on the defensive line. Rookie Trevor Laws will also provide depth.

On the ends, Trent Cole is again one of the best pass rushers in the NFC and should finish with somewhere between eight and 12 sacks. Darren Howard has shown some rejuvenation in his legs, as he enters his ninth NFL season. Juqua Parker has always been that typical "glue guy" on that defensive line.

Plus, the Eagles should get young stud DE Victor Abiamiri back at some point in the season.

Overall, the defensive line will put added pressure on the quarterback, taking some strain of a stellar defensive backfield. The Eagles' run stuffers will also help out the young linebackers, who have shown potential but are largely unproven.

 

3) The special teams will begin the season awfully, but will be much improved by the end.

There's a lot of turnover on the special teams' coverage units and the kick returners, which means special-teams coordinator Rory Segrest is going to have his hands full.

Lorenzo Booker has never been a kick returner in the pros or college, as he played behind Teddy Ginn in Miami and Leon Washington at Florida State. He's shown great agility and great vision of the open field during offensive drills, but there are questions about whether he can translate that to kick returns.

He should struggle early, but he's too skilled to struggle all year.

DeSean Jackson will have similar issues, from the standpoint that he has to adjust to the speed of the NFL. In the Eagles' first preseason game, he tried to do too much on several punt returns and lost yardage. In the whole scheme of things, that's actually good because he needs to learn his boundaries.

The kicking games will be fine from the start. David Akers is looking like a completely different kicker in camp this year compared to last. Sav Rocca should handle the punting duties just fine.

 

4) If the Eagles enter the playoffs will good overall health, they will play in the Super Bowl.

There's too much talent on this team, from Donovan McNabb to the veteran offensive line to the deepest secondary in the NFC, for this team to not make a run at the Super Bowl.

That's assuming they are healthy. If they enter the playoffs missing only one or two key players at most, they should be able to beat anyone in the NFC. The Cowboys would enter a potential playoff matchup as the better team, but the Eagles have the players to beat them.

 

5) 2008's training camp will be the last at Lehigh University.

There are a lot of factors at play here. Frankly, the fields at Lehigh aren't that nice. There's not a lot of traction and players are constantly slipping on the turf. Multiple times, guys have caught their spikes on the field, and it's only a matter of time until someone is seriously injured on that field.

Also there has to be a location closer to Philadelphia for this team to practice at. It would cut down on costs for the team and the media. It's a pain for the media to get up to camp everyday from Philadelphia, which is between 75 and 90 minutes away, depending on where you are coming from.

Finally, attendance is down. Way down. I don't have the numbers, but after being there two consecutive years, it's noticeable that there aren't as many fans in the stands. The main cause of this is gas prices. Lehigh is 60-plus miles away from Philadelphia, which means a lot of gas to see a bunch of players practice for two hours.

Last year, I would arrive at camp at the same time as I did this year, and it would take me 10-15 minutes to enter the parking lot, which was completely full by the beginning of practice. This year, I basically just drove in almost everyday to a partially-empty parking lot.

I've overheard rumblings from some of the Eagles' personnel about the attendance and hints that this could be it for Lehigh.

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