Philadelphia Eagles' Improvements on Defense Make Them Super Bowl Favorites

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  A Philadelphia Eagles fan poses for a photo before they play against the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles were one of the best teams in the NFC on offense, but they lacked the talent on defense to make them a legitimate contender for a Super Bowl.

With the lockout ruining their short-term plans for a solution on defense, the team had a long time to look at the available players and put together a plan on how to attack the free agency market.

Philadelphia’s potent offense needed little help, besides some pieces on the offensive line, and the management team of the Eagles went hard after great defenders.

The biggest shocker of the free agency period was the signing of Pro-Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha with the Eagles, but the move makes an incredible amount of sense for Philadelphia.

While Asante Samuel is a great cornerback in the NFL, he can be burned by wide receivers who know his tricks. Nnamdi can cover any player in the league, and shut them down like never before.

Take into consideration that the Eagles also traded backup quarterback Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals in return for a second-round pick and Pro-Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. That makes three top-tier cornerbacks on the same defensive squad, and opponents across the NFC have to be absolutely dreading playing against that secondary.

Philadelphia is secure at the cornerback position, but their biggest risk in the secondary will be sending out second-year free safety Nate Allen and rookie strong safety Jaiquawn Jarrett to cover the middle. Both are very talented, but the lack of an elite middle linebacker could test their talents early.

For the Eagles, the linebacker positions are the biggest question marks coming into the season, but the organization feels like Akeem Jordan and Moises Fokou are good enough to play on the outside with Jamar Chaney or Casey Matthews starting in the middle.

I wouldn’t count the team out of making another move that would bring in a stellar middle linebacker, though. It has been the season of wild movement.

More than the secondary makes me feel great and the linebacking corps dampens the hype, the true excitement over this team is the defensive line.

The excitement stems from the new addition of defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who is one of the greatest d-line coaches in the sport's history. He has a history of turning even the most mediocre squads into real winners.

For Washburn, there is no mediocre squad to coach up, but an unbelievable cast of characters that will make his job much easier. Staying on the defensive line is stud defensive end Trent Cole, run-blocking tackle Mike Patterson and utility tackle Antonio Dixon.

Philadelphia wanted to give Washburn more toys to play with, so they decided to sign one of the best defensive ends on the free-agent market in Jason Babin, and arguably the best defensive tackle in Cullen Jenkins.

With the defensive line bound for greatness, the secondary looking to shut down the NFC and a linebacking group that may be one of the most underrated in the league, there is no reason the Philadelphia Eagles won’t be contending for a shot the Super Bowl this winter.

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Donald Wood is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist and Syndicated Writer. Follow Donald Wood on Twitter.