After the flurry of offseason signings, many fans, and most noticeably, recent acquisition Vince Young, anointed the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles "The Dream Team." Met with ire after poor preseason performances exposed weaknesses, particularly in the offensive line and linebacking core, the Eagles seemed to put a lot of the cynicism to rest with a convincing 31-13 victory. Yet, how did the new signings fare, and what does this victory mean for the rest of the season?
The most noticeable new Eagle, Nnamdi Asomugha, was somewhat shaky but overall effective in his debut. Asomugha and the secondary prevented any huge plays through the air and didn't allow a passing touchdown. However, the secondary did look out of touch at points, including a pass interference that led the Rams deep into their end zone. The Rams weak offensive line prevented Sam Bradford from having the time to really dissect the coverage, so it's difficult to really tell if the secondary has potential to be exploited. The safeties were often challenged deep, so there lies potential to be exploited.
The defensive line, with new tackle Cullen Jenkins (who got a sack), looked strong on the pass, accumulating four sacks. However, the team looked weak on their rush defense. Steven Jackson's first rush of 47 yards for a touchdown exemplified this. Luckily for the Eagles, Jackson's early injury prevented him running all over the young linebacking core. Carnell "Cadillac" Williams still had success, having around five yards a carry. Young linebacker Jamar Chaney looked good, but rookie Casey Matthews still has much learning to do.
The offensive line, while weak, was again salvaged by Michael Vick's mobility. Though his completion percentage was under 50 percent, he made the plays he needed to and looked good rolling out of the pocket. New wide receiver Steve Smith has yet to have any significant action, but it seems he will be behind Jason Avant after Vick targeted him often. Jeremy Maclin, off battling an illness, made an minimal impact with only one catch. The star of the offense, besides Jackson, was LeSean McCoy. He easily eclipsed 100 yards, even with only 15 carries. He also showed his agility on a screen to score a receiving touchdown.
The Eagles have lots of potential and won relatively easily. However, if the team wants make the step to being elite as many think they will, they need to find continuity. The line needs to strengthen and the defense needs to gel, but as points in the game showed, the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles have all the talent to be the "Dream Team" some describe them as.
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