It's always tough to speculate about the prospects of a team that hasn't even hit training camp yet, but Don Banks, the veteran football writer for SI, is not holding back:
"In an NFC East that features the moxie and resiliency of the defending Super Bowl champion Giants, the fresh dose of energy and excitement Robert Griffin brings to Washington, and the always intriguing talent and potential of the Dallas Cowboys, it's the Philadelphia Eagles -- Team Underachievement last year -- that I think is in the best position of all as the 2012 season looms in the not too distant future..."
That's right, the Eagles. The tease of a club that for more than a decade has been better at creating expectations than fulfilling them. Typically, I don't turn in my predictions column until late August, but when I do, I believe I'll have Andy Reid's Eagles atop their tightly clumped division, poised for a bounce-back season and a return to the playoffs after the nightmare of last year's "Dream Team'' nonsense."
Don Banks of Sports Illustrated puts one little caveat on his prediction of major success for the Eagles in 2012--- he says Mike Vick must remain healthy and upright at QB for at least 15 of the Eagles' 16 regular season games...
Don Banks, veteran NFL analyst for Sports Illustrated...
It's not a stretch to say the Eagles have enjoyed as productive an offseason as anyone, and the irony is they might just have the pace-setting team they thought they had last year, when they uncharacteristically went on a frenzied free-agent shopping spree just after the lockout ended. The Super Bowl-or-bust storyline was catchy, but it wasn't remotely accurate. The Eagles didn't win big, but the team and its coaching staff also weren't broken up in response to the failure. Now they're back for another crack at it, with what looks to me like a far better chance for success.
Banks continues: "Picking Philadelphia to return to relevance isn't just a hunch based on its season-ending four-game winning streak in 2011, because I happen to think Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was right when he classified his team's late surge last year as "fool's gold,'' prettying up their record to a respectable 8-8..."
Banks sees these hopeful signs:
• The defensive-heavy draft that delivered some much-needed, potential-early contributors such as defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks, defensive end Vinny Curry and cornerback Brandon Boykin.
• The March trade for veteran middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, addressing the team's glaring hole in the middle of its defense, not to mention its leadership deficit on that side of the ball.
• The contented and peaceful locker room that should result from new contract extensions for the likes of receiver DeSean Jackson, running back LeSean McCoy, defensive end Trent Cole and offensive lineman Todd Herremans.
• The benefit of a full offseason program and plenty of practice time for quarterback Michael Vick and second-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, who both have something to prove after their tumultuous 2011. The Eagles' roster was kind of thrown together at the last minute due to the NFL's labor standoff a year ago, and eventually there was a price to pay for that on-the-fly approach.
• The reality that the Eagles didn't swing and miss entirely in last year's free-agent haul. Defensive end Jason Babin and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins had very productive first seasons, as did guard Evan Mathis. Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha must step up his game significantly, but the one-and-done experiences of free agents like backup quarterback Vince Young, running back Ronnie Brown and receiver Steve Smith really didn't cost the Eagles much.
Sure, there are still significant issues to worry about -- see Jason Peters' season-ending Achilles' tear, the safety position, and Vick's problems with turnovers and injuries in 2011 -- but there's also an awful lot to like. And the vibe around the team seems a world removed from last season's train wreck.
Don Banks final take: "It's easy and probably correct to remember the Eagles will only go as far as Vick takes them, but No. 7 does seem to be in a good place with his game heading into a five-week break before training camp. This was the first time in six years that Vick, as a starting quarterback, had a full offseason program to benefit from (not since 2006 in Atlanta), and he looks and sounds confident. If Vick is in the lineup for at least 15 games and anywhere close to his 2010 form, I see the Eagles being one of the NFC's three or four serious Super Bowl contenders."
Issues w livefyre again. .... but a movie suggestion for some of our younger viewers... "King of New York" starring,,, well, everyone. Its an outstanding movie.
ATV is really egypt, Broz is really sunbutnuts, and Briz is only half as old as everyone thinks he is(so really he is only 97?). That sounds like a movie. I shall call it The Score 2!
Is it possible that ATV is Egypt???
Youse know i BAD at this game, but that hasn't held me back yet...
It's midnight here in the land of cows and hay...................so it's time to go to sleep. That leaves the rest of the night for others to figure out how we "cheated". Good luck with that.
The question is....Now you have cheated your way into popularity....Does it feel hollow? Or a sense of triuph over a Mole hill of adversity?? Don't make me Fire up and get me fangs out
@beanstalk Tel me something there, Beans.................How did we cheat?
@beanstalk That's right, since you wont answer I'll fill it in for ya...................we didn't. The like button is there, and I can hit which ones I like, so all you crybabies can go suck an egg............it's what yer good at. Thanks ATV, maybe there is an AA inside of me after all. I just needed a reason to let it out.
Semantics...I was down at the bottleshop...
Let it out Dutchie... Its poisonous otherwise...
Ya cheatin barstools
I can't keep up wiff all dese posts....coming from up top...and then down below.
Please stop posting for 10 minutes....while I catch up.
Thanks a million in advance.
@beanstalk All requests are appreciated then they are assigned to the most qualified minion.... Bri... This request is yours!
Dutch you shall forever have a place at the top next to me... At the right hand of god as it were. Much thanks... You are a good man and even better iggles fan
@atvcar Welp, methinks some of the others don't see it that way. But let me tell you this much. You were one of the few who had it right on the "French Foreign Legion" situation. And for that, you deserve some support.........and since the others were so busy trying to kiss up, (TBT, not all of them) It was left up to me to do what needed done.
@beanstalk @dutchrubb @Brozer8 First Bri is a twit... But of course I love him... As I do all iggles fans around the world (including you big guy)... As for popular... I'm clearly not that, nor do I try to be... I'm honest, tell it like it is, and don't ass kiss... That is NOT a recipe for being popular here.... But you will hardly know who I am or what I mean.
@beanstalk @dutchrubb @Brozer8 Ok... Fine spelling and overly trusting iPad auto fill... Also not strong points... Happy now?
@beanstalk @dutchrubb @Brozer8 Never claimed good... Strong points.. Strong... Like I'm a string UAAA, and KOH, and all time greatest in getting likes.... All strong points... For me
@Brozer8 Broz................there are a lot of words I would use to describe you.................and trust me, almost all of them are good, ol pal.
But sorry, descreet is waaaaaay off the list.
@dutchrubb Well, it's appreciated... If for nothing more than to know how much it's bothering Bri... Priceless I sez
@atvcar Yeah, and throw lots of it.................right in their faces.