Terrell Owens is gone and he can no longer be the Eagles' designated whipping boy. But with the set of receivers Philly is going into this season with, they may long for the days of TO's distractions.
With the loss of offensive coordinator Brad Childress, there is a question whether the offense will change much. Considering Andy Reid calls most of the plays, it appears that the offense will not deviate much from the plans of old. That is a mistake. Although Brian Westbrook is lauded for his versatility; his nine carry, seven catch games are doing both him and the offense a disservice. They would be much better off giving Westbrook 20 carries and five receptions a game and see how that opens up the passing game.
Tight End L.J. Smith, their best receiver, could really benefit from this arrangement. Wide Receiver Reggie Brown could be poised to break out, but he is not the big or physical target that Owens was and Todd Pinkston should by no means be starting for an NFL team.
On draft day the Eagles had two highly regarded offensive linemen fall to them. Winston Justice was an absolute steal in round two and Max Jean-Gilles will be a project, but could be a potential stud in round four. Donovan McNabb will have numbers, that is not questioned, but will everyone else on offense step up. Uh.... no.
This is one of the more interesting defenses in the division. They add pass rushing monster Darren Howard to a line that has Javon Kearse, upstart Mike Patterson and first round pick Broderick Bunkley.
For as potentially dominating as this unit could be, the linebacking corps has Jeremiah Trotter and two nobodys starting. They are looking at late-round rookies to start! They still have Dhani Jones and he could not have had such a bad season that he is completely out of the equation.
But there is no reason that the secondary should not dominate with four pro bowl players. Both Lito Shepperd and Sheldon Brown are top-flight and Michael Lewis is emerging fast. Brian Dawkins is aging, but is still a top-ten safety. If the linebackers can gel, even somewhat, this defense has the potential to do some big things.
I have to feel for Donovan McNabb. He had a marvelous weapon that couldn't stand him. He did everything he could do mend the relationship but it was fractured beyond repair, all by Owens' doing. Now McNabb can feel like he has control of the team, but he has no ammo to guide the offense to victories.
The success here hinges on the defense. They could be great, but they could underachieve. It doesn't look good for Philly. I see a 6-10 season and a massive amount of internal squabbling.