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Old 09-06-2006   #1
TexansAllTheWayBaby
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Arrow Preview of the Philadelphia Eagles

The time has come, week 1 - opening day - is just about here in the NFL. This is a fresh start for our Houston Texans. Our first challenge of the season will be a tough one, taking on the Philadelphia Eagles. The game will be played in our house, Reliant Stadium.

The Eagles are obviously a very good team, the most winning team over the past 5 years although they did have an off-year last season finishing up 6-10 with the T.O. saga and injury to McNabb.

Offensively, they are very dangerous with Donovan McNabb the QB. He has a lethal combination on speed, power and throwing accuracy making it very difficult for the opposing defense obviously.

RB Brain Westbrook also is a very good player. He was also a little banged up last season, but still managed 600 yeards both on the ground and in the air with 7 TD's as well. Eagles coach Andy Reid also wants more focus on the running game this year, so he could be very dangerous. Also watch for Ryan Moats, Reno Mahe and Bruce Perry to get a few carries, espically on 3rd down.

Even though Terrell Owens is gone, Eagles WR Donte' Stallworth will be a key player with their offense as well. He is very fast, had almost 1,000 yeards recieving last season, and McNabb will bee looking his way often Sunday.

LJ Smith, the Eagles TE is somebody to watch out for as well. He is said to be very good at stretching the middle of the field, and has become more productive each year during his 3-year career. He had 61 receptinos for 682 yards last season, very good for a TE.

Defensively, the Eagles are top notch. Though they struggled some last season, coming in at 21st in passing yards allowed, 23rd in total yards allowed, and near the bottom of the league in sacks and pass interference penalties. However, with new additions such as Darren Howard and Brodorick Bunkley they will only compliment Jevon Kearse and Jeremiah Trotter. This is a very dangerous front four and will look to get pressure on the opposing QB early.

Behind their front four, their secondary is very talented despite a rather off-year last season. Brian Dawkins, Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown and Micheal Lewis are all household names and all four of them aside from the under-rated Sheldon Brown have made the Pro Bowl.

I will mention a quick note on Special Teams for the Eagles- David Akers. One of the most reliable kickers in the NFL. Akers is very trust-worthy.He is coming off a groin-injury from last season. Akers still appears he will be a very reliable kicker for Philidelphia this season and reutnrs himslef to Pro Bowl Status.

Overall, just a quick summary, the Philadelphia Eagles had a rather rough year last season with the whole Terrell Owens saga and a good amount of injuries. All of the players are healthy this year, and the entire team is very hungry to return to playoff status this year, and with this talent, should have no problems in doing so espically under a great coach such as Andy Reid.

Looks like a tough opener for our boys the Houston Texans this Sunday, but it is in our house and we are also pumped up!

My ''Keys to the game'' will be posted Thursday Evening.
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Last edited by TexansAllTheWayBaby; 09-06-2006 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 09-06-2006   #2
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As an Eagles fan I must say, pretty nice summery.

A few quick things I would add:

Reggie Brown is far and away better then Sheppard. Sheppard had all the INTs and got a bunch of long TD returns, but the only reason is that no QB wants to throw at Brown.

The other thing is as far as our RBs are concerned. Correll Buckhalter is our best pure RB, and will be the #2 guy behind Westbrook. Buck goes abot 6'1" and 220. He has very good speed, acceleration, quickness, and power. In fact, he was supposed to be our starter in 2004 before he got hurt, and then Westy went off and had a pro-bowl year. His weakness is in pass-pro and his hands are average - particularly for a team that likes to thow to RBs like we do.

I think you'll see very basic and somewhat limited play from Stalworth. He's going to be running deep patterns like fly routes most of the time, with a random WR screen thrown in. Brown should be the WR you watch closely.

Mahe is injured and won't play. Even if he did play, he's used almost exclusively as a punt returner, where he lead the NFL in return average. Most Eagles fans hate the guy though for some reason.
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Old 09-07-2006   #3
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Reggie Brown is a receiver out of Georgia, not a corner.
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Old 09-07-2006   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMoak1982
Reggie Brown is a receiver out of Georgia, not a corner.

I was wondering what he was talking about. I'm sure its just a typo. R.Brown is a promising WR for them.
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Old 09-07-2006   #5
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Buckhalter will be key if he stays healthy (a big if).

Brown was better than Sheppard last year, but Sheppard was better in previous years.
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Old 09-07-2006   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome_Brown_99
Reggie Brown is far and away better then Sheppard. Sheppard had all the INTs and got a bunch of long TD returns, but the only reason is that no QB wants to throw at Brown.
I think you mean Sheldon Brown...
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Old 09-07-2006   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles
I think you mean Sheldon Brown...

I believe you are right. Many Eagles fans feel Sheldon Brown is the better of the two corners in coverage. I am not sure that is true but Lito being faster and a bit more athletic than Sheldon does take risks on the ball and has done this on occassion when he was in single coverage. He makes the interception or knocks the ball down and he looks all-pro. He misses and the Defense looks like it wiffed.

Back to the review - it is a nice summary of the team. You point out the D-line and mention Bunkley, Howard and Kearse. I am not sure Bunkley will even start this game but I do figure he will be in for half the defensive snaps. Mike Patterson has flown under the media radar this preseason but he is a very good DT. If you figure last year the Eagles were content at the beginning of training camp to let Corey Simon sit out most of training camp and then deal with him coming back at the end of it. They knew from previous years experience Simon would come in out of shape and it would take 6-8 games for him to get back into all-pro form (mind you I don't think he ever got back there last year for the Colts). But then Patterson starting showing what he could do in camp. There was an uproar when the Eagles released Simon but only because Sam Rayburn had missed most of pre-season last year with injuries. But the fans got to see early that Patterson was going to be very good.

Part of the reason I think Patterson got so little attention was that he did suffer the rookie 10th week syndrome. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Bunkley face it this year nor for the Texans Mario Williams. As most fans know rookies that start where down as the season goes faster than seasoned vets. Well that happened to Patterson but even though it did - he still looked very solid at the end of the season - not exceptional but solid. He is back and saw limited reps in the preseason so he should be raring to go.

There are two DL that I am not sure we will see this week and those are Darwin Walker and Jerome McDougle. A few of you may recall there was a shooting incident last year involving an NFL player. That was McDougle, who was car jacked just before preseason started and shot in the stomach. McDougle had complications around week 6 that put him back in surgury and out for the season. Well he is back and has looked good in practice and so-so in the few preseason games he played before breaking some ribs. The ribs are reported to be fine and he has been practicing but it has only been 4 weeks. Walker is similiar in that he also broke some ribs - he has had 5 weeks to heal. The thing is Cole and Thomas at DE have looked very good this preseason and Ramsey and Rayburn have also looked solid. So there really isn't any reason to activate Walker and McDougle.

BTW - what do you guys think of Kalu? Some Eagle fans are down on him but if used right Kalu can be a pressure guy. I have always thought he played his best when he lined up at LDE but he played a lot of RDE for the Eagles. As an Eagle they toyed early with his weight - bulking him up one season and then having him drop alot of weight the following season to work some at SAM. Then he was asked to be an everydown DE due to injuries. Last year he was suppose to rotate in for 20-30 plays a game with McDougle. Instead with McDougle's injury he was asked to play many more reps and often on run downs. At this point in his career he is a pass specialist - so we used him wrong. But it will be interesting to see how the Texans use him.
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Old 09-07-2006   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allez_aigles
BTW - what do you guys think of Kalu? Some Eagle fans are down on him but if used right Kalu can be a pressure guy. I have always thought he played his best when he lined up at LDE but he played a lot of RDE for the Eagles. As an Eagle they toyed early with his weight - bulking him up one season and then having him drop alot of weight the following season to work some at SAM. Then he was asked to be an everydown DE due to injuries. Last year he was suppose to rotate in for 20-30 plays a game with McDougle. Instead with McDougle's injury he was asked to play many more reps and often on run downs. At this point in his career he is a pass specialist - so we used him wrong. But it will be interesting to see how the Texans use him.

Kalu is a decent player. He is a solid, dependable DE. He isnt a superstar, and he wont be this years Derrick Burgess. But he is a guy who can rotate in, and not make huge mistakes to lose the game for you. Very smart guy, and from what I saw of him in the Texans preseason games, was a little invisible. Only because of what I mentioned though. He isnt flashy, and he doesnt make mental mistakes.

If he can play 40-50% of the time and stay fresh, he should help the Texans out a lot...especially on 3rd downs.
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Old 09-07-2006   #9
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Hopefully GE99 doesn't mind that I transplanted this here. GoEagles99 is one of the most respected posters at the Eagles message board. Here was his preview of the game:
Quote:
Originally Posted by goeagles99,Sep 7 2006, 09:48 AM
EAGLES at TEXANS
Normally I like to start a preview by looking at what the teams have done the previous week and/or the last month or so. That doesn't work with a season opener.

Houston went 2-14 last year, but has a new coach in Gary Kubiak and many new players. I expect immediate improvement, but there will be some growing pains.


ABOUT THE TEXANS


Kubiak was the OC for the Denver Broncos. He brought that offensive scheme along with him. That means a lot of zone blocking, a lot of running, and a lot of play action passes. Expect Houston to also run a lot of 2 and 3 TE sets.

The offense does have some quality weapons. QB David Carr has shown flashes of greatness in his career. None of them came last year. He really struggled all year long. Kubiak should make a world of difference in how David plays. He's been shell-shocked throughout his career by an enormous amount of sacks and hits. Kubiak will scheme to protect Carr. He'll use lots of TEs. He'll keep RBs in to block. He'll roll out some of the time as well.

WR Andre Johnson has elite talent, but his production is affected by the QB play. Eric Moulds was acquired from Buffalo in the offseason, but has looked slow this summer. He might have just been pacing himself, but Eric sure looked heavy and slow. TE Owen Daniels is a rookie.

The RBs will be interesting. Domanick Davis was the incumbent starter, but a knee injury sidelined him for the year. Undrafted rookie Wali Lundy will get the start. He had a very good preseason. Vernand Morency and Ron Dayne will also gets lots of playing time. In Denver, this offense was productive with many different runners. Lundy could be a terrific find or it could be that he'll give way to Morency or Dayne in a hurry. Only time will tell.

The OL is the real key. The Texans have struggle to protect David Carr. Now they have a whole new offense and a new blocking scheme. They'll have a rookie LT in Charles Spencer and a new Center in Mike Flanagan, a very good veteran addition from GB. This is the most talent that Houston has had up front, but it will take them time to gel.

The defense is switching to a 4-3 for the first time in team history. I think this fits their personnel much better than the 3-4.

2nd year DT Travis Johnson had some good moments in the preseason. He will benefit from the switch. Rookie DE Mario Williams has an amazing combination of size, speed, and talent. However, he was a slow starter at NC State. He had a quiet presesaon. Can he turn it on now that the games are for real? This unit has potential, but needs some work.

The LB's look to be a pedestrian unit. Rookie Demeco Ryans is in the middle and flanked by Shantee Orr and Morlon Greenwood. They need another offseason to work on this group.

The secondary is interesting. CB Dunta Robinson is very good. He could be one of the ten best CBs in the league. The other corner job was won by Lewis Sanders. While he earned the spot with a good preseason, Lewis hasn't been anything special in his NFL career to this point. Glenn Earl is the SS and CC Brown is the FS. Both are young guys who've flashed talent.

The STs units are a mixed bag. Their returners do have speed.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR

I believe what Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg have said this summer about running the ball more. It would not surprise me at all to see the Eagles come out and try to run a lot early on. Andy did that in the HOF game and it felt as though he was sending a signal to everyone that 2006 would be different.

The passing game will be a mixed bag. Donovan will spread the ball around like he normally does. I would think they will try at least a couple of deep throws to Donte Stallworth. As long as McNabb has time, and he should in this game, the passing game can be very productive.

I think the Eagles will be able to move the ball well and score points. I think Andy and Marty will keep the attack as basic as they can. We play the Giants in week 2 and there is no need to show them anything we don't have to. Now, should the game be close, we'll do whatever it takes.

The defense should be able to control the Texans. We have a strong DL and they have a rebuilt OL that has been weak for years. As I said earlier, I think Kubiak knows the OL has been troubled and will do all he can to protect them and QB David Carr. This ties in to what scares me about the Texans.

Kubiak was the OC for the Broncos last year when they put up 550+ yards and 49 points on our defense. Granted, he doesn't have the same OL or the same weapons, but he ran the unit that absolutely destroyed us. He at least knows how it can be done. I think he'll run a lot of 2 and 3 TE sets. That means a lot of max protect and 2 or 3 man routes. I'm sure they will play-action fake us to death. This kind of stuff can frustrate a defense that really likes to get after the QB.

The key is to stop the run with only the front seven. Mike Lewis was burned a few times in the loss to the Broncos when TEs got behind him and came up with big plays. If we can control their running game, that will put them into known passing situations and give our DL a better chance to get to Carr. I think we'll get this done, but it wouldn't shock me for Houston to frustrate Jim Johnson and his guys for at least part of the game.

The secondary had a quiet preseason, aside from Dawk. It will be interesting to see if these guys can turn it on and start locking up receivers. I'm also curious to see what Sean Considine can do in his first action as a DB (and a healthy one).
WHAT I'D LIKE TO SEE
* Brian Westbrook get 20 carries.

* Less than 30 pass attempts.

* Bruce Perry have at least one big KOR.

* Donte Stallworth with at least one catch of 20+.

* Jason Avant come up with a couple of catches.

* Matt McCoy make at least one play (sack, INT, FF, or FR).

* Darren Howard get a sack.

* The DL get us 5 sacks by themselves.

* Jerome McDougle on the field showing us something.

* 0 sacks allowed.

* Correll Buckhalter scoring a TD.
The Eagles should win this game. I hope they play well, but the key is to win. The guys have been sloppy in season openers under Andy Reid. This game does have a bit of the feel that the Cowboys game did in 2000 (pickle juice game). I expect Andy to have the guys fired up and ready to tell the rest of the league that the Eagles are back.
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Old 09-07-2006   #10
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GoEagles99 does a great job everytime. Nice post.
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Old 09-07-2006   #11
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I liked it, the only problem I had was that Lundy was drafted in the 6th round, and though we feel we definetly need improvement at LB (Mostly depth) S. Orr led our team in sacks last year and Ryans has been hailed as an early candidate for DROY. I'm still not sold on Greenwood.

Edit: and your defense won't control us!
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Old 09-07-2006   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon420tx
I liked it, the only problem I had was that Lundy was drafted in the 6th round, and though we feel we definetly need improvement at LB (Mostly depth) S. Orr led our team in sacks last year and Ryans has been hailed as an early candidate for DROY. I'm still not sold on Greenwood.

Edit: and your defense won't control us!
Brandon, ge99 got called on that error by the Eagles posters as well. We're just as tough on him as you guys would be.
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Old 09-07-2006   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon420tx
I liked it, the only problem I had was that Lundy was drafted in the 6th round, and though we feel we definetly need improvement at LB (Mostly depth) S. Orr led our team in sacks last year and Ryans has been hailed as an early candidate for DROY. I'm still not sold on Greenwood.

Edit: and your defense won't control us!
Brandon, ge99 got called on that error by the Eagles posters as well. We're just as tough on him as you guys would be.
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Old 09-07-2006   #14
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Default Preview from the Eagles MB about Texans

This was posted by eagles fan GOEAGLES99 on their MB. I thought I would include it here for us to preview. It was a good analogy and not as biased as some of their fan base. He put a good deal of effort into this post:

EAGLES at TEXANS


Normally I like to start a preview by looking at what the teams have done the previous week and/or the last month or so. That doesn't work with a season opener.

Houston went 2-14 last year, but has a new coach in Gary Kubiak and many new players. I expect immediate improvement, but there will be some growing pains.


ABOUT THE TEXANS

Kubiak was the OC for the Denver Broncos. He brought that offensive scheme along with him. That means a lot of zone blocking, a lot of running, and a lot of play action passes. Expect Houston to also run a lot of 2 and 3 TE sets.

The offense does have some quality weapons. QB David Carr has shown flashes of greatness in his career. None of them came last year. He really struggled all year long. Kubiak should make a world of difference in how David plays. He's been shell-shocked throughout his career by an enormous amount of sacks and hits. Kubiak will scheme to protect Carr. He'll use lots of TEs. He'll keep RBs in to block. He'll roll out some of the time as well.

WR Andre Johnson has elite talent, but his production is affected by the QB play. Eric Moulds was acquired from Buffalo in the offseason, but has looked slow this summer. He might have just been pacing himself, but Eric sure looked heavy and slow. TE Owen Daniels is a rookie.

The RBs will be interesting. Domanick Davis was the incumbent starter, but a knee injury sidelined him for the year. 6th Round draft pick Wali Lundy will get the start. He had a very good preseason. Vernand Morency and Ron Dayne will also gets lots of playing time. In Denver, this offense was productive with many different runners. Lundy could be a terrific find or it could be that he'll give way to Morency or Dayne in a hurry. Only time will tell.

The OL is the real key. The Texans have struggle to protect David Carr. Now they have a whole new offense and a new blocking scheme. They'll have a rookie LT in Charles Spencer and a new Center in Mike Flanagan, a very good veteran addition from GB. This is the most talent that Houston has had up front, but it will take them time to gel.

The defense is switching to a 4-3 for the first time in team history. I think this fits their personnel much better than the 3-4.

2nd year DT Travis Johnson had some good moments in the preseason. He will benefit from the switch. Rookie DE Mario Williams has an amazing combination of size, speed, and talent. However, he was a slow starter at NC State. He had a quiet presesaon. Can he turn it on now that the games are for real? This unit has potential, but needs some work.

The LB's look to be a pedestrian unit. Rookie Demeco Ryans is in the middle and flanked by Shantee Orr and Morlon Greenwood. They need another offseason to work on this group.

The secondary is interesting. CB Dunta Robinson is very good. He could be one of the ten best CBs in the league. The other corner job was won by Lewis Sanders. While he earned the spot with a good preseason, Lewis hasn't been anything special in his NFL career to this point. Glenn Earl is the SS and CC Brown is the FS. Both are young guys who've flashed talent.

The STs units are a mixed bag. Their returners do have speed.


WHAT TO LOOK FOR

I believe what Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg have said this summer about running the ball more. It would not surprise me at all to see the Eagles come out and try to run a lot early on. Andy did that in the HOF game and it felt as though he was sending a signal to everyone that 2006 would be different.

The passing game will be a mixed bag. Donovan will spread the ball around like he normally does. I would think they will try at least a couple of deep throws to Donte Stallworth. As long as McNabb has time, and he should in this game, the passing game can be very productive.

I think the Eagles will be able to move the ball well and score points. I think Andy and Marty will keep the attack as basic as they can. We play the Giants in week 2 and there is no need to show them anything we don't have to. Now, should the game be close, we'll do whatever it takes.

The defense should be able to control the Texans. We have a strong DL and they have a rebuilt OL that has been weak for years. As I said earlier, I think Kubiak knows the OL has been troubled and will do all he can to protect them and QB David Carr. This ties in to what scares me about the Texans.

Kubiak was the OC for the Broncos last year when they put up 550+ yards and 49 points on our defense. Granted, he doesn't have the same OL or the same weapons, but he ran the unit that absolutely destroyed us. He at least knows how it can be done. I think he'll run a lot of 2 and 3 TE sets. That means a lot of max protect and 2 or 3 man routes. I'm sure they will play-action fake us to death. This kind of stuff can frustrate a defense that really likes to get after the QB.

The key is to stop the run with only the front seven. Mike Lewis was burned a few times in the loss to the Broncos when TEs got behind him and came up with big plays. If we can control their running game, that will put them into known passing situations and give our DL a better chance to get to Carr. I think we'll get this done, but it wouldn't shock me for Houston to frustrate Jim Johnson and his guys for at least part of the game.

The secondary had a quiet preseason, aside from Dawk. It will be interesting to see if these guys can turn it on and start locking up receivers. I'm also curious to see what Sean Considine can do in his first action as a DB (and a healthy one).


WHAT I'D LIKE TO SEE


* Brian Westbrook get 20 carries.

* Less than 30 pass attempts.

* Bruce Perry have at least one big KOR.

* Donte Stallworth with at least one catch of 20+.

* Jason Avant come up with a couple of catches.

* Matt McCoy make at least one play (sack, INT, FF, or FR).

* Darren Howard get a sack.

* The DL get us 5 sacks by themselves.

* Jerome McDougle on the field showing us something.

* 0 sacks allowed.

* Correll Buckhalter scoring a TD.



The Eagles should win this game. I hope they play well, but the key is to win. The guys have been sloppy in season openers under Andy Reid. This game does have a bit of the feel that the Cowboys game did in 2000 (pickle juice game). I expect Andy to have the guys fired up and ready to tell the rest of the league that the Eagles are back.
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Old 09-07-2006   #15
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Not sure what the article quoting rules are here but:
http://www.courierpostonline.com/app...609070400/1015

How the Eagles break down by position
Quote:
Thursday, September 7, 2006

By DON BENEVENTO
Courier-Post Staff

Here is a quick rundown of how the Eagles look at various positions as the season opener nears Sunday against the Houston Texans.

Wide receivers

What's old: Reggie Brown was one of the team's most pleasant surprises last season when he caught 43 passes for 571 yards and four touchdowns. He will be back for his second season, and the coaches hope he can build on a fine rookie year. After a facing a good test in training camp, Greg Lewis will return for his third season. He caught 48 passes for 561 yards, but his production dropped at the end of last season.

What's new: The Eagles made a late addition by acquiring Donte' Stallworth from the Saints and he may step in to become the No. 1 guy. He caught 70 passes for 945 yards and seven touchdowns last year. The Eagles have brought in some young talent with the addition of Jason Avant, a fourth-round draft pick out of Michigan, and in free agent Hank Baskett.

What can go right: The Eagles need a bounce-back year from Lewis, who was fine as a rookie, but he dipped badly as a sophomore. Maybe being relegated to a third or fourth receiver will take some pressure off him. The Eagles also need Brown to keep moving forward, and they need big year from Stallworth.

What can go wrong: Brown and Lewis could both take a step backward. Stallworth could stumble and not make the impact thats expected of him, and that would put the Eagles offense into a real bind.

Interior line

What's old: The Eagles have two veteran tackles in Jon Runyan and William Thomas. As long as they are both healthy, there are few worries in that position. Former No. 1 draft pick Shawn Andrews returns at right guard. He has lost lots of weight and he looks quick and strong, which will be an asset.

What's new: Jamaal Jackson is thestarting center. He's bigger, stronger and a better blocker than Hank Fraley, who's now in Cleveland. Todd Herremans will start at left guard. He played several games last season at tackle, which is his natural position.

What can go right: The new mix can blend quickly as it seems to have done in the preseason, and the Eagles could then become a potent running team as well as a good pass-protect team.

What can go wrong: Herremans could have a difficult time making the switch from tackle to guard and that could cause problems. Thomas has a history of back and blood clot problems. If either of those flare up, the coaches are going to have to make some quick adjustments.

Tight ends

What's old: L.J. Smith is back for his fourth season, and second as a starter. He was sporadic last season. He led the team in catches with 61 for 682 yards, but he still had some drops and his blocking ability is open to question. Long snapper Mike Bartrum also plays tight end. He did, however, catch two passes last season.

What's new: The Eagles have acquired Matt Schobel and he will likely be a backup and play in two tight-end formations, something the Eagles like to do in short-yardage situations.

What can go right: Smith could have a breakthrough and establish himself as one of the best tight ends in the NFL.

What can go wrong: The Eagles are really thin in this position in case of injuries.

Quarterbacks

What's old: Donovan McNabb is back for his eighth season, and his play will dictate how the season goes. Hurt right from the get-go last season, McNabb never found his rhythm, and he eventually went out for the season, needing surgery to repair a hernia.

What's new: There will be a new No. 2 man in the veteran Jeff Garcia, and A.J. Feeley will return after a two-year absence in the third spot.

What can go right: Garcia brings a solid knowledge of the West Coast offense along with him, and the Eagles should be in better shape if McNabb hurt again this season.

What can go wrong: Even with Garcia on the roster, a McNabb injury, especially early in the season, would probably mean the end of the Eagles playoff hopes.

Running backs

What's old: Brian Westbrook returns and he is once again hoping the Eagles find a way to establish a ground game. Almost everyone acknowledges the Eagles threw the ball too much last season, and Westbrook ended up with only 156 carries for 617 yards. He missed the final four games of the season with a foot injury. Ryan Moats is back for his second, and the Eagles hope, a better season. Reno Mahe and Bruce Perry will serve as backups, as well as special-teams return men.

What's new: Correll Buckhalter is back from a knee injury that kept him out all of last season. He has missed three of the past four seasons with knee injuries. Thomas Tapeh beat out Josh Parry for the lone fullback spot.

What can go right: If Westbrook and Buckhalter stay healthy, the Eagles could have no further needs at this position. They will be more than able to carry out their limited workload.

What can go wrong: Injuries. The Eagles have little quality depth here.

Ends

What's old: Jevon Kearse is back to man the left side, and he will be looking to improve on the 7 1/2 sacks he had last season. If he can get to double digits it will be a sign that the Eagles are a much better team. The Eagles also bring back second-year pro Trent Cole who was one of the more pleasant surprises from last season with five sacks. They hope to have a healthy Jerome McDougle for the first time in his career, and they would like to see Juqua Thomas continue to serve as a quality reserve.

What's new: In an attempt to get some balance from their pass rush, the Eagles added Darren Howard as their premier free-agent acquisition. Howard had a down year with the Saints last season, but he's looked good camp and there is reason for optimism.

What can go right: Howard and Kearse can perform just as planned and the Eagles can return to the 40-plus sack range.

What can go wrong: Potential injuries are always a problem. Howard and Kearse could have lost their juice and the Eagles can revert to getting no pressure on the opposing quarterback. That would be bad news, indeed.

Tackles

What's old: This is a position the Eagles have really tried to upgrade, but veterans Darwin Walker and Sam Rayburn return to take their roles in a four-man rotation favored by coach Jim Johnson. The Eagles also get back former No. 1 pick Mike Patterson for a second year.

What's new: With the addition of No. 1 draft pick Brodrick Bunkley, this position really should be improved over last season when the now-departed Hollis Thomas played well against the run, but offered no pass rush ability at all. Patterson's USC teammate, LaJaun Ramsey also earned a place on the roster.

What can go right: Bunkley can immediately live up to expectations and become a star. Walker can regain some of the form that made him a valued starter a couple of years ago. Patterson could continue to develop and become a force either as a starter or backup.

What can go wrong: After getting off to a slow start because of a contract dispute, Bunkley could flounder early. Walker, who already has missed the bulk of the preseason with a rib injury, could continue to struggle. Patterson could take a step backward, instead of forward in this second go-around.

Linebackers

What's old: Jeremiah Trotter returns to patrol the middle. As long as he's healthy, the Eagles should have no concerns in that spot. Dhani Jones has won a battle that never materialized and will return as the starting strong-side linebacker. The Eagles could use a better year from him.

What's new: Former second-round pick Matt McCoy will begin the season as a starter on the weakside. Listed at 5-11, 230 pounds, some say he is too small to play linebacker at his level, but the Eagles like his speed and quickness. The Eagles recently traded Mark Simoneau to the Saints, but they have added Shawn Barber as a free agent. Aside from Barber and special teams player Jason Short, Omar Gaither is a backup.

What can go right: As long as the younger players continue to develop and there are no serious injuries, the Eagles should be able to stay afloat.

What can go wrong: If something happens to Trotter, the Eagles are in deep trouble. The young players may not live up to expectations and that would create great problems with depth.

Cornerbacks

What's old: Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown will each be going into their fifth seasons, and by now they should know the drill pretty well. Rod Hood is a good enough nickel back, but the team is still trying to find a fourth corner.

What's new: The Eagles didn't make any significant additions, but free agent Joselio Hanson was a surprise selection to the squad, beating out Matt Ware and Donald Strickland. There is a hope that the lack of a pass rush and an injury that sidelined Sheppard last season were causes for the secondary's slide.

What can go right: Sheppard can show that he's fully recovered from his broken ankle and become one the NFL's leading interception threats again. Brown can continue to develop in a player some list among the best cover players in the league.

What can go wrong: The two starting corners haven't grown any in height over the years and they still could have trouble with taller receivers. The Eagles will be in trouble if either Brown or Sheppard sustains a serious injury. The Eagles kept only four players in this position, including Rod Hood and free agent Joselio Hanson, so depth could be an issue.

Safeties

What's old: Brian Dawkins remains as the free safety, with Michael Lewis on the strong side. Neither of the two had particularly good seasons, last year, but -- as has been pointed out -- a lot of that may have had to do with the lack of a pass rush. Quintin Mikell remains the primary backup.

What's new: The Eagles hope to have Sean Considine healthy for the season. When he's played, he's a fearless hitter, and can make a difference.

What can go right: Dawkins and Lewis both made the Pro Bowl two years ago and they could regain that form. They will almost have to if the Eagles are to have a successful season.

What can go wrong: Lewis can show that his dip last season was more than a fluke, and Dawkins can suddenly begin to start showing his age.

Special teams

What's old: David Akers returns to kick field goals and extra points, and the Eagles are fine as long as he's healthy. Punter Dirk Johnson returns after missing nine games with a hernia last season. He is as capable as anyone in the league. Reno Mahe will return punts. Bruce Perry is slated to return kickoffs.

What's new: Akers will be working with a new holder this year. Johnson replaces Koy Detmer, who did the job for eight seasons.

What can go right: Akers can get back on track after recovering from his injury and guarantee the Eagles points almost anytime they reach the red zone. Mahe can prove a capable, if unspectacular, punt returner, who led the league in return average last year.

What can go wrong: The Eagles could struggle all year to find a kickoff return man. Akers could fail to adjust to a new holder.

Coaches

What's old: Head coach Andy Reid is back for his ninth season. He is coming off his first year that saw the team step backward. His longtime assistant, Jim Johnson, returns to handle the defense and John Harbaugh is back as special-teams coach.

What's new: The Eagles have a new offensive coordinator in Marty Mornhinweg. He has served as assistant head coach the past couple of seasons, so he and Reid should be on the same page. The Eagles also have a new defensive line coach in Pete Jenkins, a veteran with 34 years of coaching experience.

What can go right: Reid can find the right blend of passing and running that eluded him last season. He can make better decisions on the fly to help keep his team in games.

What can go wrong: The coaches don't learn from last year's mistakes, which will make it much more difficult for the team's record to improve.

Reach Don Benevento at dbenevento@courierpostonline.com
Not a bad review.
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Old 09-07-2006   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMoak1982
Reggie Brown is a receiver out of Georgia, not a corner.
Sorry, mixed him and Sheldon up. It does happen.
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Old 09-07-2006   #17
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An Eagle's blogger wrote a basic review of the team on my Chronicle blog:

"Eagle fan shares his views from the cheap seats"

He is confident in the Eagles bringing back a win.

I invite both Texan and Eagles fans to make thoughtful comments about what he had to say about his team.
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More? Please check out Ultimate Texans Chronicle Blog & Steph Stradley Blog & Twitter @StephStradley
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Old 09-07-2006   #18
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http://www.nj.com/eagles/spnet.ssf?/...ive/pv1794.htm

another preview from a NJ website
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