One year ago, the NFL was in the midst of a work stoppage. Little did we know that shortly after the league and the players came together on terms for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that the Eagles would add so many key pieces to the roster in free agency.
Some analysts, at the time, believed the Eagles were building a one-and-done team, that free agency was the spree that would give the team all of these big names and strong collection of talent for 2011 alone.
That isn't the case at all. The Eagles significantly upgraded their roster late last July and early in August, and the impact is felt now.
With training camp less than two weeks from opening, the Eagles should have one of the most talented rosters they've ever had ready to go at Lehigh University. Certainly, there were some extremely talented teams in the early 2000s, and that 2004 roster was truly loaded, heads and shoulders above the rest of the NFC.
This roster isn't quite as much of a sure thing, but the prospects are promising. This roster contains a significant blend of players from the most recent couple of draft classes plus the sprinkling of players from free agency and the player-acquisition period of a year ago.
The starting cornerbacks are
It was a strong personnel coup for the Eagles, who can fully reap the rewards now.
The roster, then, has as interesting a mix as I can remember. The starting safeties,
Offensively, the mix is every bit as interesting. Quarterback
This roster is a blend of home-grown talent acquired in and after the draft, players added via the trade route, and some serious moves in free agency.
There are 90 players on the roster now, with the eventual whittling down to 53 players in time for the September 9 opener in Cleveland. General manager Howie Roseman and head coach Andy Reid are going to continue to working the mix, moving the pieces around, trying to find the perfect blend.
All of those moves in the summer last year? They still mean something for this team. The defense features four starters from that flurry of moves, and all four of them have the kind of Pro Bowl ceiling that an ultra-talented defense needs to make an impact.
It was never about "Win in 2011 or go home" for the Eagles. The front office signed players with gas in the tank, part of the goal of moving to the top of the NFC East and beyond in the season ahead.