What if the lineup below is the one that is scheduled to open the 2011 season?
Calm down, it won't be. Some of the players on the list are not even signed with the Eagles beyond this season and may not return.
The list below was the starting lineup for the end-of-the-regular-season matchup against Dallas. The Eagles had already clinched the NFC East title as well as its playoff seed, so head coach Andy Reid rested as many of his starters as possible. That lineup below fought tooth-and-nail with Dallas' starters until the very end and lost in the final minute, 14-13.
But if you look at the players below on an individual basis many of them did in fact start games at one point or another during the course of the season. Some players may not have started, but had extended roles due to injuries to starters.
Let's face it, injuries are a part of the NFL. The Eagles finished with 11 players either on Injured Reserve or the Physically Unable to Perform list. According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles were fifth in the league in "starter games lost" with 68. Three of the top four teams were, like the Eagles, division winners including the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers who were second with 83 starter games lost.
The Eagles and you, the fans, have a list of needs that the team must address this offseason. Does that list change in any way when looking at the lineup below? With the Scouting Combine set to begin Thursday in Indianapolis, it's vital for the current and future success of the Eagles that the coaches and scouts find the best players to fortify the depth of this team, not just address a position for the sake of addressing a position.
Once free agency arrives, the Eagles will have the challenge of getting the most talent at the right cost which should be slightly easier with approximately 500 players schedule to hit the market. Is it smart to get one or two premier players or more prudent to stockpile talent across a number of different positions?
The bottom line is that there will be times during the season that backup players will be thrust into crucial situations. It happened last year to veterans like Michael Vick, who took the opportunity and became the AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and it happened to rookies like Jamar Chaney and Kurt Coleman, seventh-round draft picks who started on defense during the run into the playoffs. You expect to have your star players, but a good contingency plan must be in place.
|Starting Lineup Vs. Dallas (1-2-11)|
|QB Kevin Kolb||DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim|
|RB Jerome Harrison||DT Jeremy Clark|
|FB Owen Schmitt||DT Brodrick Bunkley|
|WR Jeremy Maclin||DE Darryl Tapp|
|LT Austin Howard||LB Keenan Clayton|
|LG Reggie Wells||LB Omar Gaither|
|C Nick Cole||LB Moise Fokou|
|RG Max Jean-Gilles||CB Trevard Lindley|
|RT King Dunlap||CB Dimitri Patterson|
|TE Clay Harbor||SS Colt Anderson|
|WR Riley Cooper||FS Jamar Adams|
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:30 p.m., February 23