The work stoppage has every side of the NFL facing an unknown future and a tenuous present, and while the NFL draft is the focus for the football folks right now, there is obviously more to consider for the future.
How well a team prepares now is going to be critical in terms of its performance for 2011 when the work stoppage ends -- I'm optimistic, OK? -- and teams come storming out of the gates. There is every reason to believe the Eagles will have their ship in order. From Jeffrey Lurie to team president Joe Banner to chief operating officer Don Smolenski to head coach Andy Reid, the Eagles have more than a decade of experience and trust to build upon and work from when the time comes to have an all-systems-go mentality.
Continuity is going to pay off for the Eagles. There is every reason to believe they will be as prepared as they can possibly be for the next steps in this season.
Certainly, there have been massive changes within the football side of things. Howie Roseman was promoted to general manager last offseason. Juan Castillo was part of the unprecedented shakeup of the defensive coaching staff following the playoff loss to Green Bay. But even within those changes, there is a sense of understanding. Roseman has been with the Eagles since 2000 and has an understanding of all facets of the football administration. Castillo has been an Eagles coach since 1995, so he knows the goings-on of the preparation leading through the spring camps and training camp and the preseason. He is new to the defense, yes, but he is not new to the way Reid runs the football team.
So, take comfort in that, Eagles fans. While the Eagles have made tremendous changes these last couple of years despite having a team that has made the playoffs, the decision makers are still here to guide the ship through these difficult times of the offseason.
That sort of experience is going to pay off when the labor discussions resume and the new rules are in place and we can all enjoy the game of football again.
NEW WEBSITE ON THE WAY
We are launching a new website on Thursday, shortly after noon, and it will roll out the rest of the day. PhiladelphiaEagles.com will now operate under the umbrella of the NFL, as has happened to most teams and will happen to all NFL teams before the offseason ends. You will see a different look and feel, but we have worked hard on developing what we think is something very similar to what you know.
The content on the site will not change. I have been asked that many times over the last few months. The league simply wants to roll all the teams onto the same platform from an operational standpoint. I can assure that we will continue to lead the way with our content and our live programming and our ideas to integrate you, the fans, more fully into the goings-on of the team.
One significant change is the Discussion Boards, which are going to have a completely different look. We expect that everyone will continue with their current screen name -- the process is an involved one -- but that all post counts will roll back to zero. We apologize for that. We simply were unable to keep everyone's post count.
I hope you enjoy the new site and the continued great content. I welcome your feedback and your constructive criticism in the Comments section below and in the Ask Dave Spadaro section on the Message Boards. There are going to be some bugs and some areas that we need to improve, so let me know what you like, and what we can improve, and we will get right on it.
THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER
- Our draft coverage, live from the NovaCare Complex, begins at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27 and then we will go live when the draft begins on Thursday, April 28 at 8 p.m. Should be a wild one. We hope you tune in. Merrill Reese joins me in studio for the three days of the draft.
- Some pre-draft thoughts: I believe the Eagles have a great opportunity to address all of their needs via the draft. Hit the defense hard, beef up the offensive line -- at guard, not tackle -- and away we go. The Eagles can get one or two immediate contributors in this draft. I'm focused on the defensive line and the secondary.
- If there is no free agency until after the draft, doesn't that dramatically diminish the players' market in free agency? If the Eagles, for example, go out and draft a defensive end, they're not going to spent a bunch of money on another defensive end in free agency, are they? Just trying to consider all of the scenarios here.
- I keep rummaging through my mind a list of the "biggest needs" on this team and it's just a waste of time. I think the Eagles are in a good place offiensively, with the obvious need to improve the line of scrimmage. They have needs on defense. So, is anything off limits on defense? No chance. Last year's draft produced 9 of 13 picks for the defense. This time around? How about 7 of 10 draft picks -- although the Eagles, you know, are going to trade one way or the other -- for the defense? Sound OK to you?