Fans want to know who the Eagles are going to sign (re-sign) in free agency. They want insight into who the Eagles are going to draft. But the first order of business for the Eagles should be this - getting healthy.
In an article detailing how teams were impacted by injury in 2009, Rick Gosselin of the *Dallas Morning News *provided a chart that shows the Eagles were fourth in the league in games lost by starters with 70. Gosselin noted that the key injury for the Eagles was the loss of Stewart Bradley who was on injured reserve for the duration of the season with an ACL injury. Bradley was one of three starters to end the season on IR joined by tackle Shawn Andrews and center Jamaal Jackson. The players that Gosselin counted towards the games lost total were: Bradley (16 games lost), Andrews (16), Kevin Curtis (11), Brian Westbrook (8), Todd Herremans (5), Akeem Jordan (4), Victor Abiamiri (3) Donovan McNabb (2), Jamaal Jackson (1), DeSean Jackson (1), Macho Harris (1), Chris Gocong (1) and Jason Peters (1).
Gosselin's chart also shows how many starters played in all 16 games. The Eagles had eight starters survive the entire season - cornerbacks Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel, defensive tackles Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson, tight end Brent Celek, defensive end Trent Cole, strong safety Quintin Mikell and fullback Leonard Weaver.
Good health certainly allowed the Dallas Cowboys (14 games lost by starters, tops in NFL) and the Minnesota Vikings (16, second best) enjoy a modicum of postseason success this year. But the Eagles can't allow the injuries to be the reason they aren't playing in Super Bowl XLIV in two weeks. The NFC Champion Saints and AFC Champion Colts were just behind the Eagles in fifth place and sixth place having lost 67 games and 63 games to injury, respectively.
And the injuries to Curtis and Westbrook allowed the Eagles to learn about rookies Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy. Andrews' injury provided an opportunity for Winston Justice to prove himself and he was rewarded with a contract extension as a result. The Eagles also know a little more about quarterback Kevin Kolb after McNabb suffered the rib injury.
As the off-season is in full swing for the Eagles, when debating who the team needs to sign and which positions need to be improved don't forget about some of the in-house options like Bradley who didn't see the field in 2009.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 2:44 p.m., January 25