Philadelphia Eagles News

Memo To Fans: It's A Marathon

And I understand how you feel. Maybe it was all of those media reports linking the Eagles to sexy veteran names. Maybe you thought the Eagles were going to sign Plaxico Burress and trade for Reggie Bush and Albert Haynesworth. Maybe you thought the Eagles would have a Traveling All-Stars kind of roster.

When the Eagles said they were "excited" by their personnel plan and that they would be "aggressive," they meant it. They didn't  say, "We're going to be aggressive in the first couple of days of the preseason and then have our roster in place."

A lot is going to happen here. And I hate to tell you this after you have waited for nearly five months for some nibble of football news, I have to do so: Be patient. The moves are coming.

In fact, they're coming as I write this. It's already been reported that the Eagles have agreed to terms with defensive end Jason Babin, the former Eagle who went to Tennessee and lived up to his first-round talent and made the Pro Bowl and blossomed under defensive line coach Jim Washburn. It is a huge addition to the defense at a position that just can't have enough good players. Babin was here for a season and showed glimpses in a backup role. The Eagles probably should have kept him around rather than allowing him to become a free agent last year.

But they did so, and Babin found his mentor in Washburn.

With Babin in, the Eagles have some very promising depth at defensive end. Trent Cole is a Pro Bowl player. He and Babin will team nicely this season. Juqua Parker will benefit from fewer snaps. Darryl Tapp is as excited as anyone I've seen to work with Washburn. Young players like Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Ricky Sapp and Phillip Hunt are going to get long looks. Victor Abiamiri is healthy again and, hopefully, will stay that way. Brandon Graham? It's hard to count on him for anything until we see him on the practice field, and that's not likely to happen any time soon.

The Kevin Kolb situation is also going to clear in the next little while. It surely looks like he is going to be traded to Arizona. It isn't exactly a secret. Multiple reports say the Eagles are going to acquire Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and maybe a draft pick as well. In the words of head coach Andy Reid, "We'll see how that goes."

There is more to come. You can bet on that. The Eagles are turning the roster over in some parts. That much is obvious. There are 15 unrestricted free agents from last year's team that are not on this year's team. Some of them -- like Quintin Mikell (gone to St. Louis), David Akers (where will he land?), Stewart Bradley (a mystery), Sav Rocca (still overseas) and Jerome Harrison (solid backup running back) -- are going to be tough to replace. They were key players on last year's NFC East-winning team. And the Eagles aren't going to replace all of them with rookies, even if it looks that way at some positions right now.

I learned long ago that building a roster is a marathon, not a sprint. As exciting as it is to jump into the market with both feet on the first day, history suggests it isn't the winning formula. There are a lot of very good football players who are now free agents and who are going to be free agents for the next couple of weeks. The Eagles are going to get their share.

It's all going to come together very nicely for this football team. But it isn't going to happen in a day, or two, or three. It's a long-range project. The Eagles have a plan. They just added, reportedly, a Pro Bowl player to a defense that needs more Pro Bowl talent. More is coming. A lot more.

Let's judge this roster on September 11, not now. I think you will very much like what you see when the Eagles line up in St. Louis.

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