This is a week-to-week proposition, the NFL is, and if you talk to players and coaches they look at a season from day to day. Point A to Point B.
Our perspective, following this team every day and living and breathing each moment, is more global. You can't help but have grand visions of what the Eagles could be if everything comes together. When a season begins, you first take a step back and think of the end game ahead.
This is the place to be, the team to follow, that's for sure. The possibilities are great, Super even. The Eagles won the NFC East in 2010. Then they tore apart the coaching staff. Then they made huge changes to the roster.
And now here we are, about to watch the step-by-step process of a football team coming together.
So it is with the highest of expectations and the understanding that it isn't going to be easy and that there are going to be some bumps along the way. There are going to be questions and wild swings of emotions.
Most of all, it is going to be fun. What a series of storylines to follow! Has there ever been a more interesting team? Has there ever been a more talented team? Has there ever been a team, a team that should be really good, with five rookies starting and a handful of others in line for key roles?
I'm buckling up for the ride. I'm going to enjoy every step of the way this season as the Eagles, new and improved for 2011, take the journey.
The first order of business is the St. Louis Rams, a team that is on the rise with some great things going for it. The Rams had some tough times for many of the seasons since the Super Bowl seasons and Greatest Show On Turf days, but they are back and loaded with a franchise quarterback and talent on both sides of the football.
Plus, the Edward Jones Dome is ear-splitting loud. There has never been a more exhausting crowd than the one that watched the Rams defeat the Eagles in the NFC Championship game back in the 2001 season.
Focus is a key. Execution is a must. The Eagles defense knows it has to keep Steven Jackson in check and also get quarterback Sam Bradford off his game. How they go about doing that, what scheme the coaches put in place, is what we will talk about all week.
My mind is squarely on the week ahead, Eagles Week, in the Philadelphia region. I'm not in this week to win on style points or gain more headlines. I'm in to see how the Eagles find a way to win their first game of the regular season.
Too many years in the past we have talked about setting a tone in the first week. That could be melodrama, to be honest. There were a couple of instances when an opener defined a season -- the Pickle Juice game in Dallas in 2000 and the blowout win over the Giants to begin 2004 -- but the overwhelming facts suggest the opener is, in fact, just another game. Stretching it, you could argue that the opener last year set forth the chain of events that defined the season, but the game against Green Bay by itself was only part of an improbable season.
Anyway, the task at hand is St. Louis as the team digs in and puts its sole attention on Sunday.
Within that, there are some micro-items to discuss. Let's do it ...
- The first signings to the practice squad include wide receiver Chad Hall and defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. Good to see those players back. Hall will give the Eagles a fine scout team look at Danny Amendola and Te'o-Nesheim should have Chris Long on the brain as a scout-team defensive end.
- Adding some interior experience, the Eagles claimed offensive guard Kyle DeVan off of waivers on Sunday. He has a couple of seasons of starting experience, has a history with line coach Howard Mudd and is going to get some time to work his way into the mix. Can't hurt to take a look and see if DeVan is someone who can be trusted in a pinch. That's what it comes down to. Mudd has to trust DeVan, and clearly he does.
- Signing linebacker Greg Lloyd and fullback Stanley Havili to the practice squad means the Eagles have all 11 of their draft picks still here to continue their evaluation of the draft class. Makes perfect sense to me.
- Cedric Thornton, if he didn't know it before, has experienced one of the most painful parts of the business of the NFL. He made the team on Saturday and then lost a roster spot on Sunday when the Eagles were awarded DeVan. Hope he bounces back. Talented kid.
- Kind of overlooked in the moves of Saturday was the decision to start Brandon Graham on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He has six more weeks to rehab his surgically repaired knee and get ready to step on the field this season. I know Graham is anxious to get going. He has to stay patient and keep his focus and be ready to go for the second half of the season. Imagine what a boost a healthy and ready-to-go Graham could provide to the pass rush later in the regular campaign.