I've got a hot shot, a long shot and a shot in the dark here during this calm after/before the storm period of time. I mean, I'm struggling here, folks. It's the middle of May. Training camp seems like it's still a million miles away. There is no football practice to over-analyze. So I want to knock back a few Things I Think I Know About The Eagles in this 'tweener time ...
- First, the hot shot: Everybody is excited about the selection of Jeremy Maclin in the draft. Maclin has a chance to be a great player in this league. He is, however, in the formative stages of his NFL career, and he is learning how to walk right now, so to speak. DeSean Jackson, on the other hand, is sprinting. Flying. Moving at a pace that you just don't see very often in the league. I hope that fans recognize just how special Jackson's rookie season was, and also have the same high expectations that I have for him in his second year. Jackson has added a lot of strength in the off-season -- how many pounds, I don't know -- and he knows what to expect from such a long, demanding regular season. Jackson is going to be the go-to receiver in the offense. He has every skill and his level of improvement that he showed at the mini-camp last week was startling. Jackson is ready for a big, big next step. He and Donovan McNabb have a good thing going, and that good thing is only going to get better. This is not meant to lessen your excitement about Maclin, because he has a chance to be special. And I am super, super psyched about this group of wide receivers. It's just that Jackson has, as I see it, separated himself. He is in line for a huge season. And I ask you this question: If both Jackson and Maclin had been in the same draft, who would have been taken first?
- My long shot: Now, you know that I have a lot of them. The Eagles have a good, young roster, and if you have already played the "53-man roster game" (I have not), then you probably have about 48 or 49 of the spots already reserved. I'm going to give you a name you may not know. Safety Reshard Langford has terrific size at 6 feet 1, 213 pounds and he looked like he could move when I watched him in the post-draft camp. It's impossible to tell too much about defensive players who are on the field without pads, and it's especially difficult when the rookies are involved. They have no idea what they are doing. They're learning on the go. But I looked out and saw Langford and he just looked the part. I think he has a chance. Let's see how the Vanderbilt product does through the summer.
- Here is my shot in the dark: The much-ballyhooed Wildcat formation is going to be a dud this season in the NFL. I know everybody is talking about it in Miami, and maybe the Dolphins can make it work by using a real quarterback (Pat White) in the role because he presents the threat of the downfield pass. But I don't think there is much tread on that tire. Defenses are going to counter the Wildcat by playing eight-man fronts and by attacking gaps. Looking back, I think the Eagles had it right when they used Jackson to throw from that direct-snap formation in the game against Cleveland. But Jackson missed his target, wide receiver Hank Baskett, and safety Sean Jones made the interception in the end zone. The play was there, though. I don't think it will be there this year. NFL defensive coordinators are just too smart, and defensive players are just too fast.
- In case you aren't totally familiar with the concept, or if you aren't yet aware, the Eagles are revamping the Annual Carnival and Auction and making it into the first Eagles Flight Night! on Sunday, August 2 at 7 p.m. The idea is to have a more family-friendly event that combines the elements of Eagles football and great interactivity with the fans. I think it's going to be a huge upgrade over the Carnival. Fans will interact with players, who are going to have a full practice at Lincoln Financial Field for the fans to enjoy. There will be fun and games all around the stadium and the night is capped by a fireworks show. The Eagles Flight Night! is going to grow and grow and grow. Check it out and be part of the season ... before it starts!
- Nothing to report on the signing of draft picks, in case you were wondering. That part of the business side of the NFL starts, really, any day now. The Eagles have eight draft picks to sign before training camp begins on July 26.
- Twitter nonsense. Don't get too used to it, folks. It won't last long ...
- I'm keeping my eye on that Julius Peppers situation in Carolina. Not because he has any chance to become an Eagle -- I just see that as having absolutely no chance to happen -- but because the Eagles open in Carolina, and the more time Peppers misses with the Panthers, the less chance he will have to be razor-sharp for that game.
- I'm saying that Brett Favre stays retired. I say that, of course, for no other reason than I don't want to think about the guy any longer. And I suspect that his arm injury is pretty serious.
- Can LeSean McCoy play, and play well, as a rookie? Yes, I think. Kid comes with rave reviews, I'm telling you. He needs to keep working hard, but so far the word is very positive on McCoy. It's high on all three of the first draft picks, for that matter. Maclin is off to a solid start, McCoy had a fantastic mini-camp and Cornelius Ingram left strong impressions.