When I hear the Eagles -- first Andy Reid, then Jeffrey Lurie -- speak about the team's offseason plan, I get a tingle. What do they have in mind? What is the plan? When the Eagles say they are going to be aggressive, what exactly does that mean?
I don't know the plan, obviously. The Eagles have always been a team looking for an opportunity to improve the roster, while at the same time making sure the roster has depth and a vision for the future. It is such a delicate mix, one that has enabled the team to compete for the last decade-plus to win a Super Bowl, and to stay consistently at the forefront of the NFC playoff picture.
The roster, as it stands now, is really good. Great? Probably not. The Eagles have a few holes that are obvious to all -- defense, mostly -- and they have some difficult decisions to make. The Kevin Kolb situation has loomed over the entire offseason. The changes in the coaching staff are significant.
There is, clearly, a lot of work to do.
But the way I look at this team, the Eagles are ready to make their "now" moves. They hired veteran coaches in Howard Mudd (offensive line) and Jim Washburn (defensive line) to win in 2011. The "rebuilding" phase of the transition is over here. The Eagles have enough youth on the roster.
If they have the opportunity, the Eagles must add some immediate-impact players when business opens in the offseason. I don't expect the Eagles to sign five or six high-profile free agents, but adding a couple of players to help the defense is important.
The first order of business -- and I don't think this is imminent, by the way -- is to add the non-drafted rookies to the roster. That's an extremely crucial element here, one that is going to be competitive with every team in the league.
Then it will be time to take care of internal business, and by that I mean identifying and locking up the players who are scheduled to be free agents whom the Eagles want to keep (Stewart Bradley? David Akers? Quintin Mikell? Jerome Harrison?) under the new rules.
After that, free agency and trades and all of the headlines-making moves are to be made. Oh, how I long for those days ...
I know I'm getting ahead of things here. It has been a long offseason, and I appreciate so much you great Eagles fans visiting PhiladelphiaEagles.com during these quiet days and nights.
Maybe the momentum we feel from reading the headlines is real. Maybe the labor woes are closer to ending than we think. Maybe there will be an offseason of moves followed by training camp and the full preseason and all of the buildup we so enjoy leading up to the start of the regular season.
And when the official news comes and the gates open for business, the Eagles are going to be the team to watch in the NFL. I am twitching with anticipation ...
- Will the Eagles add a defensive end prior to the season? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. I think Washburn is really excited to see what he has in Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and even Phillip Hunt. Juqua Parker is going to be a better end with Washburn. The Eagles expect big things from Darryl Tapp. So, we will see.
- What is the picture at linebacker? Gotta tell you, I have to wait and see how that works. I guess I would be surprised if Ernie Sims, Omar Gaither and Akeem Jordan return. I think SAM is going to be a competition between Moise Fokou and Rashad Jeanty. In the middle, it could be Stewart if he returns. Or Jamar Chaney. Or even Casey Matthews. The WILL spot is just as wide open from this perspective.
- Who goes into camp as the starting center on the depth chart? I am guessing that Jamaal Jackson will be the guy, but Mike McGlynn is going to battle.
- Finally, this: Is it set in stone that Sav Rocca is this team's punter in 2011? No, but my guess is that he returns. The Eagles really love Alex Henery, but they want to see if he can make the team as a placekicker. It makes no sense to overload the young man.