Philadelphia Eagles News

Position-By-Position Look At The Offense

Here is a breakdown of the offense following Saturday's transactions ...
Quarterbacks (3) - Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, A.J. Feeley

Donovan McNabb opens his 11th season with an assortment of new offensive weapons. McNabb was in a zone during the team's playoff surge last season and he hopes to carry that over for the start of 2009. McNabb remains a great weapon on the move. He can dodge defenders in the pocket or even tuck the ball and run as he did a few times in the preseason.

Kevin Kolb is the #2 man. The former second-round pick has progressed nicely, making quicker reads and delivering the ball faster. Kolb suffered a knee injury in camp but rebounded with nice showings in the final two preseason games. He remains at the ready.

A.J. Feeley understands and accepts his role for now. He is a quarterback who has won in this offense and that's a plus for him.

Running Backs (3) - Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, Eldra Buckley

This trio features a Pro Bowl player, a promising rookie and a virtual unknown who played his way onto the roster.

Brian Westbrook remains one of the most versatile weapons in the league, provided he stays healthy. Westbrook is recovering from both knee and ankle surgeries, the latter of which was done in early June. Westbrook was back practicing by mid-August and has looked sharp.

Westbrook was bothered by knee swelling much of last season and finished the regular season with 936 yards rushing, and his average of 4.0 yards per carry tied for the lowest in his seven-year career. The hope is that the versatile No. 36 can deliver another Pro Bowl-caliber season.

Second-round pick LeSean McCoy is settling in as a nice complement to Westbrook. Though McCoy is not the power back that fans have clamored for, he is a shifty running back who earned the coaches' trust with his ability to run, catch and block in passing situations.

The third back is Eldra Buckley, a veteran free agent signed early in the off-season. Buckley overcame some early struggles and really distinguished himself as a tough, in-between-the-tackles runner. He also showed up on special teams, which really helped his cause. Buckley toiled on the Chargers' practice squad for two seasons, so he lacks game experience.

Fullback (1) - Leonard Weaver

Perhaps the most intriguing addition to the offense is veteran fullback Leonard Weaver. The young veteran is one of the better threats in the league at fullback, and his versatility is something the Eagles want to use to their full advantage. Weaver is the first "true" fullback the Eagles have had in years.

Tight End (2) - Brent Celek, Tony Curtis

Brent Celek emerged as a weapon last season after playing only sparingly as a fifth-round draft pick in 2007. Celek started seven games and caught 27 passes for 318 yards and a touchdown in the regular season last year. He led the team with 19 postseason catches for 151 yards and a team-high three touchdowns and also set a franchise playoff record with 10 catches in the NFC Championship game.

Celek is a nice fit at a position that is so important to what the team does offensively. He has terrific hands and a savvy ability to find openings in coverage. And this season he is going to have an enormously different role than the one he had for two seasons.

For now, veteran tight end Tony Curtis, who was signed Aug. 25, made his roster bid with four receptions, one for a touchdown, in the preseason finale. Curtis ran good routes and showed some blocking ability at the line of scrimmage.

Wide Receivers (7) - Kevin Curtis, DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, Hank Baskett, Reggie Brown, Brandon Gibson

Second-year man DeSean Jackson made an immediate impact as a receiver and a punt returner last season, setting records in receptions among Eagles rookie wide receivers (62) and putting up more yards than any rookie in team history (912). Jackson and McNabb formed quite a pair last year, looked very much in sync throughout training camp and are primed for even more good things this season.

The starter opposite Jackson is veteran Kevin Curtis, who is two years removed from his 1,100-yard season. Coming off a follow-up sports hernia procedure, Curtis had a terrific start to training camp, however he was slowed by a knee injury in the preseason.

Jason Avant isn't the flashy, big-play receiver that garners headlines, but he has an uncanny ability to get open in the middle of the field. A superbly-polished route runner, Avant has tremendous body control and can put what may seem like a million moves on an opposing defender. He has developed into a reliable offensive weapon as the team's slot receiver who has established himself as a go-to receiver on third down.

First-round pick Jeremy Maclin offers big-play potential with his ability to run after the catch. He has shown excellent hands, but needs polish on his route running.

The 6-4, 220-pound Baskett brings his size and athletic ability to the receiving corps. He is also a key contributor on special teams.

Veteran Reggie Brown, a former second-round pick, has rebounded nicely from an injury-plagued 2008 season and made enough plays in training camp and in the preseason to earn a spot on the roster.

Rounding out this group is sixth-round pick Brandon Gibson, a 6-1, 210-pounder with good hands, decent size and strength and a ton of upside. All told, Gibson racked up 123 yards on 12 catches in the preseason.

Gibson who finished his four-year career at Washington State as the school's all-time leading receiver, made the most of his opportunities both in practice and in the preseason. He benefited from the nine-day holdout of top pick Jeremy Maclin in training camp and carried that over into the games.

Offensive Line (10) - Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Jamaal Jackson, Stacy Andrews, Shawn Andrews, Max Jean-Gilles, Nick Cole, Mike McGlynn, Winston Justice, King Dunlap

The offensive line will be the most important position to watch early in the season as the five projected opening week starters did not take a snap in the preseason together. Herremans will be sidelined with a foot injury to start the season, leaving either Cole or Jean-Gilles to fill in.

Peters, as well as the Andrews brothers have either battled injuries in camp and during the preseason or are returning from injuries.

On paper, the Eagles have not only assembled the biggest offensive line in football, but arguably the most talented as well.

Peters is a physical marvel at 6-4, 328 pounds. Herremans was the Eagles' most consistent blocker last season. A converted tackle, Herremans is massive for a guard at 6-6, 321 pounds but is athletic and powerful and has established himself nicely on the inside.

Jackson is a massive center at 6-4, 330 pounds. Jackson has developed a nice chemistry with McNabb over the years and has greatly improved the interior pass protection since he ascended to the starting lineup in 2005.

The right side of the offensive line will have a much different look in 2009. Stacy Andrews was the first addition made by the Eagles in free agency. Originally, many thought that Andrews would replace Jon Runyan at right tackle, but the 6-7, 342-pound former Bengal will play the right guard spot formerly manned by his younger brother, Shawn. A healthy Shawn, with his incredible athleticism, makes him a perfect fit for the tackle spot even though he had developed into one of the best guards in the game.

As for the reserves, both Cole and Jean-Gilles have proven to be capable starters. Justice and Dunlap made big strides in what was a pivotal off-season for both linemen. Both saw significant action in the preseason, and those reps should prove beneficial moving forward. McGlynn successfully made the transition to center and has experience at guard and tackle as well.

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