Black Monday came and went in the NFL and the Eagles were silent. No firings. A couple of signings (of players), which I will discuss shortly.
Lurie is always so good when he speaks to the media, and I expect him to shine today. He is going to be positive, because in spite of the 8-8 record and the missed opportunity of the 2011 season, the Eagles know they have a lot of good things going for them. They have a lot of work, yes, but there is a good foundation in place and the Eagles are ready to move on to 2012 with great enthusiasm and optimism.
Otherwise, I'm not sure what Lurie has to say. He will be asked a lot about head coach Andy Reid and the coaching staff. He will be asked about personnel, and no question he is going to get the DeSean Jackson questions each of 10 different ways.
But what can Lurie really say right now? He isn't going to divulge the plan for next season. The Eagles aren't at that stage yet, anyway.
I guess what I'm looking for is Lurie to express to the fans the disappointment he feels from 2011, as he knows the fans feel. Everyone here shares in the pain, but the lesson of life in the NFL is to move on with conviction and to make right the wrongs of the previous season.
I'm looking forward to hearing from Lurie, and I hope you tune in at 2 p.m. to take a look, and then to share your opinions with all here at PhiladelphiaEagles.com. The 2012 season is upon us, far earlier than we anticipated. The goal of reaching the Super Bowl in New Orleans in February, 2013 is underway.
PRACTICE SQUAD TO CURRENT ROSTER
So ... the Eagles signed some of their practice-squad players to contracts for 2012 on Monday and while I know that generates a yawn from most corners, it never does here. Every player on the roster has a chance. How many of you thought that signing defensive end Phillip Hunt prior to the work stoppage would provide benefits during the regular season?
Anyway, the Eagles kept seven of their players who ended the regular season on the practice squad. They will likely add more players in the coming days. That's how it works. A couple of the players signed on Monday, I think, have a chance to make the roster in 2012. My thoughts ...
- Stanley Havili is healed after suffering a shoulder injury in his final season at USC. Havili is up to, after a year of eating right and working out, about 240 pounds. He is healed physically. And with Owen Schmitt set to become an unrestricted free agent, Havili has a chance to challenge here. Will Schmitt return? I think he played well and he has the right to be back, but Havili could provide some good competition. Havili is athletic, catches the ball well and, at least in college showed he could, can run a little bit. Schmitt is a physical player, a good blocker and a nice fit here.
- Zane Taylor joined the practice squad in November after a great career at Utah and time with the Jets and Tampa Bay as a rookie. With Jamaal Jackson's future as an Eagle tenuous, why couldn't Taylor be a candidate as a backup to Jason Kelce at center? Taylor is a stout 309 pounds and he moves well. He will have the offseason to work into the system. He's an interesting guy to watch.
- Jamel Hamler is a 6 foot 2 receiver who left Fresno State a year early. He has a good build and we'll see how he fits in. I'm all about finding a bigger receiver for 2012 to help in the red zone. Riley Cooper made strides in 2011 and needs to continue his hard work. I am not at all against adding another weapon for the red zone. And the kid the Eagles added to the active roster prior to the season finale, Ronald Johnson, had a good career at USC and is a return man. Boy, does this team need a return man next season.
ON THE SCHEDULE FOR 2012 ...
The 2012 schedule is terrific. I love it. The home slate is dynamic, and road trips to New Orleans, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Cleveland make for no easy sledding for the Eagles. Can't wait to see Cam Newton and Carolina next season. Matthew Stafford and the Lions are one of the up-and-coming teams in the NFL, along with Matt Ryan and the Falcons.
It's a great schedule. The Eagles need to be ready to get after it each week, because they are going to be challenged, home and away.
Glad to see that the Eagles rebounded with two straight wins at Lincoln Financial Field to finish 2011 3-5 at home. They needed to reverse the negative tide that started with the 2010 loss to Minnesota and they did it.
ODDS AND ENDS ...
- How is the Wildcat doing in the NFL these days? Remarkable that it was such a big part of offenses in 2009 and then 2010 and defenses figured out ways to stop it. Now you see why the rules change so much. Defenses are very tough to beat in the league. There are a lot of smart coaches and great athletes on that side of the ball.
- While Lurie is speaking to the media today, there is nothing scheduled for Reid, Team President Joe Banner or General Manager Howie Roseman.
- Every Eagle should be, I think, fully healthy for the team's post-draft mini-camp, which should happen around May 1. There has been no offseason schedule announced. Players aren't permitted, under the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, to participate in team activities until mid April. That's a full month later than in the past to start offseason conditioning programs.
- At this point, I'm not sure I'm going to watch the playoffs. I'm a bitter, sore loser. Although I *do *love the game ...
- My first list of personnel needs, in no particular order: Linebacker (2), defensive tackle, kick returner, big receiver, franchise quarterback of the future, safety. Seven players. Is that possible in the offseason? Is that a fair list?
- Scratch backup running back off the list. I was thrilled to see rookie Dion Lewis emerge with 8 carries, 55 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Washington. The kid can bring it. I just would like to see more of a threat returning kickoffs next season.