Head coach Andy Reid sat down with reporters early Wednesday morning during the NFC Coaches Breakfast at the league meetings to dish on a wide variety of topics as the Eagles prepare for the stretch run leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft.
As the team currently stands, Reid believes that the Eagles are good enough to compete for a championship this season. Reid looks at the four-game win streak to end the 2011 season as proof that the Eagles are primed for a potential title run in 2012.
"I think we have a good group coming back and as long as we build on what we did last year - which I think is important in this case," Reid told Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Every year is different, I understand that, but you got to take the momentum that you finished with and build on it and continue to get better."
Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins cited how the 2006 Packers team, just like the 2011 Eagles, started 4-8 and finished the season 8-8. In 2007, the Packers went 13-3 and hosted the NFC Championship Game before losing in overtime to the New York Giants.
Reid has good reason to believe that the Eagles can bounce back from last year's .500 season. Reid has missed the playoffs on just three other occasions during his 13-year tenure as Eagles head coach. In each of the three years following non-playoff campaigns, however, the Eagles not only made the playoffs, but won at least one game.
From a roster standpoint, here's how Reid evaluated his squad going into the draft:
- At quarterback, Reid stressed the need for quarterback Michael Vick to remain healthy for the entire season. Vick has missed three games in each of the past two seasons. Reid also declared that Mike Kafka will be the No. 2 quarterback going into the post-draft mini-camps.
- At running back, Reid acknowledged that he might lessen the load on running back LeSean McCoy to increase his shelf life. On Tuesday, general manager Howie Roseman showered a lot of praise on second-year running back Dion Lewis, who rushed for a career-best 58 yards and a touchdown in the season finale against Washington.
Reid also said that the team will start working on a long-term extension for McCoy. McLane has reported that the Eagles have been negotiating with McCoy since last season.
- At wide receiver, Reid intimated that the Eagles are not interested in adding free agent Plaxico Burress saying, "Right now, that's not where we're at."
- Along the offensive line, Reid said that he hasn't had this much confidence in the starting five since the days of bookend tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan. The Eagles were 5-1 in 2011 (yes, 5-1!) when the team had its starting five offensive linemen and quarterback Michael Vick on the field.
- Reid and Roseman continue to have high hopes for defensive end Brandon Graham, who struggled to get on the field in 2011 after suffering a knee injury in 2010. "He's healthy now. We're expecting a good season from him," Reid said.
- In the middle of the defense, Reid admitted that he expected the young linebackers and safeties to develop quicker than they did but they "ended up being OK" by the end of the season. Nonetheless, the acquisition of middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans has instantly improved the middle of the defense.
- Reid would not say whether any of the team's cornerbacks are on the trading block, as had been reported. He simply said that the Eagles are in "a pretty good situation" there.
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