The Eagles had just fallen in the NFC Championship Game in Arizona, and Eagles president Joe Banner uttered words that have been analyzed time and time again since. "The definition of insanity," said Banner then, "is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result."
Since then, the Eagles have taken the fraying edges of the roster and have, in effect, rebuilt without taking a major step back. And now, in part two of the roster turnover, we wait to see what the Eagles have in mind to become younger and better and deeper and more prepared to make the run we've all been waiting for.
Take a look at the roster and look at some of the ages. The wide receivers are kids. The tight end still has pimples. The running back just learned to shave. There are young Eagles throughout the roster, more on offense, and when you take a look at the plus-30-year-old Eagles on the roster, you wonder how many will return. Let's take a quick look ...
David Akers, K:He is 35 years of age, but Akers is still one of the very best kickers in the league. He thinks he has five good seasons remaining. Given how well he takes care of his body, that might not be a stretch at all.
Sheldon Brown, CB:Brown will be 31 in March, but he is in good shape physically, very durable and he takes great care of his body. A nasty hamstring injury clearly bothered him in 2009 and I worry about hammys on older players, but Brown has several good years in front of him.
Kevin Curtis, WR:Oh, is he looking forward to getting healthy. Curtis will be 32 for the 2010 season and he should still be a productive player if he can get himself healthy. Will Curtis return? Good question. He is reportedly due a roster bonus and there are questions about his return. It has been a tough two seasons for Curtis, who is a super-productive player when he is good to go.
Jon Dorenbos, LS:He turns 30 in the summer and is at the top of his game, coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance. No worries here.
Darren Howard, DE:At 34 in November, Howard is an interesting guy to watch. His production comes and goes. When he is good, Howard is really, really good. When he isn't at the top of his game, Howard doesn't see a lot of snaps. The Eagles need all the pass rushers they can have and Howard is a good player, but will he stay?
Jamaal Jackson, C:Jackson turns 30 in May, but the question with him is not his age. Can Jackson come back after that devastating knee injury suffered against the Broncos?
Donovan McNabb, QB:Ah, here is the daily question of the off-season: Does McNabb come back? He turned 34 in November but obviously has a lot of excellent football still in his right arm and his legs are fine. The non-stop questions won't, well, stop until the Eagles begin the post-draft mini-camp, I guess.
Quintin Mikell, S:Hard to believe that Mikell turns 30 in September. He played special teams for the first four seasons of his career, so he has a long way to go. Mikell is a lot better than the way he is portrayed for playing in 2009. All of that uncertainty at free safety hurt Mikell and the entire defense.
Juqua Parker, DE:Coming off a season during which he set a career high in sacks, Parker turns 31 in May. He is a workout guy, in great physical condition and Parker is going to continue to play well. I'd still like to see him in a more rotational situation, but the Eagles have yet to have that picture come clear. Defensive end is, obviously, a position to watch in this off-season.
Sav Rocca, P:Still a youngster in NFL years, Rocca turns 37 during the season. He has plenty of leg and will get better as he refines his technique under new special teams coordinator Bobby April.
Jeremiah Trotter, LB:No question Trotter wants to return, but with Stewart Bradley coming back and the Eagles perhaps revamping their linebacker corps, is there room for Trotter here? Would he fit the bill as a backup middle linebacker and a special teams player?
Michael Vick, QB:Will he be as elusive and quick at age 30 (June) as he was at 24? Probably not. But Vick has terrific speed and is going to benefit as much as anyone in the NFL by having a full off-season to prepare his body for another year. Again, though, the question is looming: Does Vick return to the Eagles in 2010?
Brian Westbrook, RB: Clearly, this is a major question because the Eagles turned the running game over to LeSean McCoy in 2009 and they know what kind of upside he has. McCoy has a chance to be a tremendous talent. Where does that leave Westbrook, one of the greatest to ever play as an Eagle? We'll get clarity on that when the Eagles sit down and really hash out their plan for 2010.
Will Witherspoon, LB:Acquired in the middle of the season, Witherspoon played well for a guy who was thrown into the fray and didn't have everything down about the system. He is going to be in the mix with Akeem Jordan and Omar Gaither -- my guess, anyway -- for the starting WILL job next season. Witherspoon turns 30 in August.
So there you go. Fourteen players who of the 65 or so players on the current roster will be 30-plus during the 2010 season. Not a huge number, but there are obviously some key names among those 14. The Eagles won't bring them all back and really, would it be a surprise if most of them don't come back for next year?
Last year, the Eagles moved on from veterans Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan, Brian Dawkins, Correll Buckhalter, L.J. Smith, etc. They made major, major changes and some of those changes worked out for the better. Some, of course, did not. The point is that a generation -- in NFL terms -- is changing before our eyes. This is a two-year process, with the second half of that on the way.
The Eagles haven't stayed the same. They have made major changes, and I expect more in the reasonably near future. With that, the Eagles have a wide open window they need to get through in 2010.