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The 2007 Lines

As the men in Midnight Green prepare to launch another promising season this Sunday at Lambeau, I'll kick around a few thoughts on the state of the Birds this 2007 season eve by reflecting on the most quotable of preseason Eagle quotes:
"It's going to be a new 100 percent," Jevon Kearse said yesterday. "It's not the 100 I used to be. It's a new 100 percent."
The defensive end position remains key for the Eagles this season as it would be nice to be able to pressure the quarterback consistently without blitzing linebackers or safeties. This was the game plan last season, but things didn't work out so well. I think Juqua Thomas might be the man to watch this season, so it's probably okay that Jevon's feeling less freakish.
"Before every game, we're going to say that the first thing we want to do is take that run away. Let the quarterbacks and the DBs decide the game." -- Broderick Bunkley
This ties in with the previous quote, and quite frankly, it scares me. Should the above M.O. go awry again this season, 5's unit will be under the gun to win shootouts aplenty. I've been content with our Gang Green defense allowing rushing yards by the bunches in the past because: a) even though opponent's running games were effective, head coaches just couldn't resist the lure of the passing game and more times than not ended up playing right into the Birds' claws; and b) we usually won 11+ games. I'm just not sold on this LB/DB crew going into the season.
Asked when he'd last returned punts, before the Eagles asked him to take a shot, (Greg) Lewis said, "Probably in a previous life."
The special teams unit was quite the toast of Philly's preseason. The Aussie punter beat out the incumbent and will be on the field goal holding hot seat. Maybe more of a concern is Mike Dorenbos' adventure at replacing a long-snapping legend. Then just this week the whirling dervish that is JR Reed has returned to return since spotlight skier Jeremy hadn't Bloomed. Oh, and there's what Greg Lewis said. Could be an adventure.
"I think the people who really understand the game really understand what an outstanding quarterback Donovan McNabb is and what he's meant to the franchise," Ron Jaworski said.
Finally, if things don't work out this year and the proverbial window suddenly slams shut on this Reid/McNabb/Dawkins version of our beloved Birds, it will have been an enjoyable ride. Donovan's not done by any means and will no doubt pick up the pieces should it be with another franchise. But it's easy to get caught up in what could happen if the team struggles. Andy Reid steps away from the game, Dawk retires, and management cuts ties to top-dollar vets, ultimately creating a starting spot for QB Kevin Kolb and his new era.

But that's all worst-case stuff and my fearless forecast for the upcoming season does not at all hint at a closing window of opportunity. I've seen guesses on the Eagles' record this season ranging from 8-8 to 10-6, but I'm ready to lap those low-balls. It looks like we've got games against 3 alleged elite teams (CHI/NE/NO), 1 pretty good team (SEA), and a lot of question marks. I say we split the 4 toughest tussles, lose once to a division rival, and one more time St. Elsewhere. That's right... Midnight Green is back to the upper echelon: 12-4.

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No love for my man, Trent Cole? Juqua is all good, but don't relent on Trent!

If JR handles both the kickoff and punt returning, I'm more comfortable with our return game.

Regardless of the season, I don't want to see ol' #5 go. But I feel the 'Birds brass is itching for a little corn on the Kolb.

You think Dawk could retire at year's end? If the 'Birds would drop him, I think he would definitely catch on with another team. I still have much faith in Lito, Sheldon and Dawk. Considine...not so much.

Eagles 11-5. Pending ol' #5 stays healthy.
Scratch my JR comment. Although I blame Big Red for that mess.

How about Trent Cole, though? Forcing the Favre fumble and setting the 'Birds up in great field position (which they promptly squandered).

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