Friday, August 3, 2012

2012 NFL PREVIEW - Philadelphia Eagles


2011 Record: 8-8-0 (2nd in NFC  East) 


Key Additions: LB DeMeco Ryans; OL Demetress Bell

Key Losses: CB Asante Samuel; WR Steve Smith; RB Ronnie Brown; QB Vince Young; FB Owen Schmitt; OL Jamaal Jackson; OL Winston Justice; DL Trevor Laws, DL Juqua Parker

Offense: The offense begins and ends with quarterback Michael Vick, who passed for 3,303 yards and 18 touchdowns with 14 interceptions while missing action once again due to various injuries. Vick also ran for 589 yards and scored a touchdown.
The backups for Vick will be different this season as Vince Young was let go during the off-season and veteran Trent Edwards was brought in along with Nick Foles, a third round draft pick from Arizona.
The running game features LeSean McCoy (1,309 yards with 17 touchdowns and 4.8 ypc average in 2011) once again who along with Vick, forms a solid running game. The backup is Dion Lewis and the fullback is Stanley Havili.
The passing game has a number of weapons for Vick to choose from in wide outs DeSean Jackson (58 catches, 961 yards, four TD), Jeremy Maclin (63, 859, five TD), Jason Avant (52, 679, one TD) and tight end Brent Celek, who made 62 grabs for 811 yards and five touchdowns. Riley Cooper and Clay Harbor (TE) also can fill in when needed.
 The offensive line has center Jason Kelce, guards Evan Mathis and Danny Watkins and tackles Todd Herremans and Demetress Bell, who joins the team this year via free agency.
Philadelphia finished fourth in total offense a year ago, averaging 399 yards per game, including 257 yards passing per game along with 142 rushing yards per game.

Defense: This unit went through a lot of transition a year ago as Head Coach Andy Reid installed a new defensive coordinator and it showed through most of the season as the team was torched for 30-plus points five times.
Up front in the 4-3 look are tackles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson along with ends Trent Cole (11 QB sacks) and Justin Babin, who led the team with 18 sacks.
Rookie first round pick Fletcher Cox (Mississippi State) will get a chance to play along with fellow tackle Antonio Dixon and ends Brandon Graham and Darryl Tapp.
The linebacking unit will have DeMeco Ryans (free agent signing from Houston) in the middle and outside backers Brian Rolle and rookie Mychael Kendricks (California). Akeem Jordan, Casey Matthews and Jamar Chaney (three interceptions) are capable backups.
The secondary was supposed to set the league on fire a year ago, but that was not the case and the Eagles let cornerback Asante Samuel leave for Atlanta in the off-season. However, they still have Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha around and they are very good. The safeties are Kurt Coleman (four picks to lead the team) and Nate Allen.
The Eagles defense ranked eighth overall a year ago, allowing 324 yards per game while getting 50 QB sacks, which was tied for first in the league along with Minnesota. The run defense allowed 112 yards per game (16th in NFL) while giving up 212 yards passing, which ranked 10th overall. The team had only 15 interceptions for the season and that has to improve, given the talent in the secondary.

OUTLOOK: The Eagles know the pressure will be on from the opening kickoff after seeing their division rival, the New York Giants, win another Super Bowl while they missed out on the playoffs.
Vick has to stay healthy and if McCoy can duplicate the numbers he put up a year ago (including 20 total touchdowns), the Eagles should soar on offense once again. The receiving corps is deep and the line does a decent job protecting Vick and opening holes for the running backs.
The turnovers killed this team a year ago as the Eagles were a minus-14 in that area. Too many fumbles (13) and interceptions (25) helped to spell doom in 2011.
The defense did show improvement as the season went along and with Ryans now manning the middle linebacker spot, the Eagles feel they will continue to get better defensively with the plethora of talent on their defense.
The division they play in is strong and if the Eagles can avoid the turnovers they amassed last season, there is no reason to believe they cannot win the division and get back to the post-season. An 11-5 finish looks to be in  order.
How far the Eagles can go from there will rest with Vick and company and the defense doing their part to ensure a deep playoff run. Because as the league playoffs have shown is recent years, anything can happen once the playoffs start.

Week 1- at Cleveland
Week 2- vs. Baltimore
Week 3- at Arizona
Week 4- vs. NY Giants
Week 5- at Pittsburgh
Week 6- vs. Detroit
Week 7- BYE
Week 8- vs. Atlanta
Week 9- at New Orleans
Week 10- vs. Dallas
Week 11- at Washington
Week 12- vs. Carolina
Week 13- at Dallas
Week 14- at Tampa Bay
Week 15- vs. Cincinnati
Week 16- vs. Washington
Week 17- at NY Giants

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