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SCOUT'S HONOR: Scouting the Eagles

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Offense

A very sound philosophy allowed the to remain afloat without do-it-all QB last season. But McNabb is what makes the potentially special. He makes so many things happen with his feet and resourcefulness. Creating more consistency through the passing game is now the next step. is emerging as a playmaker at WR and rookie will provide more athleticism from the tight end position. shows signs of finding his place within Andy Reid¿s offense, and I really like the potential of rookie . Smith and McMullen could provide a much needed boost inside the redzone. The offensive line remains strong, although tackles and must maximize their ability after some bouts of inconsistency last season. Reid will also be looking for answers in the run game ¿ specifically regarding whether Correll Buckhalter (injured in all of 2002) is their long-term answer.

Defense

Losing a pass rusher like is a huge loss to any defense, but the have a young group of perimeter players who can bring a lot of speed off the edge. The question is whether they are ready to make that happen this season. must rebound quickly from a broken foot that robbed a year of his development. Rookie has natural upfield ability that must be honed. Watch out for as a sleeper. Kalu has outstanding upfield burst and could produce solid numbers if he doesn¿t wear down. may not provide the consistency of Shaun Barber on the weakside, but Wayne is a very active and aggressive linebacker. And MLB is a smart defender with a good motor. His blue-collar attitude will grow on the . The secondary has a tweaked look. could emerge as an impact performer at strong safety. A lot of their success in recent years has been their ability to matchup with three excellent cornerbacks. played a big role for the as the third corner. That makes it critical for either or to emerge as consistent nickel defenders.

Special Teams

Letting go to the was a tough move. His intangibles will be the toughest for the to replace. has potential to be a younger Mitchell, but providing that dependability is a lot to ask from a second-year player.

Coaching

The have one of the top five coaching staffs in the NFL. Andy Reid is one of the most organized leaders in the league. They have outstanding assistants such as Brad Childress, Jim Johnson, Tommy Brasher, Jim Harbaugh and Ron Rivera. Adding fired ¿ coach Marty Mornhinweg to the mix is really a steal. Although his tenure as a head coach in Detroit wasn¿t successful, he was a solid assistant with San Francisco and Green Bay.

The Bottom Line

Look for the to win more games than most people expect. It¿s going to be awfully difficult to make it to the NFC Championship game again, but they¿ll be in the mix. Like I said last season when went down, they still have 52 other players and a very stable organization. A strong core remains with younger prospects possessing upside.
Tagged: Packers, Giants, Eagles, Jaguars, Mark Simoneau, Al Harris, Donovan McNabb, Freddie Mitchell, Derrick Burgess, Correll Buckhalter, Tra Thomas, Hugh Douglas, Jon Runyan, Lito Sheppard, Michael Lewis, Sheldon Brown, Brian Westbrook, L.J. Smith, Billy McMullen

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