Quarterback Michael Vick proved alot of critics wrong with his performance last season. This year he looks to take things one step further as he leads the Philadelphia Eagles in their quest for a Super Bowl Championship.
Free Agency Update
Nnamdi Asomugha is now in Philly. He will combine forces with Dominique Cromartie and Asante Samuel, giving the Eagles 3 Pro Bowlers in their secondary alone. Having also signed rookie linebacker Terence Thomas of Villanova, it is clear that the Eagles defencive unit will quickly become one of the most dangerous defenses in the league. Thomas recorded 17.5 sacks last season and forced 6 fumbles, meaning offensive coordinators will think twice before calling passing plays against this D.
After a poor start to his career, the Eagles have decided to bring in Vince Young to replace Kevin Kolb. Vick looks to take Young (28 years old) under his wing and to help shape him into his backup. Vick is always prone to injury, and Young will have to take to the field this season at some point to lead this team.
One of the big sports stories in 2010 was the return
of Michael Vick to a place of prominence in the NFL. And while the majority of
people in the nation will never
forgive Vick for operating a heinous dog fighting ring, he did at least
reestablish himself as one of the premier quarterbacks in the league, in his
second year out of prison.
Vick began the year as a backup, but took over in
Week 1 when Kevin Kolb was hurt and never looked back. He finished with the
best statistical season of his eight year career throwing for 3,018 yards with
21 touchdowns and just six interceptions for a QB rating of 100.2.
rushed for 676 yards and nine touchdowns and was named to his fourth Pro-Bowl
game. Wisely the Eagles slapped the franchise tag on him meaning he’ll be under
contract in the 2011 campaign at the average salary of the five highest-paid
quarterbacks in the league.
With Vick at the helm, the Philadelphia Eagles ranked in the
Top 10 in every major offensive category. The Eagles were second in the league
in total yards per game (389.4), third in scoring (27.4), fifth in rushing
(145.2) and ninth in passing (244.1).
Vick had plenty of weapons at his
disposal too. LeSean McCoy rushed for 1,080 yards and seven touchdowns and also
had 78 receptions for an additional 592 yards. DeSean Jackson averaged a
whopping 22.5 yards per catch last year with 47 grabs and 1,056 yards. His biggest play in a year filled with
plenty of them came on December 12 against the Cowboys when he and Vick
combined on a 91-yard TD pass.
Once a new labor deal is reached and the lockout is
lifted, teams will be allowed to make trades and sign free agents. Philadelphia
figures to be busy in all areas of the operation as they look to shore up a
defensive unit that was 21st in the league in points allowed (23.6)
and 15th in both passing yards (216.9) and rushing yards (110.4).
The Eagles 2011 draft was given a grade of C by most
experts. Philadelphia took Baylor offensive guard Danny Watkins with their
first round pick. Their next three picks were spent on defense with the most intriguing selection being that of
Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews who was taken in Round 4. His brother is Packers
All-Pro LB Clay Matthews and while he lacks the size and speed of his older
sibling, he’s got the great bloodlines and could be an immediate starter.
Among the highlights of the Eagles 2011-2012
schedule are home games against the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. Bodog has New England at 7/1 to win the NFL title while the Jets
are lined at 14/1. The road schedule is considerably softer with St. Louis
(40/1), Miami (50/1), Seattle (80/1) and Buffalo (100/1) on the slate. Philly
will make one Monday night appearance this season when they face the Chicago Bears on
A few sportsbooks have released lines for Week 1 of the
regular season. Whether it’s inside information or just wishful thinking, NFL
fans I’ve talked to will take anything
at this point even spreads and totals that haven’t been adjusted for injuries,
trades or free agent signings. The Eagles kickoff the season in St. Louis on
September 11 at 1:00 PM ET and have been installed as -4 point favorites with
the total at 47.5.
Philadelphia (10-6 SU
& 7-9 ATS) won the NFC East only to lose in the first-round of the playoffs
to the eventual Super Bowl champion Packers 21-16. They should reach
double-digits in victories against this season but I’ve still got them pegged
as a fringe team.
By that I mean
they’re not quite as good as the Packers, Patriots and Steelers but are better
than the Giants and Bears. Philadelphia is a 16/1 choice to capture Super Bowl
XLVI, 7/1 to win the NFC and 3/2 to take the NFC East.