Our Guest Contributor, Langley McGhee, hails from the DMV area (DC, MD & VA). Fairly new to the sports journalism “arena”, he has been an avid follower of all major sports for most of his life. As the “go-to guy” on all things sports amongst friends, family and co-workers, he enjoys the ability to connect to fans, near and far, through writing. When not talking or writing about sports, he’s a tech-geek (Systems Administrator) that loves spending time with his son.
Excitement and hope seem to surround the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles. Many NFL analysts, and even Las Vegas oddsmakers, have ranked them among the top five-to-ten teams that may reach the Super Bowl this season. Andy Reid and company began this offseason by getting back to the basics that once defined Reid’s Eagles tenure. They began with in-house signings to lock up the core of the Eagles players for many seasons to come. A bit of bad news for the Eagles this offseason was the unfortunate injury of one of the best OTs from 2011, LT Jason Peters. He will be replaced by OT Demetress Bell, a solid OL that replaced Peters when he departed the Buffalo Bills for the Eagles. They also strengthened the defense’s coaching staff with the hire of, well-known and respected, Todd Bowles as secondary coach. Then the Eagles went out and, by all accounts, had an outstanding 2012 draft which may produce three news starters to this defense that began to find their groove late last season. Some impressive front-office moves include promoting player-friendly Howie Roseman to GM over hard-nosed Joe Banner. While this move may not show dividends immediately, it bodes very well for the future of this franchise. With all this excitement surrounding the 2012 Eagles, what is an Eagles fan to do? Let the 2011 season guide you to stay humble; because offseason buzz does not always translate to hoisting that ever-elusive Lombardi Trophy at season’s end. Here is more on the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles.
Fantasy Football Studs: The Philadelphia Eagles are becoming fairly accustomed to having a plethora of quality fantasy football players on their roster. In 2012 the tradition continues with basically the same cast of characters as in 2011. RB LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing touchdowns last season and is primed for another huge year. WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are pretty much interchangeable at the fantasy WR position, and should be considered as starters as they both project for good 2012 campaigns. QB Michael Vick, despite some hesitation, will produce good enough fantasy numbers. Still, prepare with a quality back QB in case of injury, or erratic play. A sleeper for the Eagles is TE Brent Celek, who may get more opportunities this season if he gets less blocking assignments. The Eagles defense, on paper, looks like a surefire lock to rack up fantasy points. On paper! With a young kicker, punter and unnamed return specialist, the Eagles special teams may be one to watch before you decide to draft.
Areas of Strengths: The Eagles return with (mostly) one of the better OLs in the NFL . They also boast, arguably, the best RB in the league (McCoy). The starting WRs (Maclin and Jackson) are consistently good (when paid) and should continue to be a headache for opposing defensive coordinators. I hesitate to name the starting QB (Vick) as a strength for this Eagles team, but we all know what Vick can do when he is focused and locked-in. The widely acclaimed DL is back (Cole, Babin & Jenkins) and may have even added some studs (Cox, Graham & Curry) to make them even deeper than last season…scary. The CBs (Asomugha & Rodgers-Cromartie) seem poised to step up and lock onto opposing WRs all game long. With the departure of CB Asante Samuel, let the man-coverage begin! Finally, it appears that a rookie CB (Boykin) stands to unseat the veteran nickel CB (Hanson) to add more speed and athleticism.
Areas of Weakness: Backup QB looks to be a sore spot along the Eagles roster. Armed with only a rookie (Foles), mostly unproven 3rd year player (Kafka) and a fairly unproductive veteran (Edwards) the Eagles may be setting themselves up for failure in the case of a widely expected Vick injury. The backup RB position bodes only a little better as the only question is can the unproven, young guys (Lewis, Brown & Polk) spell McCoy throughout the season. The Eagles LBs, while heralded with the additions of MLB DeMeco Ryans and 2012 2nd rounder OLB Mychal Kendricks, are still unproven and remain a weakness until further notice. The Eagles safeties are a little questionable at best. One of the safety spots seems secure with the veteran S Nate Allen, but the other spot is seemingly up for grabs with FS Kurt Coleman as the assumed favorite. Such as with the LBs, this position will remain a weakness until further notice. While the STs as a whole look fairly solid, the positions of KR/PR are still up for competition. DeSean Jackson is an outstanding PR but as a starting WR his PR duties will undoubtedly be limited. If the Eagles can fill in these two slots with players that produce consistently, this weakness may just turn out to be a strength.
2012 Marquee Matchups: In week two, the 2012 Eagles will receive a visit from the AFC perennial powerhouse Baltimore Ravens (LeSean McCoy vs. Ray Rice). Week 5 presents an enormous challenge for the Eagles as they travel across the state to take on the fierce Pittsburgh Steelers in what should be a slugfest (Vick vs. Roethlisberger, PHI defense vs. PIT defense). The following week presents another challenge with the young and coming Detroit Lions coming to Philly to prove they belong in the NFC powerhouse conversation (NFC upstart vs. NFC prominence). In week 9, the New Orleans Saints come marching into town with Drew Brees and their high-octane offense (Vick vs. Brees, NFC powerhouse vs. NFC powerhouse). And of course, all NFC East matchups are must see TV (Giants, Cowboys & Redskins).
All Things Philadelphia Eagles: There are several ways to keep up with the Philadelphia Eagles…here are a few:
Apps: Android users: “Eagles Official Mobile”, “Eagles News” and “Inside The Iggles”. iPhone users: “Eagles Official Mobile” and “The Philadelphia Eagles Fan Insider”.