NOW the games count. No more talk of managing risk. No more holding players out. Unless a team is rebuilding, finishing the year as champs, is every team’s mission. There is only one champion at the end of the year, and the 2019 – 2020 Eagles aim to claim that title. PERIOD.
So are we good enough to win it all? The simple, honest answer is: We should be.
Offensively we have the weapons to score with anyone, and I mean anyone. Rams, Chiefs, Wilt Chamberlain, whoever. We have enough skill-player talent, to stress any defense, along with enough depth to step up in case of injury. Or to keep applying the pressure when a Starter needs a breather.
The starting Offensive Line is very good, with a couple of reserves who could be starters today. Our starting QB is a problem for opponents when he’s on the field. Should he miss time however, his back-ups don’t look like they have any magic up their sleeves. That’s just as well. Realistically there are starting QB’s in the NFL who don’t have that quality. It’s lunacy to expect that from a back-up.
Our Defense is designed to slow teams down, not shut them down. It’s a bend-but-don’t-break, Wide 9 concept. It works fine, as long as our Offense can put up points early. If we’re behind, or the game is hotly contested, it’s not the most reliable system. However, as I said, we can score with anyone. Though I may not be a fan of the system, the coaching staff understands who we are, and after all it did win a Super Bowl. (While allowing a senior citizen to set the all-time passing yardage record against us.)
In my Pre-Draft Preview, I picked us to go 10 – 6 and win the NFC East. After the Draft, (I didn’t write it, but) I was thinking 13 – 3 or 14 – 2. However, after our poor use of the preseason, my official expectation holds at 10 – 6. More would be better! However, it’s hard to see more than 10 right now.
The Eagles have the weapons, but we’re liable to have “in situation” and “real game” rust, for not playing more starters during this preseason. Look, whenever a player holds out, coaches, the media, and we fans alike, all paraphrase the same line: “Nothing can simulate actual football.”
We Eagles fans can’t say that about a rival team’s holdout RB, and not apply that same logic to our own QB. That’s just being deliberately hypocritical. It’s one thing to back into hypocrisy by accident. We all do that, from time to time. It’s quite another to flagrantly cannonball into it, with eyes wide open.
Our first four games (Washington, Atlanta, Detroit, Green Bay) feature three teams (all but GB), who played their starters at least a little, in real game scenarios. We didn’t do that. If we come out rusty, or too often off-schedule, or committing endless penalties, don’t expect our opponents to let up, and go easy on us. Three of those four games (all but Washington) are games we could actually lose.
And God forbid we should see a Week One, home loss to the Redskins. Our coaching staff would have more than egg on their faces.
My point is, while we can compete with anyone talent-wise, we may be a little slow coming out of the gate. Provided that the coaching staff is right about not needing the preseason, we are plenty good enough to be champions again.
Washington will tell us a lot, in about 6 days.