Last week, we did the defense.
And today, here are five thoughts on the Eagles' offense:
1. In the defensive observations, I wrote about how the Eagles would likely expect contributions from at least three rookies. On offense, that's not the case. In fact, I'm not sure they'll get significant contributions from any of their rookies. Last year, the Birds counted on first-year players LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin. This year, who are the candidates to even get on the field? Riley Cooper has a shot in a specialized role, but Hank Baskett still has a leg up on the fourth receiver spot. Tight end Clay Harbor might be the most likely to get playing time. If Brent Celek or Cornelius Ingram get injured, Harbor would see the field. I still think Ingram will beat him out for the backup spot though.
2. When I talk to friends or fans from other cities, the questions I get are always about Kevin Kolb. He is the guy the 2010 season is about. It was interesting hearing Jason Avant talk about the difference between Kolb and Donovan McNabb. This is going to be an adjustment period, but it'll be fun to observe which aspects of the passing game are different. Will the Eagles turn the ball over more? Probably. Will they pick up more yards after the catch? They hope so. What about drops? Less throws down the field? Will receivers find that Kolb throws a more catchable ball? I don't have answers, but there are so many little things like these to keep an eye on.
3. I think I like the Mike Bell signing more now than I did a few months ago. He looks pretty comfortable catching the football. He seems content to be part of a running back rotation and willing to do the different things the Eagles ask out of that position. Yahoo recently ranked the Eagles' running attack the worst in the NFL, but isn't it an improvement over last season? LeSean McCoy and Leonard Weaver now have had a year in the system. And Bell, if healthy, provides another option they didn't have last year when Brian Westbrook played in just eight games. Not saying they had a world-class run game last season, but IF things work out, this area should actually be an upgrade.
4. You're tired of me saying this if you read MTC frequently, but Stacy Andrews is the key cog in the Eagles' offensive line. I'm in "show-me" mode with Andrews. If you catch me writing about how good he looks at Lehigh or how confident he sounds, please call me out. I need to see Andrews get the job done at right guard in a regular-season game. Until that happens, the position a huge question mark. Of course, if Todd Herremans' injury is more serious than the team is letting on, or if Nick Cole shows no signs of being helped by an offseason at center, we will surely have to revisit this topic of biggest O-line concern.
5. And finally, the guy I want to see at training camp is Ingram. The Eagles need a No. 2 tight end who can play. Last year, Alex Smith was added and used mostly as a blocker, even though he didn't really excel in that role. If Celek goes down, the coaches need to be confident that Ingram can step in. Even when Celek's healthy, the Birds have packages for two tight ends. And with Ingram, they can get creative in how they get him on the field. Hopefully he can stay healthy so we can see what kind of contributions he can make.
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