What they're saying about the Eagles
Are national writers predicting a postseason berth for the Eagles? How are Jason Babin and Lito Sheppard adjusting to their new teams? Here's a roundup of some links and notes.
What they're saying about the Eagles
Sheil Kapadia, Philly.com
It's only late June, but that hasn't stopped the national media from making predictions about the 2010 season.
Here's a roundup of links and what they're saying about the Eagles.
NFL.com's Vic Carucci predicts division winners and has the Cowboys taking the NFC East. He says the Giants will be Dallas' strongest competition. What about the Eagles?
Without McNabb, the Eagles suddenly look vulnerable. Kevin Kolb could eventually prove to be an outstanding replacement, but the fact he only has two career NFL starts is likely to be a problem. So is the fact Eagles coach Andy Reid will be relying on plenty of other young players.
Houston Texans offensive lineman Eric Winston would agree with Carucci. Winston pinch-hit for Peter King as Monday Morning Quarterback this week on SI.com. Here are the teams Winston has going to the postseason in the NFC: Cowboys, Vikings, Saints, 49ers, Packers, Falcons.
But Winston's got some love for the Eagles:
Philadelphia was hard to leave off but first-time starter Kevin Kolb will have his hands full. I got to know Kevin my first couple years in Houston when he was lighting up the scoreboard for the Cougars, and I like his mental makeup. I don't think the notorious Philly media and fans will bother him as much as people think it will. The NFC East simply will be tough sledding. They are all going to knock each other around this year.
Give Winston some credit for making predictions. In general, it's extremely rare for current players to do that sort of thing. He left the Jaguars and Titans off his list of playoff teams and will have to face each of those squads twice this season.
One guy who's not counting the Eagles out is CBSSports.com's Clark Judge. Judge says the NFC East is the strongest division in football and warns readers not to underestimate Andy Reid:
I don't know what to make of Philadelphia, either, other than I would never, ever, ever, underestimate Reid. Two years ago disgruntled fans and irate talk-radio hosts wanted to run him and McNabb out of town after a listless midseason tie with Cincinnati. But Reid and McNabb didn't go away, and neither did the Eagles, reaching the playoffs and making it to the conference championship game for the fifth time in eight seasons.
Let's catch up with some former Eagles who now have new homes, starting with defensive end Jason Babin.
Babin signed with the Titans this offseason and seems to be content with his decision.
"I think the biggest thing here is just that I'm getting coached,'' Babin told The Tennessean. "In Seattle, they didn't want me, didn't coach me, didn't talk to me. Here, I'm wanted. I'm getting coached. (Washburn) tells me what I need to work on and boom, boom, boom, it works.''
Babin didn't take any jabs at the Eagles in the article, and he really would have no reason to. The Birds gave him a shot last August when he was without a team and his NFL career was at a crossroads. He worked his way on to the roster, into the D-line rotation and now has extended his career. It'll be interesting to see how the Titans use him and what kind of success he has there. His teammates better get ready for some training camp skirmishes. Babin was in the middle of quite a few of those at Lehigh last summer.
And finally, Mr. Lito Sheppard. Hard to believe it was just a couple offseasons ago that the Eagles dealt him to the Jets. Sheppard spent one bad season in New York before being released and signing with the Vikings. Minnesota's system has more similarities to the Eagles' system, and former Birds assistant Leslie Frazier is the defensive coordinator there.
"I think I’m about 80-85 percent in the system right now as far as the different techniques and what I needed to work on to make that transition," Sheppard told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "I feel comfortable with my progress at this point, but there’s still a lot of work to be done and I’m looking forward to it."
Hard to believe Lito's only 29. Seems like he's been in the league for 15 years.