Vince Young's remarks put added pressure on the Philadelphia Eagles and the 'dream' could turn into a nightmare if the O-line can't protect Vick
ATLANTIC CITY — The remarks didn’t come from the same well of arrogance that defined the NBA’s Miami Heat last season. When quarterback Vince Young, whose former superstar expectations were damaged by injury and bad decisions, signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after the lockout, he looked around at all the other aggressive signings made by the Eagles brain trust, including the consensus top free agent, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, and was impressed. He was going to be playing for a “dream team.” It was a remark made by a player who was looking to catch the same redemption magic that turned Michael Vick’s career around while serving as Vick’s backup this season.
However, the “dream team” remark suddenly caught fire thanks to sportswriters, TV commentators, and social media
So the Eagles think they have a dream team do they?
The comparisons made to the silly theatrics of the Miami Heat’s dream team hype weren’t fair, and the Eagles were quick to deny that anyone thought the team was going to stroll to the Super Bowl. Coach Andy Reid told ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning, “Obviously, dreams aren’t reality, so the reality will come when I get my hands on them and we get them into practice and start grinding here like the other guys are grinding. That’s reality.”
However, once something blows up on the Internet these days, it just won’t go away. Innocent as Young’s words were, the Eagles, who did impress the rest of the NFL with their aggressive post lockout moves, will have a big target on their collective backs.
They were always going to be a solid, contending team as they have been for most of Reid’s tenure as head coach. However, there are enough concerns about this team, in particular the offense line that must protect Vick, the young, inexperienced linebackers, and the rookie kicker and punter, to make the “dream team” label a remark that should be tabled.
With the lockout causing less practice for everyone in the NFL, there is cloud of uncertainty over the entire league, and the pre-season games didn’t change that feeling of uncertainty.
With that in mind, here is how the 2011-2012 Eagles season shapes up.
Michael Vick’s blind side is the major question mark here. The Eagles’ new line coach, Howard Mudd, is working with a rookie center, Jason Kelce, who is talented but was inconsistent in pre-season. The center is in charge of calling the coverages.
Also on Vick’s blind side is rookie right guard and first round draft pick Danny Watkins, who has been shaky in the pre-season. That is the reason veteran left guard Todd Herremans will be playing right tackle. The hope is his experience will help the rookies, but he’ll be dealing with playing a new position. The left side features solid veteran Jason Peters and another new Eagle, journeyman Evan Mathis.
The Eagles recently added former Indianapolis Colt, offensive guard Kyle DeVan, who was coached by Mudd in Indy. If Kelce falters, longtime starting center Jamaal Jackson is ready to step in. Mudd is considered a miracle worker and he will have to be as the season progresses.
The rest of the offense is chock full of game changers, from Vick to wideout DeSean Jackson, running back LeSean McCoy and receiver Jeremy Maclin. Maclin has been dealing with some health issues but swears he will be ready by opening game Sept. 11.
The Eagles’ numerous excellent off-season moves also included picking up Ronnie Brown from the Dolphins as the back-up running back and with the fine pre-season delivered by special teams/RB Dion Lewis, Reid just might run the ball a little bit more.
The offense also added a solid back-up in quarterback Young. Look for tight end Brett Celek to have a breakout year, with contributions from veteran wideouts Jason Avant and former Giant Steve Smith, who will join the receiving corps when he recovers from an injury.
The biggest question mark here is rookie Casey Matthews (pictured above) at middle linebacker, who will be in charge of calling the defensive plays.
Jamar Chaney will join him at strongside linebacker and Moise Fokou at the weakside position. They just have to be competent with all the strength the Eagles have at cornerback and on the line. Look for sixth round draft pick Brian Rolle to work his way into a starting role as the season progresses.
The Eagles cornerbacks are the three aces of the defense with the consensus top free agent in the draft, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, obtained in the trade with Arizona for Kevin Kolb, joining Asante Samuel.
New defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, coming over from his offensive coordinator role, will try to have all three on the field as often as possible.
The safeties are solid with Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman. The defensive line also looks strong with plenty of sack specialists, including defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole. The Eagles also added free agent Cullen Jenkins from the Packers and Mike Patterson has apparently recovered from his seizure during training camp that put his career in jeopardy.
There are lots of cool storylines in the Big Game again, and plenty of local places that make for a fun hangout — even if you care more about the commercials than the contest itself.
Since football season started, Harry’s has been a popular place for game watching both indoors, where it feature a 40-seat bar with nine HDTV flat-screens and several adjacent cocktail tables, and an outdoor bar/patio area that’s been a hit with those who prefer al fresco football watching.
There are a lot of amateur pigskin prognosticators out there and when the football season arrives, area casinos afford numerous opportunities to cash in on your football knowledge with various “pick-the-winners” promotions.
Head coach Andy Reid and the rest of the brass hate when a certain “R” word is used to describe the 2010-11 Philadelphia Eagles. That dreaded word is “rebuilding.”
Including shots from Taste of the Quarter, Eagles Cheerleaders at Margate fundraiser, Guitar Shorty on the A.C. Boardwalk, the Atlantic City Air Show, Stevie Nicks, and more.
For $2 you get three chances to dunk the "celebrity" of your choice to benefit the United Way of Atlantic County.
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