The Philadelphia Eagles do it the right way.
Over the last month, from fans to players to front office executives', football enthusiasts have been gorging over the return of the most exciting professional sport, the NFL.
The lockout had us on the edge of our seats, waiting (and praying) that our glorious game would be returned to us. For true Philadelphia Eagles fans, it was returned, in a monumental fashion.
Anyone who follows the game has seen what the Eagles have done. The Philly fans love it, while we have cut slack, and added more than a handful of Pro Bowl players to our roster. Even down to the coaches. Head Coach Andy Reid needs no introduction, but the new defensive coordinator, might.
Juan Castillo, brings an abundance of energy to the practice field, while keeping players motivated and working hard. He has made the transition from O-Line coach to DC, and had many worried when this move was made pre-lockout. To our surprise, we find he has plenty of defensive experience, and has simplified things enabling our athletes to play aggresive, fast football. The former collegiate linebacker has his passion matched by new D-Line coach, the well-known and respected Jim Washburn. Coach "Wash" has an in-your-face, push you until you give your all mentality. Its working, too-the Eagles first pre-season game featured 6 sacks-all from the D-Line. Wash's Wide-9 scheme is best utilized in Philly because of our new Big 3 in the secondary. The Line can pressure the QB at all times, with lockdown coverage in the backend.
Another exellent addition to the staff was former Peyton Manning protector, O-Line coach Howard Mudd. Mudd is another in-your-face type that Philadelphia needs, forcing players to play well while keeping the them focused on fundamentals. Coach Mudd is the perfect fit for Michel Vick because he likes to use smaller, athletic lineman as opposed to former years in Philadelphia. This scheme will help Vick because not only did we sign and draft quality O-Linemen this year, but with his scramble ability, the line will be able to keep Mike protected in the pocket, and out of it.
Now, to the players.
It would take far too long to sit here and name every player the Eagles have signed, but it should be understood how it all worked out in our favor. The Eagles do not traditionally go out and spend a bunch of money. All of their playmakers, aside from Vick have been drafted over the past 5 years. The defensive side of the ball has not had the strongest draft class over any of those drafts that brought in Jackson, Maclin, Celek, McCoy, etc., but has brought in some very good players such as Mike Patterson, T Cole, Nate Allen and hopefully Casey Matthews.
The Eagles last year were 11-5 with a first round exit to the soon-to-be Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. The defense and O-line were the obvious holes, we needed depth at Corner, LB, D-Line and some major help on Vick's blind side of the line. We got all. And then some.
Howie Roseman and the staff were very smart with their approach, having a lot of money to play with (again, the Eagles have saved quite a bit in past years), and a lot of time to make a plan in the locked out offseason, and as soon as teams were able to make moves, the Eagles came in and got it done. People that are not a fan of the Eagles "Miami Heat" approach, or fans just wondering how we did it, you have to look at the facts. The average age for the players we signed is 30. Nnamdi, Jenkins, and Babin, are all 30. Jenkins, Hargrove, Ronnie Brown, Steve Smith, Ryan Haris, Vince Young (while some are not 30), all were signed to 1 year deals. It is almost as if they came to the eagles with the hopes they can prove themselves this year, following this offseason's over-saturated market, and hope for big contracts with other teams or the Eagles next year.
With the Eagles in a win now mode, they gave their team the best possible chance to do so, loading up with experienced verterans, 7 pro bowlers, a strong draft class all while having arguably the deadliest offense in the NFL.
The Eagles QB had dreams of being a starter again, and the Eagles took a chance on Michael Vick, and now, everyone wants to play with him.
Maybe this year Philadelphia's "Dream" will be answered.