Expectations for 2009 Philadelphia Eagles: Super Bowl or Bust

By PFC Eagles Writer Bob Cunnigham

Whether it’s Clark Judge, Pete Prisco, Todd McShay, or any other of the “experts” talking about this crazy post-draft world we live in today, the answer is universally the same when talking about the Philadelphia Eagles.
A, Great, A+, Outstanding, Grand, Wonderful, Stupendous even!

Well, isn’t that just peachy.

Unfortunately, only a couple of weeks removed from the draft, those grades mean absolutely nothing. As far as that goes, grading last year’s draft doesn’t even make sense yet.

However, with the draft being the spectacle that it has become, everyone wants their fill of it right away, so grading the drafts of all 32 teams gives fans something to read and take their minds off of the fact that the season is still four months away.

Yes, four long months. But I digress.

The draft has just gone further to up the expectations of the Eagles in 2009. While the expectations are always high, this season seems to be higher than they have ever been since 2004.

Like 2004, the Eagles made a fairly large splash in free agency. Well, they didn’t really sign a big-time free agent, but they did trade for arguably the best left tackle in all of football in Jason Peters.

2008 was an aberration. I think that’s fairly obvious to anyone who’s not either A) a Cowboys fan, B) a Giants fan, C) a Redskins fan, or D) a delusional Bills fan. I don’t know about the “sacks given up” stat, that’s one of the most unreliable stats I’ve ever heard.

Whoever is keeping that stat has no idea whether he blew his assignment, or maybe the fullback/running back didn’t do his job, or the receiver/tight end was supposed to come down or anything else. So throw that stat out the window.

Based on size and athleticism, he’s the best in football.

They also signed Leonard Weaver, Sean Jones, and traded for Ellis Hobbs; All guys who could very well find themselves starting in ’09, with Weaver all but a lock.

Group that together with this supposedly wonderful draft and you’ve got a nation of NFL fans who are ready to proclaim the Eagles as the favorites in not only the NFC East, but the NFC and maybe winning the whole thing.

All I’m saying Philly, is put on the brakes just a bit.

Proclaiming a Super Bowl favorite is something everyone loves to do because you can look like a genius if you’re right, but not get called out on it if you called the Bengals to win it all last season. So, everyone does it.

The thing with the Eagles is that they’re obviously a talented, and fairly stacked team. However, there are a lot of question marks that seem to be taken for granted. I’m not innocent either. It’s hard not to get caught up in it all.

That said, let’s take a look at some of the questions facing the ’09 version of the Philadelphia Eagles:

* Can Jason Peters play up to his talent this year?
* Will Shawn Andrews be healthy and in the right frame of mind?
* Will Stacy Andrews be healthy on that repaired knee?
* Can Westbrook produce at 30 years old? He’s been banged up.
* Can the rookies contribute immediately to help the team?
* Will Andy Reid run the ball more now that he has Weaver at FB?
* How will Sheldon Brown play in his current situation?
* Will Kevin Curtis stay healthy?
* Can DeSean Jackson avoid having a sophomore slump?
* Will DC Jim Johnson’s health hold up throughout the season?

This is only a taste of some of the difficulties facing this team for the upcoming year, and questions that will need to be answered before anyone can pencil the Eagles in as the NFC contenders this year.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of competition. The Giants, Cardinals, Panthers, Falcons, Bears, and Vikings are all teams within the conference that have bettered themselves this offseason. Just the same way the Eagles have.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe the Eagles should contend. I believe they will contend. The only problem is the parity in the NFL will never allow for there to be a clear-cut favorite.

While the Eagles have, or should have, what it takes to go deep into the playoffs and perhaps (fingers crossed) the promised land that is the Super Bowl, anything can go wrong in an instant.

Ask a fan of the Patriots (unless you haven’t forgiven Super Bowl XXXIX quite yet). They got to experience the uncertainty of the NFL first-hand.

The NFL is a guessing game mixed with a whole lot of luck. Things will need to fall into place at just the right time to get something going in order to get that Lombardi into a case in the Linc.

I don’t make predictions, but what I will say is that if this rookie class contributes and barring any serious injury to anyone, the Philadelphia Eagles may just be parading around Broad Street come February.