Who’s Got Talent

Posted: June 16th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 60 Comments »

The other day Geoff Mosher, Sam, and a couple of other guys had an interesting discussion on Twitter.  Geoff was saying that the 2012 Eagles could be the most talented team of the Reid era.  Sam and the others disagreed.

I’m curious to know what you guys think.  Remember, we’re not talking about the “best” team, but the most talented.  You can judge this with Pro Bowls, players with good pedigrees, the eye test, stats…whatever you like.  I don’t think there is a definitive answer.

So here are the nominees:

2001 – Donovan, Duce, Trot, and the DBs

2002 – Donovan, Duce, Shawn Barber, Darwin Walker, and the gang

2004 – The gang plus TO, Phreak, and Westy

2006 – mixture of old and new

2008 – DeSean and Asante join the mix

2012 – Demetress Bell’s team

What the heck is it with us and even years?  Did I leave out a good year?  Again…think talent and not just results.

Who ya got?

* * * * *

Domo has a good column up.  He initially talks about Joe Banner’s cap management and how that helped the Eagles avoid the rebuilding years that so many other teams had to go through when they got into “cap hell”.  The Eagles rolled right along.

Domo also has a section on Stanley Havili and the FB situation.  Havili claims to be 248 pounds.  I’d also like to announce my engagement to Charlize Theron.  248?  I don’t think so.  Casey Matthews tells us he is 250.  You look at him and clearly see that he is bigger.  In OTA clips Havili looked about the same size as Bryce Brown, who is 225 or so.  I guess it is theoretically possible that he’s that heavy and it doesn’t show in an obvious way, but I’m not buying it.

Whether he’s 248, 240, or 238, the key for Havili is blocking.  He says he’s been working with the coaches on it.  Right now they are working on techniques since players can’t full on hit.  Havili never looked like a natural lead blocker at USC so I’ve got my concerns about how he’s going to look up at Lehigh.

You have to understand that blocking isn’t normal.  Owen Schmitt was a crazy, fearless type of player, but he wasn’t a good blocker.  Running into a brick wall is something that some players just can’t do.  Your body tells you “This is a bad idea” and you pull up, turn, hesitate…whatever.

Havili does have incentive.  The Eagles will pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to do this.  If he doesn’t do it well, he’s going from the football world to the real world.  That means no hitting, but also getting paychecks that are a tad bit smaller.

It will be interesting to see if Havili can make the transition from college FB (pass catcher, runner, occasional blocker) to NFL FB (blocker, STer, and occasional pass catcher).  The other x-factor is that he could block college defenders by simply shielding them on many plays.  That will not cut it in the NFL.  Go try to shield London Fletcher from the RB.  Let me know how that works out.

Havili has the physical gifts to be a good FB.  Is he willing to do the dirty work?  Is he willing to pay the price?

* * * * *

Jeff McLane has a story on Andy Reid going back to his high school to get an award.  The most interesting thing to me is that a lot of the kids at the school had no idea who he was.  Is that because they’re high school kids or because LA just isn’t a great NFL town?  Would the kids of Philly know who Mike Holmgren was if he came to visit a high school?

Personal aside…in 8th grade I had the football coach as my Physical Education teacher.  Mike Sheppard.  Funny guy.  He once gave bonus points to a test if you could name all the coaches in the NFL.  I’m pretty sure I was the only one in class to get them all.  Many of the girls were offended by the bonus question.  Coach Sheppard once got mad at us during gym because he thought we were being lazy.  He then told us about the Junction Boys as a way to inspire us.  Didn’t work.  The other funny thing he did was to come into class on a Monday and talk to us about hangings from the old West.  He’d seen Hang ’em High over the weekend and was fascinated by it.  The talk was interesting enough to stick with me for the last 30 years.

60 Comments on “Who’s Got Talent”

  1. 1 Anders Jensen said at 1:30 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I say this team is the most talented. Vick, Jackson, McCoy, Maclin, Celek beats out McNabb+TO on offense and the DL alone beats the 2004 defense on potential talent

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 3:42 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    There is a strong case to be made.

  3. 3 D3Keith said at 8:39 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    This year’s team has got the most *potential.* Talent-wise, they could be so good its disgusting, even without Asante and Peters. They have speed to burn, they add DeMeco behind the ridiculous DL and the draft picks upped the overall talent level.

    BUT … as good ol’ Coach McWilliams used to say, potential means you ain’t done $#!& yet.

    Of the five Eagles NFCCG teams, I think three of them clearly overachieved (2001, 2003 and 2008).

    This argument is really only 2004 vs. 2012. Maybe 2011 had as much raw talent, and they remain the prime example of why an abundance of talent =/= great football team, necessarily.

  4. 4 Cliff said at 4:41 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    Love this: “potential means you ain’t done shit yet.”

  5. 5 D3Keith said at 8:45 PM on June 18th, 2012:

    That guy was a trip. If I’d known I was going to grow up to be a writer-editor, I would have started collecting coaches’ saying in Pop Warner.

  6. 6 KillaKadafi said at 7:04 PM on June 17th, 2012:

    But it wasn’t just McNabb and TO was it? If we are talking about talent as opposed to achievement then we must include Westy, Buck, LJ, The Big Kid among others in the conversation, whether they realised their potential or not.

  7. 7 Dragon_Eagle said at 2:02 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    2004, Kearse before he blows his knee in OT in a game that never should have gone to OT; TO before he goes all TO on us; Donovan healthy; Westy – healthy; Tra, Runyan; Lito & S. Brown in their prime; and don’t forget we had J. Johnson then too. And if that doesn’t convince you, I have one word – DAWK.

    2012 might prove more talented, but this group hasn’t shown squat yet. Last year, Shady, Peters, and T. Cole were the real bright spots. Everybody else played OK or worse. Oh, cept Landry – he’s god.

  8. 8 Anders Jensen said at 2:06 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    Vick is more talented than McNabb, McCoy more talented than Westy, Jackson+Maclin is equal or better than TO+whatever. Peters alone beat the 2004 on talent. NA+DRC is more talented than Brown+Lito. Cole+Babin+Jenkins+Landri+Graham+Cox etc. is way more talented than Kearse and co. Only at safety is there a clear talent gap.

  9. 9 aerochrome2 said at 3:25 PM on June 16th, 2012:


  10. 10 D3Keith said at 9:03 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    Not sure I agree 2012 CBs are head and shoulders more talented than Sheldon and Lito in their primes, and I’m not sure I agree Peters alone > Runyan & Tra Thomas in their primes. I think the 2011 OL is probably better, but it’s not a no-brainer.

    Not even sure on talent alone McCoy is better than Westbrook

    Vick *is* more talented than McNabb … Vick is the perfect poster-boy for this discussion. All the talent in the world for a QB. If he can put forth his best season, it’s over for the rest of the league. If not, then [shudders] …

  11. 11 Anders Jensen said at 9:49 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    DRC is more talented than Lito and NA is more talented than Brown. Also Peters is the best OL in the NFL (before his injury), while Tra+John was a good combo, neither had the talent of Peters.

    If Vick plays to his talent this year he should have the greatest QB season for an Eagle.

  12. 12 D3Keith said at 9:25 PM on June 18th, 2012:

    Again, I don’t really agree.

    One ultra-talented tackle is not better than two really talented tackles.

    Don’t agree on DRC/Lito, despite DRC’s blazing 40 time. Nnamdi is a better player than Sheldon, but both their careers are the result of taking low-first-round talent and working themselves into long-time top-flight corners.

    I agree on Vick. And I think 2012 is the right answer here.

  13. 13 Cliff said at 4:44 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    Don’t know if I agree that Vick is more talented than McNabb and McCoy more talented than Westbrook.

  14. 14 Anders Jensen said at 9:41 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    Vick is the most talented QB from an athletic, arm strength point of view the last decade. Not even talents like RG3 and Newton is near him when it comes to pure talent.

    Also McCoy is way more talented as a RB than Westbrook, while Westy was more dynamic as a receiver+returner.

  15. 15 GeorgeFleep said at 2:08 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    This year team is probably the most talented. Based off the fact that i have never been this excited during the off-season. Talent just equates to potential. What brings the potential into actually happen? With the talent they have they have as much weapons as the Seal team six. But it is all about how you use those weapons. Havili could be another weapon or he might not. Either way as of now he can catch a football. As far as his weight maybe Bryce Brown is not exactly 225. Brown is probably more muscle than Havili and muscle weighs more. I am happy that Emil Ignawu or whatever his name is competeing along side Havili.

    Check this video out:
    Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha 1/19/10 on ESPN 1st&10

    It is hard to believe for me that he is already going to be 31 years old when the season starts.

    The eagles had an alignment where DRC and Marsh were on the outside while Hanson and Nnamdi were in the slot. I have also heard that Nnamdi was blitzing from this alignment. An obvious alternative to this would be Boykin is also playing the slot and Nnamdi is on the outside with Marsh on the bench. So i believe that the eagles should keep Boykin and Hanson for alignments similar to this as well as injury reasons. Hanson is not a lock to make the team like boykin is. I dont see them competing, i see them just proving what they got. Boykin could play outside if needed. DRC, Nnamdi, Marsh, Boykin, Hanson, (some developmental guy). that would be 6.

  16. 16 dukebowden said at 2:30 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I think you gotta go with 2004 over this year’s team. That squad boasted hall-of-famers in their prime on both sides of the ball (Dawkins, TO).

    Not sure we have any future inductees on the field right now. Maybe Lesean if he can somehow stay healthy enough to bank 4 or 5 more seasons like last year’s.

  17. 17 TommyLawlor said at 3:44 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    Using HOF’ers as a way to measure the team….good one. Obvious, but didn’t occur to me.

  18. 18 Anders Jensen said at 4:04 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I think the 2004 team had more top tier talent, but this years team is much more deep on talent. The 2004 team is more like this years cowboys, really great top tier talent, but not much depth

  19. 19 bdbd20 said at 10:22 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    Totally agree here. 2012 has more overall talent. But McNabb, TO, BWest, Dawk, Lito, Sheldon, Kearse, and Trott in their prime was incredible to see.

    If they had won the SB, we may have been discussing them as one of the greatest teams of all time.

  20. 20 Anders Jensen said at 9:42 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    Agree that the 2004 team was increadible, loved the McNabb-TO connection and Dawk+Trotter in there prime was punishment of RBs and receivers.

  21. 21 GeorgeFleep said at 4:56 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    Are people already forgetting about Nnamdi asomugha? And chad Hall is Hall of Fame caliber as well.

  22. 22 Dragon_Eagle said at 10:34 AM on June 21st, 2012:

    Chad Hall has nothing on Reno Mahe.

  23. 23 T_S_O_P said at 3:10 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I’d love to see a video of HS Reid kicking that 36 yard field goal. I doubt it was ‘soccer’ style.

  24. 24 TommyLawlor said at 3:45 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I guarantee there was nothing pretty about that kick.

  25. 25 Thunder_lips said at 3:15 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    So the most talented team in the Reid era is returning everyone from an 8-8 team minus an all-pro left tackle and an all pro corner back?

  26. 26 TommyLawlor said at 3:45 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    You can spin it like that.

  27. 27 D3Keith said at 9:07 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    Awful simplistic view.

    I bet you think the team that won the Super Bowl last year was the most talented team in the NFL too.

  28. 28 ACViking said at 4:19 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    Okay, outside the time frame.

    But I’ll go with the 1960 Eagles. Because they won the Birds’ last NFL title.

    And gave Vince Lombardi his only post-season loss in the process.

  29. 29 Anders Jensen said at 4:30 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    49 Eagles was extreme talented compared to the rest of NFL back then

  30. 30 mcud said at 5:24 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    2005 would be my choice, but you didn’t list them…

    Starting lineup lost guys like Derrick Burgess, Jermaine Mayberry, Corey Simon, and Mark Simoneau…but replaced them with Shawn Andrews, Bullet Adams, Hollis Thomas, and ND Kalu. Year two of Donovan/T.O., and we got a helluva lot younger with key reserves (hopefully) coming into their own like Sam Rayburn, Roderick Hood, Quentin Mikell, LJ Smith, Jamaal Jackson, and Greg Lewis (to varying results).

    Plus, look at the draft class we added:

    Mike Patterson
    Reggie Brown
    Ryan Moats (we were all terribly excited about him if memory serves)
    Todd Herremans
    Trent Cole

    2005 is my choice for most talented…and most disappointing. Last year doesn’t compare for me.

  31. 31 TommyLawlor said at 7:28 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I was curious if someone would bring up 2005. Injuries and “TO going TO” destroyed that team, not a lack of talent.

  32. 32 laeagle said at 7:25 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    First, I was blown away when I heard Andy went to Marshall. I drive by that school every day. And evidently I live in the neighborhood where he grew up. Weird.

    Most talented: definitely 2012. The way I see it, you have

    2004 Offense: McNabb, Westy, TO, Runyan, Thomas
    2012 Offense: Vick, McCoy, Jackson, Maclin, Celek, Herremans, Mathis

    McCoy and Westy even out, Vick is more talented than McNabb, Jackson and Maclin equate to one TO, the lineman even out, and there’s no equivalent to Celek. I think 2012 takes it by a bit based on Celek and Vick.

    2004 Defense: Lito, Sheldon, DAWK, Trotter, Kearse, Hugh
    2012 Defense: Asomugha, DRC, Ryans, Babin, Jenkins, Cole, plus any one of the remaining DLs is more talented than the other guys on 2004.

    2012 wins the corners, 2004 BLOWS 2012 AWAY on safety (we miss you, Dawk), LBs are a wash, and 2012 wins on DL, just by sheer numbers. Besides Kearse and Hugh, none of the other 2004 starters would even make the 2012 squad given who’s here already. Including Walker. So normally I’d say 2012 wins by a lot but Dawk is such a disturbance in the Force that this is actually a close battle. In the end, I give it to 2012 by a hair, based predominantly on depth. Cox is the wildcard here because that guy is crazy talented (as are most of our other DLs). I’m not counting him too much but if I did, 2012 by a good bit.

    Again, this is based on TALENT, not results. I think there are more Pro Bowls on the 2012 squad, too. I haven’t felt this good about an Eagles team since, well, since 2004.

  33. 33 D3Keith said at 9:17 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I probably should’ve read to the bottom before I posted above, but ah well. Generally, I back this.

    Although, in defense of 2004, since you brought up Celek, I always thought L.J. Smith had as much talent as any TE in the league at getting open, but that dude had a knack for not making plays.

  34. 34 aub32 said at 9:28 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I think you’re forgetting about Chad Lewis (matches up with Celeck pretty well. Also Corey Simon would have made this team easily. Also, ’04 had a much better O line IMHO.

  35. 35 Anders Jensen said at 9:52 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I think you way overvalue Chad Lewis compared to Celek.

  36. 36 aub32 said at 11:35 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    Lewis was a better blocker and had terrific hands. Not to mention, he was a 3x pro bowler and had 1 all pro season. So I must not be the only one who overvalues him. Also Celeck has yet to make a pro bowl.

  37. 37 the guy said at 2:27 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    I don’t have an opinion on Celek vs Lewis, but the Pro Bowl is a popularity contest and not necessarily an indicator of how good a player is.

  38. 38 Anders Jensen said at 10:25 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    Celek is much better all round TE than Lewis and Celeks competition is much greater at the TE now.

  39. 39 Gregory Post said at 8:52 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    Tommy, would you rather have Vick-(Colt)McCoy-Foles or Vick-Kafka-Foles as your 3 QBs heading into the season?

  40. 40 aub32 said at 9:16 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I love this topic. I think this team definitely has the talent to compare to the ’04 team. I do think there are several names from the ’04 team that people are forgetting so I think the best way to compare the talent is by position. QB- McNabb vs. Vick. I think Vick has more talent than McNabb, but can he play up to it. McNabb also had some magic back in those days to make things happen and turned the ball over a lot less (partially due to throwing the occasional ball into the dirt. However, I feel with as much time as Vick has reportedly spent this offseason leaning from his mistakes that he will limit his TOs. Therefore, I’m going with Vick at the QB position. WRs- this is tougher than I think people realize. Sure the only name on the ’04 team was TO, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. TO had a nose for the ball. When a play broke down and McNabb was trying to make things happen, TO would break off his route and find McNabb so that he could get the ball. F. Mitchell also did this but not in so spectacular a fashion. This is where the current WR corp needs to improve. When is keeping a play alive the WRs need to find him so that he has somewhere to throw the ball instead of taking off downfield. Youth is no longer an excuse. They have played with Vick long enough to know to look back for him after 3 or 4 seconds. That said, the mix of size (Coop and McNutt) and speed (Jax and Mac) is hard to ignore. I was never a fan of Pinky and I think Mac is a much better talent; and though Jackson doesn’t compare to TO he is a unique talent IMHO and I think he’s just starting to scratch the surface. Edge to ’12. RB- This category is pretty even. Where McCoy is a better pure runner than West, Brian was a better blocker and receiver. For this category I have to look at the backups; and I like the potential of Lewis, Brown, and Polk over what we actually got out of Levens, Mahe and Buckhalter with his injuries. Another round for ’12. I’m going to rule FB a push since don’t know what we have now in Havili and the only FB that made significant contributions was Weaver and he wasn’t on either of these teams. TE- Here’s where most people seem to be forgetting the Chad Lewis & LJ Smith combo. I like Celeck, but Chad had it all. Also LJ was even more athletic that what we’ve seen from Clay thus far. ’04 takes it first matchup. OL- The loss of Peters is huge here. Without him the matchup doesn’t even seem close. Although I have a great deal of hope for the 2 young guys in the middle, they just don’t compare at this time. ’04 is back in the game. DL- The D lines compare surprisingly well. I thought the ’12 team would rake this category easily but I forgot how deep and talented the ’04 D line was (Kalu, Hugh, Simon, Kearse, Burgess, and Walker). This round could go either way, but I’m going to go with this year’s team. Since this is about talent I’m going with the scheme that will put the most talent on the field. Washburn’s rotation does just that. LB- If not for the addition of Demeco this wouldn’t even be up for discussion, however even if Trot and Ryans cancel out one another ’04 still had a much better LB core. The count is now 4-3. CB- I think this argument is similar to the WR argument. Nnamdi is clearly above anyone else in this group, but DRC is coming off two years of poor play. Also, there’s not much behind them. Marsh may not be ready and putting that much on Boykin in his rookie season may not work much better than our last 4th round draft pick who started (you know the long haired fellow that we were assured could perform out the gate at this level) The fact that both Lito & Sheldon performed at a pro bowl level and had decent backups wins ’04 this round. S- My post is getting pretty verbose so, Dawkins, enough said. With that ’04 takes the lead 5-4. I know this was a lengthy explanation, but it’s a close comparison and requires more than just an initial glance. I’d love to hear ppls thoughts. Also, for those who may be wondering ’04 would’ve also won the K battle.

  41. 41 TrentColeHamels said at 9:30 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I agree that this is the most talented team of the Reid area. This is one of those “on paper” teams that should dominate. Obviously we all want to see them go out and do it before we get really excited about them because of what happened last year… But the fact is that there are pro bowlers all over this roster.

    There are young players that have a chance to establish themselves among the league’s elite (shady / desean / maclin / drc). We also have veteran players that been to multiple pro bowls (vick / trent / babin / nnamdi / demeco). Plus a group of solid players that may not be stars but still bring a high level of talent and skill to the table (herremans / mathis / celek / jenkins / patterson). Sprinkle in a talented rookie class and some young players that have the talent, just need the seasoning (graham / watkins / kelce / n. allen) and its hard to recall another unit that “on paper” has more talent than this group.

  42. 42 JJ_Cake said at 11:54 PM on June 16th, 2012:

    I think 2012 has better talent, but 2004 had JJ as DC. 2004 was a different era almost and the Eagles were cutting edge with their approach. It’s pretty sad how we lost that SB. We were the best team. Our D choked letting deion branch look like a pro bowler. Mcnabb and LJ Smith choked on some offensive plays.

    Fast forward to Vick on the Eagles. Dude hasn’t choked for us. Gets injured, yeah, but if the O plays as well as they should, we are an elite team.

  43. 43 D3Keith said at 9:38 PM on June 18th, 2012:

    The game was scoreless until 2 minutes left before the half. If anyone choked that game away, it was the offense and their turnovers, not the D.


    The enduring memory for me from that game is McNabb throwing an INT to Asante, then having a reprieve because of a penalty, then throwing another INT to Rodney Harrison the next play. D’Oh.

    Reading the play by play from that game is depressing. Was 14-all headed into the fourth.

  44. 44 iskar36 said at 2:38 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    Am I missing something? How can people label this years team more talented than last years team? We let go of a all pro cb and our all pro lt is injured so I don’t see how you can count him as part of the 2012 squad. We did add a pro bowl caliber linebacker and Cox is certainly talented, but I don’t think they make up for Asante and Peters.

  45. 45 D3Keith said at 9:41 PM on June 18th, 2012:

    DeMeco Ryans
    Fletcher Cox
    Mychal Kendricks
    Vinny Curry
    Brandon Boykin
    Healthy Brandon Graham
    Demetress Bell

    I think it’s fair to say Ryans and Asante equal out.

    So then all we have to do is convince ourselves that Cox, Kendricks, Curry, Boykin, Graham make up the difference between Bell and Peters, and you’ve got “more talented.”

    And that’s not even acknowledging Nick Foles, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk or any of the other fringe additions.

  46. 46 the guy said at 2:39 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    With Jason Peters playing, the argument for 2012 would be a lot stronger.

    It’s a cop out, but I don’t feel like I can compare this team until the season ends. Mostly because there are a number of players that could be defined by how they play this season.

    A lot of players either haven’t reached their potential, or have yet to prove they can play at a high level for a sustained period (or both). Without even looking at the rookies, there’s: Vick, Maclin, DeSean, almost the entire O-line, D. Lewis, Cooper, Graham, Hunt, Dixon, Landri, and pretty much every LB, CB, and S.

    In a way, this reminds me of the discussion about which team had the better D-line, Giants or Eagles. Do you value concentrated star power with a proven record (Giants and 2004/2005) or roster depth and potential talent (Eagles and 2011/12)? Right now, I have to go with stars who won big and hope this season changes my mind.

  47. 47 D3Keith said at 9:41 PM on June 18th, 2012:

    I agree it’s a cop out 🙂

  48. 48 EJ said at 8:19 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    I always liked the 2004 team with McNabb, TO, Westbrook, and JJ’s defense. But I think this 2012 team has the potential to be more talented. BUT, some of that talent didn’t look too good last year, like Vick, D-Jax, Maclin, Asomugha, Nate Allen. If they all play up to their potential this year, then this 2012 team is the most talented.

  49. 49 Kristopher Cebula said at 10:28 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    there was definitely a lot of talent on the 2004 team but i feel like this team is a lot deeper. we may not have a safety like dawk or a wr like TO, but i feel like we have better talent across the board

  50. 50 austinfan said at 10:42 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    Even with Peters out, I think this might POTENTIALLY be the most talented team of the Reid era:

    QB: I’d take Vick over McNabb, except for McNabb in 2003-2004, and Vick has a chance to surpass that. Vick is 61% and almost 8 YPA his first two years, 39-20. McNabb only matched those numbers in 2004 and 2009. Vick still has his legs, and with a full offseason could take his game up another notch. Physically, Vick is more talented, quicker release, more accurate, more dangerous runner, but 6’0 v 6’3 is a legitimate issue.

    RB: Shady is almost as good as Westbrook at his peak (2006-2007), but Westbrook was a far more dangerous receiver, though not nearly as good of a runner. Since Westbrook caught nearly 100 balls a year, that gives him a slight edge. But when he was at his peak, the rest of the team wasn’t. 2004 Westbrook was a role player.

    WR: As good as TO was the first 7 games of 2004, much of that was surprise, the rest of the year he only caught 50% of throws (same in 2005 before he imploded) because teams realized he was the only dangerous weapon and doubled him on every play. Riley Cooper was almost as productive in the 3 games he started (240 yards, or 1280 pace) because he had DeSean on the other side (i.e., single coverage). That shows you the depth of this group.

    TE: Celek is the best TE the Eagles have had, he’s Chad Lewis with more strength and athleticism. Harbor may struggle a little as a receiver, but he’s become a better blocker than LJ.

    OL: Bell is the question mark, can he approach Tra (very good pass block, mediocre run block) in his prime? Mathis is the best LG of the Eagle era, more athletic than Welbourn and Herremans, though not as physical (2004, Hicks, Fraley were mediocre). Kelce wasn’t better than JJ or Fraley, but that was as a rookie, if he improves, he could be this year. Same with Watkins, who physically matches up with Mayberry. Herremans v Runyan is interesting, Runyan was a bit more physical, but a limited athlete (Strahan gave him fits). As a unit, this is close to the best, with a healthy Peters, easily the best. And of course, the Mudd Wizard.

    DL: 2001 was the best group with Whiting – Hollis – Simon – Douglas, Burgess, Grasmanis off the bench, if this group had stayed healthy, they never would have missed Trotter and we’d be talking about how good Simoneau was (just kidding, though Sims would have looked a lot better with Hollis eating up OL). The 2004 group wasn’t as good, even with Rayburn on ‘roids, Simon and Walker were both turnstiles though Burgess had a great postseason. 2008 was a deep unit, but Howard off the bench was the only double digit sacker. The 2012 unit on paper is easily the best, even with Cox and Curry just providing depth, if Graham is 100% it is ridiculously deep.

    LB: It will be hard for any unit to match Emmons – Trotter – Caldwell in 2001, a physical veteran group that fit the old rules. Depending on how Kendricks develops, this might be the second best unit, 2008 Gocong – Bradley – Gaither/Jordan had some coverage limitations. Jones – Trotter – Simoneau in 2004 would be behind all these groups.

    DB: 2001 BT – Dawk – Moore – Vincent – Al Harris was easily the best secondary. Not sure any other group approached that. 2012 could be the second best if DRC returns to his probowl form and Allen steps up. Brown -Dawk – Lewis – Lito – Hood was pretty solid in 2004, as was Asante – Dawk – Mikell – Brown – Hanson in 2008.

    Overall, 2001 was hands down the best defensive group, 2004 and 2010 the best offenses.
    2012 has the chance to match both the 2001 defense and the 2004/2010 offenses.
    On offense, the key players are Vick and Bell, on defense, Graham, Kendricks and Allen.
    Wildcards on offense – Brown, Cooper, Brackett
    Wildcards on defense – Cox, Chaney, Boykin, Marsh
    (wildcards are guys who could step up and play major roles)


  51. 51 P_P_K said at 10:51 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    Maybe this is outside the parameters of the discussion, but the 2004 squad had JJ leading the D. This year’s team has a second year offensive line coach. I hope my misgivings are dead wrong.

  52. 52 Anders Jensen said at 11:12 AM on June 17th, 2012:

    The 2011 team wasnt that much worse when you also take into account how the rest of the NFL played.

  53. 53 Quick links: Upcoming Training Camp battles said at 1:04 PM on June 17th, 2012:

    […] a contributor to the Eagles’ official website, writes about whether the 2012 Birds are one of the most talented groups in franchise […]

  54. 54 Eric Gaskill said at 6:32 PM on June 17th, 2012:

    Maybe you can say another team was more talented but I think this is the most complete team they’ve had under Reid IMO. Although a lot of this does come down to potential.

    A lot of those teams were lacking at WR and/or LB. Even in 04 at WR we had TO and not much else. And I think that defensive is over-rated. They benefited from the offense instantly putting the other team on their heels and when they were tested (Steelers, Pats) they folded big time. Also the interior of that O-line was suspect if I remember correctly.

    This year the O-line should be solid if not better. This depends on Bell. (that whole potential thing I mentioned earlier)
    WR is deep and talented.
    McCoy is at least equal to Westbrook.
    Celek is a very good TE.
    QB is a wash.
    The D-line has a TON of potential and it was already pretty good last year.
    LB is kind of unknown but a lot of potential (again) there. Ryans if back to his old form is better than Trot at the very least.
    CB could actually be better. No one in 04 was on the level of Nnamdi nor had quite as much potential (almost done) as DRC.
    Safety is the one spot where they were unquestionably better but hopefully Nate and whoever should be good enough to not drag the rest of the team down.

    There is talent on this team from top to bottom. While there isn’t a player as special as TO was in 04 (although…McCoy??? IDK) I don’t really see a gaping hole or a spot that is desperately in need of an upgrade.

  55. 55 KillaKadafi said at 7:01 PM on June 17th, 2012:

    Reading through the comments I get the scent of ‘this year will be our year, we are too good to lose’ wafting through – isn’t this what almost everyone thought this time last year?

    Sometimes we can devalue what we had in the past due to our excitement for the future.

  56. 56 P_P_K said at 9:03 AM on June 18th, 2012:

    You are right, of course. Like being fans of Sisyphus, we are forever convinced that this time the damn boulder will go all the way up the hill. It is our fate!

  57. 57 juggadore said at 10:41 AM on June 18th, 2012:

    most talented team? last year we said it was last year’s team. im not saying it again this year!

  58. 58 juggadore said at 10:44 AM on June 18th, 2012:

    i dont see stanley havili’s point. why even toy with him? in order to keep him, we might have to release either bryce brown, chris polk, or dion lewis. why not just play clay harbor there whenever you need him, and use a 3rd tight end on when you need them both? just seems like they’d be wasting a roster spot for stanley havili…

  59. 59 D3Keith said at 10:19 PM on June 18th, 2012:

    Entire posts have been devoted to this. Use the search bar and all your questions shall be instantly answered.

  60. 60 juggadore said at 12:33 AM on June 21st, 2012:

    no im not asking it because i dont know, im asking it aloud to suggest there’s no point in keeping him. that being said, i havent seen him play. i remember what i read about him keeping his shoulders square and all that as a runner. but… i mean seriously, why even toy with the guy? just get an H-back… we have too many ball carriers as it is!