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Wednesday, June 30, 2010
NFC East Beat Writers series: Eagles

By Calvin Watkins

We welcome you to Day 3 of our series on the NFC East. We're a little late, and for that we apologize. Today we look at the Eagles, a team that lost three times to the Cowboys last season. And with that we talked to Philadelphia Inquirer Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane.


Five things to worry about

1. Offensive line. There are questions at each spot. Tackle Jason Peters wasn't great and Winston Justice was solid but he has to show he's more than a pass blocker. Jamaal Jackson is coming back from ACL surgery and might miss part of camp. I don't think I can count on him. Nick Cole had problems in the Dallas game snapping the ball. A lot of question marks.

2. Cornerback. Asante Samuel on one side, but teams showed beause he didn't play press coveage they can do some double-screens to give him problems. Ellis Hobbs replaces Sheldon Brown. The Eagles seem to think if they can get to the passer it's going to be OK.

3. Free safety. Nate Allen is an upgrade from Macho Harris, who moved to corner. Allen will compete with Quintin Demps.

4. Strong side linebacker. Not sure if Moise Fokou is big enough and he's not great in pass coverage. Stewart Bradley is another player who might come back and do something.

5. Coaching. Andy Reid has got a little pressure on him just because Donovan McNabb is not here anymore. I'm sure people want to see if he can win without Donovan. It's the biggest test of Andy's career.


Five things not to worry about:

Wide receiver. They've got DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Maclin will be better than last year. And when you add Jason Avant, you might have the best slot receiver in the league. I think they got one of the better wide receiver corps in the NFC East.

Tight end. Brent Celek can only get better. It's a little worrysome about the backups. Clay Harbor and Cornelius Ingram both have issues. Ingram hasn't played in almost three years because of two torn ACLs.

Defensive end. Trent Cole and Juqua Parker are solid, and adding Brandon Graham makes this a position of strength. They made defensive end a priority in the offseason and they felt like they needed to get to the quarterback. I think Graham will be a playmaker.

Quarterback. I know it's the No. 1 question coming in, but they are a lot more worried about other things than this. Kevin Kolb has been in the system for three years and he's developed a rapport with the wide receivers. I think Kolb will do pretty well.

5. David Akers. He's as good as it gets. A couple of down years, but he's rejuvenated.