What can be said for what went down at 6 p.m. EST on July 29, 2011?
The day started with a post on this very site, praising(?!) Andy Reid for taking a low-risk, high-reward chance on Vince Young, back-up Quarterback. The day ended with The Walrus, The Devil and The Billionaire pushing all of their chips in the middle of the table and calling “all in” on the 2011 NFL season.
And boy, are we impressed.
A secondary including Asante Samuel, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha(*) immediately hides many of the Eagles defensive problems. They can go into the season with Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews and Moises Fokou as the starting Linebackers(**). They can get away with a rotation of Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Juqua Parker, a less-than-100% Brandon Graham, and the Tapp-Sapp-Hunt pu pu platter at DE. They can have a lifelong Offensive Line Coach takeover the reins of the Defense. They still need another DT – sorry Bunkley – and another Safety to add to the mix, but, wow… just wow.
(*)Just writing that brings a tear to my eye…
(**)Though, hopefully, they will wise up and add at least ONE legitimate veteran to the LB corps.
People are calling this a stunning move, but to Andy’s credit, it’s not unprecedented. He has a knack for going after the top-flight free agents and acquiring his targets. Jon Runyan, Jevon Kearse, Asante, (almost LeCharles Bentley). And now the prize of the 2011 free agent class, Asomugha.
Additionally, this isn’t the first time Andy has pieced together a defensive backfield that can strike fear into the hearts of opposing Offenses. Following the NFC Championship game loss to the Rams in 2001 – which saw the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” Offense and subsequent 4 and 5-receiver sets pick apart the Eagles secondary – the team drafted Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown and Michael Lewis in the first two rounds of the draft and added free agent Strong Safety Blaine Bishop to an already stellar cast of Brian Dawkins, Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor and Al Harris. Bishop didn’t pan out, but the Eagles secondary propelled the Defense to the number two ranking that season.
The team’s secondary was horrendous in 2010 – giving up a franchise record 31 passing touchdowns in the regular season – and, after moving away from it for a few years, the NFL is once again dominated by Offenses running 4 and 5-Wide Receiver sets. Assuming no one is traded, the Eagles are going into the season with Asomugha and Asante – the NFL’s best cover corner and best ballhawking corner – as the starters, with Pro Bowler Rodgers-Cromartie and borederline-starter Joselio Hanson as the nickle and dime corners. Wow.
Two days in a row of praising Andy Reid is painful… but you can’t deny that he is going all out for this season. And we love it!
We’ve been screaming for the Birds to go all in for a Super Bowl run every offseason since 2004 (the last time they truly went for it). Well, they finally answered the call.
Fire The Walrus? Not today(***).
(***)But we’ll see what happens come gamedays.