With Eagle's training camp looming near, a lot of people are quick to point out the main questions of the Eagles such as will they maintain the balance in the run and passing game, will Broderick Bunkley perform like a first round pick should perform, and will Donovan McNabb be healthy enough all season?
I'm going in a different direction. Of course all of those questions above are extremely pertinent to the success of the 07-08 season, I see things in a different manner. Here are my 5 things I'll be looking for in training camp.
1. The health of Jevon Kearse: We all know Kearse came back from his injury into mini camp thin as rails. In JJ's system, the d line must get pressure on the quarterback for the system to be successful, making the health of Kearse that much more important IMO. Last year, before Jevon's injury, his presence on the field led a dominating Eagle's d line. After his injury, you could see and feel the loss of Jevon. If he has not built himself up during this break between TC and mini camp, I think we're in for a long season.
2. The performance of Chris Gocong: Having yet to play his first snap as a linebacker, he has all the tools to make it happen; size, speed, instincts, motor. Having had no playmakers on the linebacker side of the Eagles the past 3 years, there is a lot of hope and hype for Chris Gocong. How does it play out? I don't think anyone knows. If Jevon is back to form, and Gocong plays to his so called 'ability,' we could be witnesses to a dominating front 7.
3. Sean Considine: Considine came in to split time with Lewis last season and came out as the starter for the 07/08 season. Considine is a good but not great football player that has some range and can go sideline to sideline. The one thing he lacks is his ability to tackle as he missed several should be tackles in the second half of last season. He needed to get much stronger and apparently he did this offseason gaining over 20 pounds of muscle. This year he won't have the opportunity to take a break on defense with Lewis gone. Quintin Mikell will get some time at SS in long passing downs, but it looks like Considine is our guy for this season. He can be a solid player in the backfield, but can he stay healthy? He's a good player when healthy, but when he's not he doesn't deserve to be on the field.
4. The return of our return game: Jeremy Bloom is a lock to make the roster as the lead punt and kick off return man. Early reports from mini camps (Gcobb) have reported that Bloom has regained his quickness and speed that makes him such a huge weapon. Last season, in fact since the release of JR Reed, the return was completely extinct. The Eagles know they need to establish the return game in order to make the Super Bowl this season. Football is a game of field position, making the health and progress of Jeremy Bloom SO important this season.
5. The Great Australian Reefer Sav Rocca: I can't wait to see this guy boom 60-65 yard punts. I don't see anyway the Eagles are comfortable allowing Dirk Johnson to be their starting punter this year. With punters coming into the NFL who are able to punt longer than ever these days, a reliable, big time punter is what the Eagles need. Now if we stay away from 3 and outs on 3 passing plays on 3 downs this shouldn't be much of a concern, but if not we need a boomer. Rocca may not have solid form but his ability and potential are top notch. I think the Eagles will go in a new direction with this guy. Dirk Johnson is completely replaceable and I think Rocca is our man this year.
Lots of question marks, but lots of potential.