(Not Named McNabb and Westbrook)
1. Broderick Bunkley- In order to make the playoffs, let alone Super Bowl, the Eagles MUST improve their run defense. I don't think there is any way around it. Yea sure Mike Patterson must improve, and Ian Scott should be an upgrade, but the guy that must prove his worth (being a top first round pick) is Broderick Bunkley. Here is a guy that showed up late and out of shape at last years TC, missed a flight to a game, and had tons of hype as the answer to our defensive woes. According to early reports, Bunkley has been working his ass off all offseason and has looked good in his first hitting day at TC. Dawkins said yesterday that Bunkley's maturity has significantly improved, and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson even said that the difference is light and day between the way Bunk approached the game this year compared to last year. In my opinion, Mike Patterson will be what he is, a reliable but only good defensive tackle for his career. Bunkley has a ton of untapped potential, and he is the key to our defense, even Super Bowl run, if he plays like he's suppose to. The Eagles know they need a significant boost to their run defense, and a much more mature Broderick Bunkley will be relied upon heavily in the 07-08 season. If the Eagles can stop the run, I don't think this Eagles team can be stopped, but that's a big if.
2. Chris Gocong- It's no secret that Dhani Jones was one of the worst linebackers on the Eagles last year. Over the last 3 years, Dhani Jones has amounted 1 sack. 1 Friggin Sack! That's just absolutely pathetic. But that's not the worst part. Jones was consistently out of position all year, every year he's been an Eagle. Countless NFL tapes show Jones being too slow off the snap, being too late to fill the gap and not being able to break through any blocks to make a play in the back field. Enter Chris Gocong, who has all the size, speed, instincts and intangibles you look for in a linebacker. The only question, and it's a big one, is can he play linebacker in the NFL? With a year under his belt of studying the playbook, it's all a matter of putting it all together for the sophomore from Cal Poly. Strictly speaking, any performance from our strong side linebacker this year will be an improvement over the last 3 years of Dhani Jones, so performance out of the position can only go up. Last year the Eagle's linebackers were exposed. In fact, only one Eagle linebacker, in my opinion, had a decent year and that was Omar Gaither who will be backing up Trotter this season. The addition of pro bowler Takeo Spikes should lighten the load a bit on Chris Gocong, but his performance will go a long way in deciding the success of our beloved Eagle defense.
3. Marty Morningweg- Not a player, but THE guy that will determine whether Westbrook will run wild in 07-08. There's not much to say here then what has already been said. We all know how good our offense is, but what we were exposed to last year shows how a conservative, time consuming offense impacts the defense. Morningweg needs to maintain the exact same game plan the Eagles utilized the second half of last season and continue to trust, in my opinion, the best offensive line in the NFC. I also want to see Morningweg utilize the two RB system that seems to be the trend right now in the NFL. Give Westbrook 20 carries a game, but split 10 more carries between Buck and Tony Hunt. THIS is the way we get to the Super Bowl. Last year we proved we can be that grind it out, power running team that Eagle fans have said we could be. The second half of last season it became a reality and it took us to the playoffs. There is no reason why it should stop.
Honorable Mention: Reggie Brown, Jevon Kearse