Once upon a time, people wondered if the Philadelphia Eagles were the team to beat in the NFC East. Not anymore. Now they ask if they're the team to beat, period.
That's because the Eagles keep adding and adding to a defense that let them down the past three playoffs, with defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins the latest addition. Jenkins, who Saturday agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal, joins cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive end Jason Babin to a defense that includes a new coordinator (Juan Castillo) and line coach (Jim Washburn) and should be vastly better than the unti that wilted in the 2010 playoffs.
The 21-16 loss to Green Bay marked the third straight playoff loss for the Eagles and, apparently, the end of coach Andy Reid's rope. Determined to improve a lethargic pass defense that surrendered a club-record 31 touchdown passes, Reid scored huge hits this week through free agency and the Kevin Kolb trade.
I remember when Reid's critics wondered what he would do to retool his team, and what he's done is address its defensive shortcomings with monster acquisitions. OK, so the Eagles might be issues at linebacker, but don't tell me their pass rush won't improve ... because it will. And don't tell me their secondary play won't be better ... because it will. And don't tell me the defense will cost Philadelphia another run at a Super Bowl ... because it won't.
Not with the cast the Eagles are assembling.
That doesn't mean they make it to Super Bowl XLVI. As Green Bay's Desmond Bishop said, "Yeah, I mean they got better on paper. But only time can tell. You might look good on paper, but it's all about putting it out there on the field on Sunday."
Well, with what the Eagles put out there on the field next week they are vastly improved from the club that last year suffered its second-straight playoff defeat in the opening round. Philadelphia fans are impatient with Reid, and, apparently, Reid is impatient with himself. He keeps picking up defensive stars to throw at the next opponent, and I would suggest the opponent he has in mind is Green Bay.
It was the Packers who dispatched Philadelphia from the playoffs last season, and it was the Packers who won a Super Bowl. So, you're serious about reaching the Super Bowl? Then build a team to beat the Packers. Reid is. Every day,
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