Regardless of minor injuries early in the season, the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2001 roster shows promise of reaching further into this year’s playoffs.
Andy Reid returns for his third year as head coach of the Eagles. Reid came to the Eagles after spending seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers whom he helped reach the playoffs six straight times from 1993-98.
His plan to make the Eagles a championship team has been evident throughout the last two years by a reflection of his style of coaching. Reid has an affinity towards thorough preparation and attention to detail.
Reid’s organizational skills will be crucial this season, especially with the recent injuries of running back Duce Staley and cornerback Troy Vincent. Staley suffered a small tear in the cartilage of his right shoulder. Expect the Eagles to rely heavily on rookie Correll Buckhalter since Staley’s injury prevents him from playing. Vincent, who is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the league, has an AC sprain in his left shoulder but remains optimistic about his recovery.
Other key players to watch for this season include quarterback Donovan McNabb, free safety Brian Dawkins, cornerback Bobby Taylor and wide receiver James Thrash.
Immortalized in the form of a bobble-head doll, McNabb has kept the drive alive for the Eagles after passing for over 300 yards against Seattle. Dawkins, at the top of his game, has been especially effective blitzing this year and has not made a single mental mistake.
Taylor, complementary to Dawkins and Vincent, has been strong in coverage and solid so far this season. Thrash, who was signed to a five-year contract in March, has made great progression from undrafted rookie to starter.
The Eagles have a good chance of improving their league ranking. “On this football team we don’t get into the records and what other people perceive to be. We’re going to take each one just like we do all teams and prepare ourselves the same way we do for every team in this league.,” Reid said in a press conference on Wednesday, September 26. “We’re not out there to judge the other team. We’re out there to play the team, respect the team, and do the best possible job that we can do and get ourselves ready for that. That’s how we’re going to go about doing it.”
With three games under their belt and a 2-1 record, the Eagles are in full swing for the season. The optimism emanating from both the Eagles’ coach and players show the fans that the best may be yet to come this year.