BTB: Big changes for the Eagles this offseason. Let's start with the obvious - Was it a good idea to move Donovan McNabb? How do you feel about him going to a division rival?
BG: Initially, I was very shocked and saddened by the move, being a longtime McNabb supporter, and especially because he was sent to a rival in the Redskins. However, my perspective has altered a bit since that Easter Sunday trade; researching Kolb and realizing that he really does have a lot of potential and talent has made me okay with the move, and as long as he executes, the offense should be explosive as usual.
BG: Like the trade of McNabb, the release of Westbrook hit me with a wave of shock (even though he was bound to depart soon anyway, with injuries and age taking a toll). Nonetheless, the team has filled the running back spot sufficiently, replacing B-West in the lineup with the young, shifty LeSean McCoy. Former Saints runner Mike Bell was also added, in addition to LSU product Charles Scott, via the 6th-round of the Draft.
BTB: Is Kevin Kolb ready to take over? Tell us about his game and how he differs from McNabb.
BG: The one thing that stands out between Kolb and McNabb is consistent accuracy. Many have pointed out that the latter was unable to complete simple passes and was too often misfiring targets, while Kolb seems to have shown he can connect with receivers on a more constant basis. Obviously, McNabb has one of the league's strongest arms and was able to provide the team with many big pass plays, something Kolb might not be able to do as often, but there's still enough talent around the new starter for him to have success.
BTB: How did the Eagles draft go in your opinion? Any player you're particularly excited about? Any steals?
BG: Honestly, this may have been one of the Eagles' best and deepest Drafts in recent memory. Not only did they lock up surefire starters in DE Brandon Graham and FS Nate Allen, but they also managed to solidify their defensive corps with a number of high-potential players, such as hybrid linebacker Ricky Sapp (who was snagged in the 5th-round but received many 2nd-round grades). The team got a total of 13 players in the Draft this year, and almost all have enough upside to have immediate impacts with the Eagles. As for steals, Sapp undoubtedly fits the bill, but Philly also got another in LB Jamar Chaney, taken in the 6th-round but with serious potential for the pro level.
BTB: Will Michael Vick have a bigger role this year in the offense? Is even a threat to become the starter?
BG: All indications are that Vick will indeed receive a larger role this season, especially to help with the development of Kolb as the starter, but there's an extremely small chance that the former Falcon will actually get a shot to start. Unless Kolb is seriously injured, don't count on seeing Vick in the No. 1 role.
BTB: With all the changes, where do you think the Eagles will end up in the NFC East at the end of the year? Are they still a playoff team?
BG: As long as the new pieces can execute and mold by opening day, I can definitely picture the Eagles making a run for a Wild Card spot as the second place squad in the East, simply because they have a tough schedule and the Cowboys are very well stocked with experience. If the new starters and additions are unable to develop as planned, a third or fourth place finish isn't out of the question.
Thanks to Bleed Green for the 411 on the Eagles.