During a couple of recent appearances on WIP radio in Philly, we’ve commented on the high — and potentially unrealistic — expectations that the media has foisted onto the Eagles. We so-called “experts” realize in our hearts that there’s no way of knowing which teams will be good and which teams will struggle weeks before the real games start, and so many of us tend to look to last year’s final outcome as a safe harbor for this year’s prognostications.
The chances, for example, of the Cardinals and the Redskins making it to the Super Bowl in 2010 are roughly equivalent, with the ‘Skins in our view actually having a better shot. But most “experts” would pick the Cardinals over the Redskins, since it’s harder to look like a complete doofis by trusting the team that made it to February to cap last season.
The fact that the Eagles dug out of a deep hole in late November (sparked possibly by a Thanksgiving night dismantling of the Cardinals) and made it all the way to the NFC title game (where they lost to the Cardinals) has made plenty of “experts” think that the Eagles will finish the job, finally, in 2010.
And perhaps they will. But if they do it will mean that they overcame the loss of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, the departure of safety Brian Dawkins, a 60-percent reshuffling of the starting offensive line, the increasingly rickety legs of tailback Brian Westbrook, and a quarterback who seems to puke whenever he plays in Florida, the site of this year’s Super Bowl.
Instead of pointing out these realities in the hopes of reeling in the kind of high hopes that can get people fired if they aren’t fulfilled, team president Joe Banner has declared that the Eagles are ready to dominate.
“I feel this year we have the best roster in the league,” Banner told Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s assuming everyone is healthy and standing at the end. You can
only make a statement like that on the first day of training camp.
After that, anything can happen.”
Frankly, a statement like that can be made at any time. And it’s a statement that we’d never make.
It increases expectations, making a 9-7 record and a near-miss at the playoffs in the tough NFC East something that might now be grounds for a cleaning of the house. Also, it potentially creates friction between the coaching staff and the front office, since a failure to win the Super Bowl will now be blamed on something other than talent — barring a devastating outbreak of injuries.
So while we respect the Eagles organization, which has remained competitive over an extended period of time, we wonder whether boastful statements about the quality of the team will do more harm than good.