I pose this somewhat dreamy question on the eve of the Birds’ first preseason game with the Steelers.
“Our goal every year is to win the Super Bowl,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said yesterday. “I can’t tell you how terrifically positioned I think we are. It’s a tough, tough league. I couldn’t be more fired up myself.”
The reality is, Mr. Lurie has been saying that every year since 1994.
Many of you subscribe to the “Perfect Storm” theory regarding the Eagles’ 2017/18 winning of Super Bowl 52.
If your intuition is real, then there’s no chance the Eagles will repeat as SB champs in 2018/19. A “perfect storm” by definition never happens two seasons in a row.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more fired up for a season than we’re about to undertake, but with a realization that we’re also in the NFC,” said Lurie. “I compare it to the NBA West.
“I know what our challenge is, but the goal is to win the Super Bowl each and every year as we go forward, and position ourselves that way. All the decisions we make with Howie, Doug, Joe, Don, everybody in terms of planning for our franchise, it’s always to maximize the position we’re in for the short-term because I think we have a great opportunity to succeed. And at the same time, don’t sacrifice anything that we’re going to need in the longer term to be able to truly succeed as well. That’s a balancing act every day and we’re going for it.
“We know what’s in front of us, and we know the challenge. We know the short-term challenge. Tremendous NFC and there are some great teams in the AFC, too, but you know, the NFC is loaded.”
NFC loaded means Falcons, Saints, Panthers, Packers, Vikings, and Rams. But I think Mr. Lurie should be more concerned right now with prevailing in the NFC East division. I have no doubt that the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins are due for some major motivational impulses to dethrone the Eagles from the NFC East crown. If I were king of the Evergreen forest, I’d be telling my guys, “just concentrate on winning the division— your king will be very satisfied with that.”
And when you think about it, all the other good things that could resonate in a potential repeat Super Bowl seem to begin with winning your division and a possible Bye in the playoffs.
I don’t mean to denigrate Mr. Lurie’s enthusiasm right now. I just don’t think we should be comparing ourselves to the Golden State Warriors at this juncture.
We’ve actually got some problems…or, at best, some unanswered questions.
As much as we’d like to dismiss Mychal Kendricks as a minimal factor in last year’s success, it is not going to be easy to replace him at weak-side linebacker. We are going to have to “hope” (dirty word here) that journeymen like Nate Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill and/or Joe Walker step up.
Then there’s the punter situation.
At Tuesday’s practice Cameron Johnston had two punts in which he was in an area of the field (it was around the Eagles’ own 20) where it was a “blast off” situation, according to Jimmy Kempski:.
- “The first one was ugly. I don’t know if he was trying to hit it low in between the numbers and the sideline, or if he was trying to hit a bomb, but it was a low line drive right down the middle of the field. In no scenario, ever, to you want to hit a low line drive down the middle of the field.”
- “The second one had a hang time of 4.32, medium distance. Not ideal.”
This could be problematic if mediocre punting comes into play against our divisional rivals, let alone in any possible playoffs scenario.
As for Carson Wentz, our potential world-beating QB#1, he’s not ready to pencil into the lineup yet, folks. Doctors are limiting him to about 10 reps a day and restricting him to the 7-on-7 drills only. If you project that pace forward to regular season Game 1, he’s still not ready. It could be October before we see Wentz in meaningful QB play, and he will still be in a knee brace. Maybe Nick Foles and the Eagles offense will carry the torch well enough so that Carson Wentz’ return to the lineup doesn’t seem all that urgent. But you have to admit, it’s a little worrisome. My concern is if the Eagles get off to a bad-luck start to the season—you know, losing two or three close games in a row—and then we rush Wentz back in there too early, and he tries to do too much too soon and gets crushed by one of our DIVISIONAL RIVALS!
See what I did there? I brought it around full-circle. Jeffrey Lurie needs to worry more about winning our Division than winning another Super Bowl.
All that said, Tuesday’s practice was somewhat dumbed down by the horrible heat and humidity. Fran Duffy of PE.com came up with a few choice notes:
“It was extremely humid for the second straight day, setting up a prime situation for some chippiness at practice. I thought we had something early on, as Fletcher Cox and Lane Johnson chirped back and forth after a run play to the outside. Cox felt wronged by something that Johnson did and gave him a shove away from the ball. It turned into nothing, but I got the sense that the energy level would be significantly higher on Tuesday compared to Monday’s practice right off the bat.”
“The second- and third-team units battled through extensive team periods to offer a glimpse of what they’ll see on the field in the upcoming preseason game. At one point, defensive end Steven Means tried to get a little juice by raising his arms to pump up his teammates. Head coach Doug Pederson liked what Means was doing and mimicked his defensive lineman. “It’s always been my take to make practice harder than the game,” an exhausted Means said after practice. “When the game comes, it’s all about fun and making plays.”
“With an eye on Thursday night, the second-team offensive line consisted of (from left to right) tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, guard Chance Warmack, center Isaac Seumalo, guard Matt Pryor, and tackle Taylor Hart. It is unknown whether any starters will be given the night off – tackle Jason Peters comes to mind.”
“The final session of practice begins, as the team rejoins for 11-on-11 work, focusing on “backed up” situations. This means the offense is backed up deep in its end. We start with the first-team units on both sides of the ball. On offense, a heavy package featuring multiple tight ends comes out on the field with Nate Sudfeld in at quarterback. Defensively, Jim Schwartz responds with a 4-4 look, with four defensive linemen, four linebackers (Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Nathan Gerry, and Joe Walker). The three defensive backs on the field are Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, and Jalen Mills.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers meet the Eagles at 7 P.M. on Thursday, August 9, at the Linc.