Eagles' fans were despairing after the team's 2-3 start, especially the way the team lost to Dallas and Chicago. Going into the weekend, the fans were wondering whether the Donovan McNabb era was over, and why head coach Andy Reid seemingly has blind spots about his team every year. Among the laments this season -- a fullback who can't block, a tight end who can't block, and a defensive line that doesn't get a good push. Oh, yes, throw in the lack of a #1 receiver, a frequently injured quarterback and aging offensive tackels. And, of course, for good measure, include the fact that free agent DE Chris Clemons has been a downer and acquired running back Lorenzo Booker has been a relative no-show. Click here for Reuben Frank's excellent article in Sunday's Bucks County Courier Times about some of the Birds' front-office moves (err, blunders).
But, you see, it's a long football season. I, for one, didn't buy the talk that the Redskins were one of the NFL's top five teams, that Jim Zorn will be a great head coach, or that Jason Campbell has arrived and will rival the Jags' David Garrard for throwing the fewest interceptions. I, also, didn't buy the stability of the Cowboys, was waiting for Adam Jones to regress, and still wonder when the human volcano, Terrell Owens, doing okay in dormant status, will blow. As for the Giants, well, they're an excellent team, but they also stumbled in Cleveland last night, and Eli Manning has a bruised chest. For once, it isn't Donovan McNabb who leads the injured list in the NFL.
So, let's hold the phone before we anoint the Cowboys' Super Bowl champs, before we champion the Giants for a repeat, or before we cede a playoff spot to the Redskins. And, of course, Eagles' fans shouldn't get giddy on their late-game breakthrough against the 49ers. Yes, Juqua Parker did his best Lawrence Taylor imitation in the second half, but the Birds' defense is still leaky, and their play is inconsistent. As I said at the beginning of this post, it's a very long season. Remember this, though, that over the years many a team that's started at 6-2 has failed to make the playoffs, while some that have started more slowly do. (I'm sure the statheads will jump all over me about this).
The NFL East is the best division in pro football, and the remainder of the season should be most exciting.