Analyzing The Offense

The Eagles offense underwent a lot of changes during the season and there could be more this off-season. It's time to take a look at just what they've got and how the offense shapes up.

QUARTERBACK: Starter -- Donovan McNabb. Backups -- Jeff Garcia, A.J. Feeley, Koy Detmer.

McNabb, who tore his ACL in mid-November and missed the rest of the season, is expected to make a complete recovery. While he is one of the league's top five quarterbacks, he has missed significant time in three of the last five seasons, making it mandatory that the team have a capable backup like Garcia, who helped resurrect the Eagles and lead them to the playoffs last season.

RUNNING BACKS: Starters -- RB Brian Westbrook, FB Thomas Tapeh. Backups -- Correll Buckhalter, Reno Mahe, Ryan Moats.

Westbrook has established himself as one of the best - and most versatile backs in the league. Last season, he answered the one lingering question left about him - his durability. Oft-injured in his first four NFL seasons, he had a career-high 322 touches, played through a sore knee early in the season and racked up 1,916 combined rushing and receiver yards. Buckhalter, who missed three of the previous four seasons with knee injuries, made an impressive comeback, averaging 4.2 yards per carry in a five-carry-per-game role. But the Eagles need to add a big back they can utilize in short-yardage and goal line situations.

TIGHT END: Starter -- L.J. Smith. Backup -- Matt Schobel.

Smith is a dangerous, if sometimes inconsistent, receiver whose speed and size create matchup problems for opposing defenses. He followed last season's 61-catch performance with 50 more this season, and did a solid job of blocking late in the season when the Eagles turned to the run more. Schobel wasn't used as much as expected, catching just 14 passes.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Reggie Brown, Donte Stallworth. Backups -- Hank Baskett, Greg Lewis, Jason Avant, Jeremy Bloom.

The late-August addition of Stallworth gave the Eagles a much-needed dose of outside speed. Both Stallworth and Brown are excellent yards-after-the-catch receivers. Baskett, an undrafted free agent acquired in a spring trade with the Vikings, was a pleasant surprise. Stallworth will be a free agent, but the Eagles need to re-sign him. Neither Baskett nor Jason Avant, who the Eagles like a lot, have Stallworth's speed, and Greg Lewis isn't sturdy enough to be an every-down receiver.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters -- LT William Thomas, LG Todd Herremans, C Jamaal Jackson, RG Shawn Andrews, RT Jon Runyan. Backups - T William Justice, G Max Jean-Gilles, G Scott Young, Pat McCoy, Nick Cole.

The Eagles' five starters didn't miss a game and were one of the best blocking units in the league down the stretch. Their interior three of Andrews, a first-team All-Pro selection, Jackson and Herremans were overpowering and are going to anchor this unit for years to come after signing long-term extensions. Thirty-three-year-old RT Jon Runyan had one of his best seasons and will be back. Thirty-two-year-old William Thomas may not be. The Eagles selected Justice in the second round of the '06 draft with the idea of him replacing Thomas, whose base salary jumps to $4.55 million next season, in '07.


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