Todd Korth: Who is the best off-season acquisition for the Eagles?
Chris Steuber: Takeo Spikes. He provides the Eagles with a playmaker at linebacker, an element that’s been missing for many years.
TK: What will the Eagles have to do Sunday to beat the Packers?
CS: The Eagles have to run the ball with Brian Westbrook, and the key to their running game is All-Pro guard Shawn Andrews. Andrews has been out most of the preseason with an ankle injury, but he returned to practice this week and appears to be ready to go for Sunday. With Andrews in the game, Westbrook will have a lot of room to run on the right side. Also, Donovan McNabb has to show the same kind of demeanor he displayed in the preseason. McNabb progressed well through his reads and made good decisions. He doesn’t have to take over the game, but he has to be efficient in running the offense.
On defense, the Eagles have to play sound football. They have to stay disciplined and stick to their assignments. The Packers have a young offensive line, a unit that the Eagles defensive front should take advantage of. But if the defense gets complacent, it could become a stressful day for everyone.
TK: What rookie, or rookies, are expected to make an immediate impact for Philadelphia this year?
CS: There are two rookies that will make an impact this season - defensive end Victor Abiamiri and linebacker Stewart Bradley. Abiamiri will rotate in and out on the defensive front, while Bradley is the top reserve linebacker. Abiamiri is excellent against the run and displays great technique as a pass rusher. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Abiamiri starting at left defensive end by week six. Bradley is an interesting player for the Eagles. He’s your prototypical SAM linebacker, but he has been working out at middle linebacker. His versatility will only make him a better player. If Chris Gocong or Omar Gaither struggle, Bradley will becomes the starter.
TK: How much has Andy Reid been affected by the problems that his sons have been involved in recently?
CS: He’s been very quiet on that front, and he refuses to discuss the situation with the media. If you’re a parent and you’re having problems with your children at home, it obviously will affect you. Reid is usually very calm and collected on the sidelines, and I expect him to be the same way this season even with everything going on around him.
TK: Do you feel the Eagles can defend their NFC East division title?CS: Yes. They’re still the best team in the NFC East. However, the Dallas Cowboys will contend with the Eagles all season long. But when it’s all said and done, the Eagles will win the division and the Cowboys will be a wild-card team.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber is the Editor in Chief of WarNest.com and an NFL Analyst for Scout.com. Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.