There are a lot of expectations surrounding the Eagles this season. A lot of people are talking about 10, 11, or maybe even 12 wins this season. But the win total this year revolves around the play of certain players.
In my first “Eagle Eye Five”, I’ll give you my five players to watch this weekend. These are players that have to prove themselves, show they’re healthy, or exceed expectations.
With that said, here are the five Eagles I’ll be watching this weekend:
1. Donovan McNabb: It’s going to be interesting to see how McNabb plays on Sunday. He’s looked terrific through the preseason, considering where he’s come from. After tearing his ACL last November, McNabb appears to be fully recovered, or at least well enough for him to play. McNabb has a tough secondary to deal with on Sunday. Al Harris and Charles Woodson can cause any quarterback problems, and McNabb will have to go through his reads progressively to be effective. Utilizing the running game will be beneficial to McNabb and keep him fresh through out the game. The more success the Eagles have running the ball, the more McNabb will feel comfortable with his surroundings.
2. Brodrick Bunkley: I like what I’ve seen thus far out of Brodrick Bunkley. Bunkley appears to have matured over the offseason and is finally taking the game seriously. In the preseason, Bunkley showed quick feet and a good burst off the line of scrimmage. He’s also improved his technique and is using his hands better in the trenches. He has slimmed down from last year, which has made him faster and more effective against the opposition. Bunkley should have a nice game against a young Packers offensive line and set the tone for the defense.
3. Chris Gocong: A second year pro and a first year starter at strong side linebacker, Gocong may be the most analyzed player on the field Sunday. He’s shown flashes of understanding the SAM position in the preseason, but he’s still very inconsistent. Gocong’s biggest problem is dropping back in coverage. However, he’s shown the ability to be an effective blitzer and plays the run very well. The Packers will try to take advantage of Gocong’s weaknesses, as they like to line up in a two tight end package. Green Bay tight ends Donald Lee and Bubba Franks will see a lot of action this weekend, and Gocong has to be up for the challenge.
4. Sean Considine: Considine has stepped into the starting strong safety position now that Michael Lewis is gone. I don’t necessarily have a problem with Considine’s game, because I think he has great instincts and a nose for the ball, but he has to work on his tackling. Considine gained 15-pounds during the offseason to get stronger, but he still lacks the physicality it takes to play the strong safety position. He tends to attack high, which results in missed tackles. If he attacks lower, he will have more success and won’t become a liability on defense. I believe Considine will have a good game in Green Bay, especially in coverage. The Packers have two nice receivers in Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, but with Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown covering them, Considine can be aggressive and take his shots.
5. Kevin Curtis: Here’s a player that’s going to have a break out season for the Eagles. Curtis, who’s been playing behind Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce for the last three seasons, is ready to show that he’s an elite receiver in the NFL. He has great speed on the outside and gets excellent separation from defensive backs. He has a tough battle this weekend, most likely with Al Harris, but he should be able to expose Harris’ aggressive nature. Expect Curtis to make a few big plays against the Packers, including a touchdown.