NFL team previews: Philadelphia Eagles

With the 2012 NFL season approaching fast, we go around the league to preview every team. Up next: the Philadelphia Eagles.


In 2011, Philadelphia's "Dream Team" failed to live up to the preseason hype and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Juan Castillo's transition from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator was anything but smooth as the Eagles staggered to a 1-4 start.

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Philadelphia won its final four contests, showing vast improvement defensively, while giving fans reason for optimism. With quarterback Michael Vick fully recovered from two broken ribs, post-concussion syndrome and neck and shoulder issues, the Eagles are banking on their offensive juggernaut to return with a vengeance in 2012.

Andy Reid is on the hot seat in the City of Brotherly Love, and another playoff-less year could spell the end of the line for the NFL's longest-tenured coach.


The Eagles signed running back LeSean McCoy to a five-year, $45 million contract extension, locking him up the through the 2017 season. Philadelphia placed the franchise tag on explosive wide receiver and return man DeSean Jackson, and both sides aim to work out a long-term deal soon.

The Eagles bolstered their linebacking corps by acquiring two-time Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans from Houston for a 2012 fourth-round draft choice. Philadelphia also sent cornerback Asante Samuel to Atlanta in exchange for a 2012 seventh-round draft pick. The Eagles re-signed offensive tackle King Dunlap along with defensive tackles Antonio Dixon and Derek Landri.

The athletic Trent Cole is a force on the Philly defense.


Fletcher Cox, a defensive tackle out of Mississippi State, will instantly improve the Eagles' defensive front, using his raw athleticism and penchant for the big play. Cal standout Mychal Kendricks is the fastest linebacker of his draft class and has a chance to be a versatile player in Philadelphia's rotation. Vinny Curry, a defensive end out of Marshall, will add another formidable threat to the Eagles' vaunted edge pass rush.


The Eagles landed the NFL's seventh toughest schedule with plenty of competition outside an already stacked NFC East. Philadelphia starts its 2012 campaign at Cleveland's Dawg Pound followed by a trip home for a battle with Baltimore.

The Eagles' roughest stretch of the season begins Week 4 when they host the Giants in a Sunday night showdown. The very next week Philadelphia visits Pittsburgh in a war for state bragging rights before preparing for a match-up with Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Detroit's high-flying offense. The Eagles' Week 7 bye works in their favor with Atlanta and New Orleans awaiting them the next two games.

Philadelphia renews its divisional rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys in Weeks 10 and 13. In the season finale, the Eagles take on the Giants, where postseason hopes could be on the line for both teams.


Michael Vick, quarterback. When healthy, the Eagles gunslinger is elusive on the ground and deadly through the air, creating nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators.


Trent Cole, defensive end. The two-time Pro Bowler overwhelms offensive lineman with his blazing speed and impressive athleticism. He is a key catalyst for the Eagles' menacing defensive front.


A revamped defense can keep opponents at bay and Vick returns to MVP form, a la 2010.

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