Hints of September

August 8, 2006

September is one of my favorite months. Always has been. For me, that is the true new year, not January 1st. When I was younger, it was the beginning of school, which was always the promise of a new day, a clean slate. The weather is no longer hot, and there’s a sense of Autumn crispness in the air.

And, of course, it’s the start of Philadelphia Eagles football.

I’m sure that it’s because the Phillies have been so dreadful so frequently over the last 23 years. But there are few Eagles seasons where there wasn’t a real promise of a good season. Okay, it didn’t happen sometimes, but there were very few seasons where we went into the season, saying “God, the team is going to be awful this year.”

Always the promise of a new day. Always the possibility of the victory that has eluded Philadelphia Eagles since 1960, and has eluded Philadelphia sports fans since 1983.

* * *

True Hopes or Scattered Dreams

If you look around at ESPN columnists, I daresay you will find few that even think that the Eagles will make the playoffs, let alone win the division and do well in the playoffs. And looking at them on paper, that is true.

You can’t say that the Eagles have fixed the problems on the defense that plagued them last year. They have not found a defensive lineman to replace Derrick Burgess, Corey Simon, and . They took a step backwards in stopping the run. Their linebackers have never developed into a solid core unit. And several members of their secondary kindof took a step backwards last year.

But you can see the plan on the defensive side of the ball, can’t you? The line looks good with the potential of Jevon Kearse, Darren Howard, Mike Patterson, and Darwin Walker. With McDougle, Bunkley, and Rayburn rotating into the lineup.

The hope that the linebacker core of Shawn Barber, Mark Simoneau, and Jeremiah Trotter gels as a group. And that if the front four gets the pass rush, and the linebackers are better against the run, that the secondary becomes the hard-hitting unstoppable force they were two years ago.

That’s not a pipe dream. Especially if you look at the history of the defensive guru, Jim Johnson.

I have said it before. If Jim Johnson was not hired by Andy Reed to be the defensive coordinator of the Eagles, the team wouldn’t have been nearly as successful, and I believe that Andy Reed wouldn’t be the head coach.

As for the offense, well, that’s a different story.

I’ll finish that one later.