Eagles Must Overcome Losses of Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook in 2010


There were times last season, particularly during a six-game winning streak, when the Eagles looked like legitimate Super Bowl contenders. But Philly's season ended with consecutive blowouts at the hands of the Cowboys, and the Eagles' flaws were exposed for the world to see. That led to an historic offseason for the franchise, which we'll take a look at during the 15th stop on NESN.com's 32-day cruise through the NFL.

2009 Record: 11-5 (lost to Cowboys in wild card round)

2010 Schedule Difficulty: Their opponents went a combined 133-123 (.520 winning percentage) in 2009, which makes for the ninth most difficult schedule in the NFL.

Key Additions: Defensive end Brandon Graham (draft), free safety Nate Allen (draft), defensive end Ricky Sapp, wide receiver Riley Cooper (draft), linebacker Ernie Sims, running back Mike Bell, defensive back Marlin Jackson (ruptured Achilles during offseason practice and will miss all of 2010)

Key Losses:
Quarterback Donovan McNabb, running back Brian Westbrook, cornerback Sheldon Brown, outside linebacker/defensive end Chris Gocong, offensive lineman Shawn Andrews

Burning Question: Did the Eagles screw up with Donovan McNabb? For now, that’s a resounding "yes," but we won't know the real answer until we see how Kevin Kolb develops as the franchise quarterback. Philly traded McNabb to division rival Washington for the 37th pick in April's draft (Allen), as well as a third- or fourth-rounder in the 2011 draft, which is shaping up to be pretty weak.

On one hand, the Eagles weren’t good enough to win a Super Bowl in 2010 with McNabb at quarterback — not as much because of him, but mostly because of the supporting cast — so it's smart to trade him while they could still get some semblance of value in return, especially while they're high on Kolb. However, Philly will obviously have to see McNabb twice a year, and he's on a Redskins team that isn’t really all that bad. If Kolb doesn’t work out this season, the Eagles probably just let the 'Skins leapfrog them in the standings.

Kolb, who was Philly's second-round pick in 2007, has completed 79-of-130 passes (60.8 percent) for four touchdowns and seven interceptions in 12 games (two starts) over three seasons. Now, the Eagles have to hope Kolb doesn’t make them look stupid for trading McNabb. No pressure, kid. Not in that town.

2010 Outlook: After a great decade-long run, the Eagles are in rebuilding mode. It will be a tough pill to swallow for an organization that has made the playoffs in eight of the last 10 seasons, but the Eagles' season will all but certainly end after 16 games.

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