When we last saw the Philadelphia Eagles, their quarterback was Donovan McNabb, and they negated a late-season six-game winning streak with back-to-back blowout losses to the Cowboys.
The second of those losses came in the playoffs, and signaled the end of Donovan McNabb's tenure as an Eagle (and the tenures of a number of other players as well, for that matter).
And unless those replacements step in and take flight (pun intended) immediately, the Eagles' first impressions of 2010 will mirror their last impressions of the 2009 season.
The focal point of the Eagles this year will be quarterback Kevin Kolb. And it's not like he's destined for failure. Kolb passed for 300 yards in his first two NFL starts a year ago - the first quarterback in NFL history to do so. And he has plenty of weapons - none more explosive than receiver DeSean Jackson. But there's a certain pressure that comes with being the starting quarterback for the Eagles in Philadelphia, and Kolb will have his work cut out for him in that department this year. And while Jackson can be explosive, often he is feast or famine. And if that was the case with McNabb, you'd have to believe his production might slip a bit with Kolb.
Especially when you consider so many parts of the Eagles are in transition. The running game has been completely handed over to the likes of LeSean McCoy and Mike Bell...which isn't to say it's bad, just different, with Brian Westbrook now out of the picture. The plus for the Eagles' offense is that there hasn't been much change on the offensive line - if anything, that unit is stronger as players return from injuries. So while the newer elements of the offense make adjustments, maybe the steady base that is the offensive line will give them the time they need to get comfortable.
Making adjustments is something the Philadelphia defense excels at...or at least, forcing opponents to make adjustments to their defense. The Eagles put up a lot of points last year - this year they may be forced to lean on their defense to win them some games while the offense gets settled under Kolb's leadership.
Either way, in my mind this does not add up to a successful season in Philadelphia. The Eagles could turn into the whipping boy in the NFC East, with the spurned McNabb getting two shots at them and the favored Cowboys remembering how easy their wins were late last year.
At least this year when the Eagles face Dallas in Weeks 14 and 17 the games won't be as high stakes. Philadelphia should be well out of the race by then.
2010 Prediction: 3-13, 4th Place in NFC East