Saturday, March 12, 2011

Eagles Prepare and React as Lockout Becomes Real

Before anything, readers please send thoughts and prayers to Japan and the islands affected by the tsunami and continuing earthquake aftershocks. Also, we hope they are able to control and repair the damaged nuclear reactor. If you have the means, please consider donating to the Red Cross or other credible relief organization.

Well, the moment has arrived. The NFL's collective bargaining agreement has expired and we are now in the midst of the dreaded lockout. Planes aren't falling from the sky, and the Y2K bug hasn't decided to strike a decade late, in fact, most people don't even notice it. This blissful ignorance can potentially continue until August, sports blogs and news stories non-withstanding. Meanwhile, the teams, coaches, and players are more than aware of it. The lockout is affecting Eagles players differently, but none more than those with uncertain futures with the organization. Backup quarterback Kevin Kolb leads the list of players unsure about the future and are certainly frustrated by the labor dispute. While Kolb remains stymied by the lockout, the six Eagles recently tendered are sure to wonder about their futures. While the tender allows them to shop themselves around before committing to the Eagles, a lockout means they can no longer shop their services. The anxiety surrounding this quandary will likely increase as the lockout continues, since there will be few well-thought moves made if the lockout suddenly ends in late-July.

The uncertainty works both ways, however, with the Eagles now unable to pursue free agents like the ever-popular Nnamdi Asmougha and other players to improve the game on both sides of the ball. We can only hope that, while the players and coaches are in a blackout, team management continues to work on plans to get these key players, and are ready to implement such plans as soon as the lockout ends.

Despite this, the Eagles have done what they can to prepare the team for a lockout, with new offensive line coach Howard Mudd giving players DVDs to practice with, and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg getting some final sessions in with QB Mike Vick, who Mornhinweg describes as being "in the right frame of mind." Always good to hear about the QB the club has pinned its hopes on.

With all of this in consideration, the lockout may not end in the doom and gloom with which it was anticipated. And even if it does take a toll, the Eagles stand to be one of the few teams in a position to come out of the gate strong, and make smart trade and free agency transactions, putting them ahead of the pack come September.

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