Wednesday, August 24, 2005

First look: Eagles team capsule from AP

Here's what The Associated Press says in its annual pre-season capsule of the Birds (they like 'em):

PHILADELPHIA (13-3, 2-1 playoffs)

OPTIMISTIC: Eagles remain class of NFC East and can win fifth straight division title. Return most starters and have improved offense with additions of rookie RB Ryan Moats and rookie WR Reggie Brown, and return of G Shawn Andrews. Jim Johnson-coached defense is always a strength. Determined and hungry to win championship after coming close last season.

PESSIMISTIC: Must avoid post-Super Bowl letdown. Five of last six teams that lost Super Bowl didn't make playoffs in following season. Have to overcome distraction and disruption caused by disgruntled WR Terrell Owens. Loss of WR Todd Pinkston is magnified if Owens doesn't last the season.

ON THE RISE: RB Brian Westbrook, WR Greg Lewis, TE L.J. Smith, CB Sheldon Brown, SS Michael Lewis.

ON THE DECLINE: LT Tra Thomas, RT Jon Runyan.

EXPECT: NFC East championship with strong shot at reaching Super Bowl if Owens stays and plays whole season.

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