“Getting Darren Sproles really helped,” the exec says in what qualifies as the understatement of the year.
By Peter Gleason
Of all of the teeming masses who cover the Eagles in this Birds-crazy town, no one has better sources than Mark Eckel of the Trenton Times, and he spoke with one AFC team executive who thinks the Eagles might be the NFC team that emerges on top.
From Eckel’s piece on NJ.com:
“That’s the team I’d probably least like to face (in the Super Bowl), if we’re fortunate enough to make it there,” the AFC executive said. “I might not be crazy about facing (Green Bay quarterback) Aaron Rodgers, either. I just think right now, looking at it on paper, at least, the Eagles are the most complete team of the bunch.
“The offense, well you see the offense and what it can do. The defense is getting better every week. There are still some holes there, but what did they get 20 sacks the other night (actually nine), a good pass rush makes up for a lot of problems. And the special teams, Jesus, that’s the best I’ve seen in years. They can win games for you. Getting (Darren) Sproles really helped, but I guess you know that.”
The Eagles offense ranks second in the NFC, behind only New Orleans; the defense ranks ninth; and the special teams are first.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty even,” the executive continued. “But if you’re asking me right now who do I think comes out (of the NFC), I’ll say the Eagles. And not just because you’re from Philly. If you asked me a week ago, I would have said Arizona. Ask me next week I might say somebody else. Right now, it’s the Eagles.”
Arizona has the best record in all of football at 8-1, but also lost veteran quarterback Carson Palmer to a season-ending torn ACL. The Cards will go with talented, but inexperienced Drew Statton the rest of the way.
“That’s a tough blow, a real tough blow,” the executive said. “I love what Bruce (Arians) is doing there. I just don’t know if he can get there with a back-up quarterback.”
But the Eagles also have their back-up quarterback playing in Mark Sanchez, who replaced an injured Nick Foles (broken collarbone).
“Big difference,” the AFC man said. “Sanchez has been there before. He’s gone to two titles games as a kid. And he’s learning all the time. They’ll be fine with Sanchez. To be honest, they’re the one good team that could lose the starter (quarterback) and not have a big drop off. They might even be better. We’ll see.”