In 2011 it was Dream Team. In 2012, Dynasty. This year the Eagles’ rallying cry is… more than four wins?
Okay, maybe not, but Jason Peters set the bar a lot lower than some of his predecessors, or even teammate Isaac Sopoaga, who claimed the Birds were going to “shock the world” after signing with the club back in March. Peters was not so bold when speaking to the media after the first full-team practice of training camp on Friday, but he did make one promise: the Eagles will improve upon last year’s record.
"I guarantee we'll win more than four games. That's probably the worst we could have done when we won four last year, but I guarantee we’re going to win more than four this year."
With Peters back in the lineup after missing all of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, that alone should be good for a couple extra W’s. After a dominant 2011, Peters was widely considered the best left tackle – if not the best offensive lineman period – in football. His absence had a domino effect on the Eagles’ line in ’12, even before Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans sustained injuries of their own.
As for concerns about Peters’ recovery, it seems to be going great. Now 15 months removed from surgery, he believes it’s 100 percent. That opinion meshes with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, who said as far back as May that you would never know Peters was hurt from watching him. From what we’ve been able to see at camp so far, I would have to agree.
Chip Kelly sounded very encouraged by what he’s seen as well. Asked about how somebody Peters’ size might be expected to bounce back from an Achilles, the head coach insisted there’s nobody else like him.
“I don't think there is a player like him in the world, to be honest with you, someone that big, that fast, that athletic. I kind of catch myself in practice just going “Wow.” He's 350 pounds, and he runs like he's a tight end."
"I think he's an exception to every rule. I don't think studying guys that have had Achilles injuries and saying, hey, that guy would be like Jason. I know he didn't have any ill effects when he was here during the spring, and he hasn't shown anything. He's not getting any extra treatment or anything like that. So he's been cleared 100 percent."
You can’t get much better news than that. Obviously we have to wait until the pads go on on Sunday at the Linc to see how he holds up in full contact, but what we know so far is promising – certainly good enough to get the Eagles over the four-win hump.