Winston Justice

Suddenly, I need to get my somewhat annual blog predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles upcoming seaon starting against the Carolina Panthers tomorrow in Charlotte NC. As indicated by the blog entry title I am wrapping my prediction narrative around one particular individual. No not Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick. Not the Eagle legends of the past season such as Brian Dawkins or Jon Runyan (who might not be gone from the current squad after all. And not the Andrews brothers, one of whom we were hoping would fill in for the departure of Runyan as starting right tackle.

Because now, not Shawn Andrews, but Winston Justice is the starting right tackle. Winston Justice. Sounds like the name of TV Western hero or the main character of one of those high school football coming of age tales from some gridiron in America’s heartland.

Our defense is hobbled. Our skill players have a chance to perform spectacularly behind an offensive line that probably needs to play over its head. Especially Winston Justice. He wasn’t expected to start and the fact that he is is viewed by some as a reflection of what a tall order it will be for the team to be successful this year. He reportedly has a had a great camp. He struggled during his first season against more talented and better seasoned players like the Giants Osi Umenyiora. He is not the best or most important player on the team. The nature of the offensive lineman’s role is for him to play so well to get the job done his labors will be mistake free and thus go largely unnoticed by those of us viewing at home. Not knowing much about this man other than what I watch or read in the news media, I do feel that for him tomorrow will be a defining moment that will play a large part in determining how much success his team will enjoy this year.

Football is the ultimate team game, in which greatness is earned by way of the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts. Individual players need to summon up something in themselves that they may have forgtten they have always had. Winston Justice’s coaches are saying he can do this. I hope he can.
Good luck tomorrow Mr. Justice and here’s hoping you help your squad get off to a stellar beginning in the autumn of 2009.

Eagles 23 Panthers 17

As for the rest… (home games in caps)

SAINTS: Home opener and a W
CHIEFS:  Wins keep coming… W
BUCCANEERS: Another win after the bye week W
Raiders: Yea Raiders are that bad W
Redskins: ‘Skins always play us tough for our first loss L
GIANTS: Getting scared yet? L
COWBOYS: The game everyone can’t stop talking about W
Chargers: At least the weather probably will be nice L
Bears: The ghost of George Halas and that darn “Fog Bowl” L
REDSKINS: Revenge at home W
Falcons: Tough one on the road L
Giants: Are the Giants that good? And there coach is too L
49ERS: “Here, catch, Santa!” W
BRONCOS: Welcome home BDawk, but I think we still win W
Cowboys: Weren’t we just talkin’ ’bout the Cowboys? W

So okay, going in to tomorrow I’m thinking this is a 9-7 team so I fudged my week-by-week assessment a bit.  Hope they do even better of course.

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