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Will This Eagles Season Be for the Birds?

The Philadelphia Eagles need to get back to their winning ways.

The expression "for the birds" means "worthless," "useless," "unreliable," "unacceptable."

In 2011, owner Jeffrey Lurie could have described the play of his football team that way. This year, he's put Coach on notice that another .500 season is "unacceptable."

As the Eagles' 2012 NFL season kicks off Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, will they be "for the birds" again this year? It's hard to say.

The NFL is a high-wire act in which anything goes. The New York Giants played sub-par football for most of last year, but caught fire in the playoffs and torched the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

You gotta be in it to win it, as they say, and 8-8 records don't get you into the playoffs (unless you're the 2010 Seattle Seahawks, which finished 7-9 in the regular season).

Reid spoiled fans with four consecutive NFC conference championship appearances and a narrow loss in the Super Bowl. But after last year, another soutbound season will be enough for Lurie to pluck Reid's feathers.

We can all envision Jon Gruden pacing the sidelines in his place.

Can the Birds get back to their winning ways? There's so much promise, yet so many question marks.

Chief among them: can stay healthy and actually play at a higher level? Since Vick played about three downs in the pre-season, that's hard to say. If he's injured, ? Did Trent Edwards shake off all the rust in his final preseason game?

Will Shady McCoy find running room without the mighty Jason Peters blocking for him? Can DeSean Jackson make the big plays again? Will the offensive line offer Vick enough protection so he doesn't have to leave the pocket?

The defensive line looks like a force—but if you get past it, will the linebackers and secondary hold up? Again, it's hard to say.

The Birds have a great rookie class, and it will be fun to see if the likes of Fletcher Cox, Bryce Brown, DeMarius Johnson, Foles, Vinny Curry, Brandon Boykin and Mychal Kendricks will fly high.

Playing Cleveland and Arizona in the first three games might help. And the Birds tend to get hotter come November. The Eagles might finish 10-6. Or 8-8. Or worse. It's a long season.

Let's hope the only thing that's "for the Birds" this year is a title.

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