With all the youth that now surrounds the Eagles, it is interesting to look at which players will develop into leaders. The Eagles have had some strong leadership in the past and have been successful because of it. Many of those players are gone, so who will step up in their absence?
Offensively, you always have to look to the quarterback first. I think that the young offensive players already respect Kevin Kolb and from what we’ve heard, wanted him to be in the position he’s in.
The offense is in Kolb’s hands and he will need to embrace that. He needs to know that offense better than anyone else on the team; he needs to understand what each player is responsible of doing on every single play.
I think Kolb has the leadership qualities a quarterback should have and is ready to run with this offense. Also, I think he may get some help from Brent Celek who seems like he could emerge as a leader. His on the field play increased in 2009 and I can see his leadership qualities doing the same in 2010.
Outside of Kolb and Celek, I think the Eagles will have mostly “lead by example” type players on offense. I think DeSean Jackson is a player that fits this bill. He’s a high-profile player but he’s going to lead by making plays on the field.
Defensively, you have to look to Quintin Mikell first. Mikell got to experience Brian Dawkins leadership first hand and has definitely seen the mold he should try to fit as a leader on defense.
There are a ton of new players trying to learn the defense and make contributions, so they’re going to need someone to go to and ask questions. I think Mikell will be that guy.
The return of Stewart Bradley should also help a lot. He is a natural leader and the middle linebacker position is a place that demands these type of qualities. I can see Bradley being the leader of the Eagles defense for years to come.
You can look at Asante Samuel, but I think he is similar to DeSean Jackson on the offensive side of the ball. He is a lead by example type of guy and although he might be very vocal on the field, he doesn’t project as a leader.
As the 2010 season gets closer and closer, it will be interesting to see what Eagles emerge as team leaders.