The Eagles have quite an explosive offense as they head into the 2011 season. They have playmakers all over the field, and will definitely put a lot of points on the board.
Although they have a lot of weapons now, they’ve had plenty of gifted players on the offensive side of the ball throughout their history. They’ve come from a variety of different positions, but each has made an impact while in Philadelphia.
Let’s take a look back at some of the most explosive offensive players in Eagles history.
10. Michael Vick
Michael Vick has been making big plays in the NFL for a long time now. However, he hasn’t been doing it in an Eagles jersey for all that long.
Last season, we saw that Vick fully removed all the rust put on while he served his prison sentence. After taking over as the starting quarterback, Vick reinstated himself as one of the most explosive quarterbacks in the league.
The things he can do with his legs are tremendous, and the way he can effortlessly throw the deep ball is just scary.
As time goes on, I’m sure Vick will make a lot more plays for the Birds and definitely be remembered for them.
9. Mike Quick
Mike Quick spent nine seasons with the Eagles, making it to the Pro Bowl five consecutive times. During his career with the Birds, Quick never had a season in which he averaged less than 15 yards per reception.
After limited time his rookie season, Quick blossomed in his second year and never looked back. He was never a stranger to catching the football and landing in the end zone.
Of course, the most memorable play of Quick’s career came with the Eagles backed up on their own one yard line. This is where no team wants to be, but Ron Jaworski put the ball in Quick’s hands and he did the rest, dashing down the field for a 99 yard touchdown.
8. Harold Carmichael
Although there have been a lot of talented receivers in the NFL who were on the shorter side, it’s hard to look past the NFL’s tallest receiver of all-time, Harold Carmichael.
Carmichael spent 13 seasons with the Eagles, ending his career with a total of 589 receptions for 8,978 yards while scoring 79 touchdowns.
Defenders had a tough time stopping him in a number of ways. To begin, it was damn near impossible to get higher in the air than Carmichael with his 6′ 8″ build. Even when catching short passes, he was still a menace. His long stride would break right through defenders arms and it often took multiple defenders to bring him down.
The people of Philadelphia loved Carmichael both for things he did on and off the field, and he’ll be a player that will always be remembered in Eagles history.
7. Steve Van Buren
Although he played way before my time, it’s impossible not to put a Hall of Fame player on the list. Ray Didinger described Van Buren as a “John Riggins in a leather helmet playing in the 1940s.”
When Van Buren played, the NFL season was only 12 games, so you have to look at his numbers keeping that in mind. The 1,000 yard benchmark that we look for in today’s game was not as easy to achieve. However, Van Buren eclipsed the mark twice, and missed it another season by just 55 yards.
He led the league in rushing four times during his eight seasons with the Eagles, and if you’ve seen highlights of him, it’s hard not to call the guy fearless.
He didn’t have the flash that we see in some players today, but he could run over linebackers and outrun corners.
6. Tommy McDonald
Tommy McDonald was another guy before my time, but has also found himself voted into the Hall of Fame. He also played in a time where the NFL had a shorter season, playing in both 12 and 14 game seasons.
In seven seasons with the Eagles, McDonald accumulated 287 receptions for 5,499 yards and 66 touchdowns. Those are pretty impressive numbers given the shorter amount of games.
He wasn’t necessarily the biggest guy, but he was a fearless guy. McDonald was known as one of the last players to not wear a face mask. It may not have been the smartest move as he ended up having his jaw broken.
McDonald was the type of guy that fits the Eagles bill perfectly. He was a tough player, and fit in here so well, that he decided to stay in the Philadelphia area after his football career was over.
5. Randall Cunningham
No one can scramble like Randall right? Sure, he may not have put up the most impressive passing statistics, but he went to the Pro Bowl three times with the Eagles and was fun to watch.
Cunningham has some of the most memorable highlights in Eagles history and went six consecutive seasons where he rushed for over 500 yards, almost eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark in 1990.
The best season of his career may have come when he was in Minnesota, but there’s no denying that everyone loved watching him make plays during his long career in Philadelphia.
4. DeSean Jackson
I ended up ranking Jackson a bit higher than I originally intended, but this guy is just plain explosive. He’s been with the Eagles a short amount of time, but it hasn’t taken him long to make a ton of great plays for the Eagles offense.
Jackson is still young, but is one of the scariest players in the league today. He has he ability to catch the ball at the line of scrimmage and take it to the house, but he can also torch defenders and beat them with the long ball.
He may run his mouth a little bit and not always hang onto the ball as long as you’d like, but Jackson goes out on the field and simply makes plays. It will be fun to see how many more plays he makes before his time in Philadelphia ends.
3. Donovan McNabb
Whether you love Donovan McNabb or hate him, he brought a lot of success to Philadelphia based on his ability to make plays. He wasn’t the pick the fans wanted, but he came in right away and proved he was the right decision.
How long did he go without having a talented group of wide receivers? Basically his whole time in Philadelphia, but he still found enormous success.
Is it upsetting that McNabb could never capture the championship we all wanted? It sure is, but the Eagles wouldn’t have gotten anywhere close without him.
McNabb made plays with his feet and his strong arm, and he created a ton of highlights during his career in Philadelphia.
2. Wilbert Montgomery
During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Wilbert Montgomery did it all for the Eagles. He was a talented running back who was able to both run the ball and catch passes out of the backfield.
To this day, Montgomery is the Eagles all-time leading rusher, and did it all in just eight seasons, including two years where he ran the ball 45 times or less.
Montgomery wasn’t a big mover and shaker, but he had tremendous vision as a runner. He saw the field very well, looked for an opening, and used his speed to turn it into a big play.
He was a workhorse for the Eagles and was extremely reliable. During his time in Philadelphia, Montgomery made his fair share of plays for the Birds.
1. Brian Westbrook
What couldn’t Brian Westbrook do? To me, he was one of the most underrated running backs in league while he was with the Eagles.
Westbrook didn’t receive as many carries as other running backs, but that’s just how the Eagles offense works. When he was running the ball, he made the most of every carry and averaged nearly five yards per rush while in Philadelphia.
Of course, to me, the thing that sticks out the most about Westbrook was his ability to make plays out of the backfield as a receiver. He had five consecutive seasons where he caught at least 50 passes, including 2007 where he recorded 90 receptions.
Overall, Westbrook was a tremendous all-around back, and was one of my favorite Eagles to watch.