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Super Bowl or bust for Eagles

Published July 20. 2012 08:23AM

From the top of the food chain to the bottom, the Eagles want you to know they're on the same page and moving forward.

It's Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans or bust.

The normally cap-conscious Eagles kick-started the roll when they lightened up and handed contract extensions to key veterans DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Trent Cole and Todd Herremans. Equally shocking was the manner in which they drafted the best player available, not the best player one of the coaches fell in love with.

Juan Castillo, the definition of loyalty and symbol of being in over one's head, survived as defensive coordinator despite reports he had to be sacrificed by his boss.

Speaking of the boss, head coach-executive vice president of football operations Andy Reid strengthened his grip on personnel decisions while Joe Banner was exiled.

Reid now is the face of management. He's lost a significant amount of weight, talks so loud at press availabilities you have to lower the sound volume on the recording equipment, and is much more open than he's ever been even if that's not saying a whole lot. The outside marketing consultants seem to have shaped him into a modern-day version of the kinder, gentler Tom Coughlin the year he and the Giants beat the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. (Appearances may not be everything, but hey, Coughlin is a little better at using his timeouts.)

The pieces are in place, as the Eagles having acquired a veteran middle linebacker in DeMeco Ryans and a serviceable replacement at left tackle for the injured Jason Peters. Add the contract extensions as well as the possibility the team could add an experienced backup quarterback, and management has done almost everything it can to make a serious run at the Super Bowl.

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick says he's going to make an effort to protect himself from unnecessary hits and is knowledgeable enough with the offense to drop hard questions on his tutor, assistant Doug Pederson.

Vick recently got married and his three-year probation following a conviction for dogfighting charges ends Friday. You can read all about it when his autobiography hits the streets.

Gone are bad apples Vince Young and Asante Samuel. You need not worry about anyone on this roster inflating expectations, trash-talking or bad-mouthing management for playing fantasy football with Jeffrey Lurie's money.

Sure, co-owners Jeffrey Lurie and Christina Weiss Lurie are getting divorced. But hey, as far as divorces go, it's amicable. The Eagles confirmed it.

With Banner searching for his next great challenge, the days of creative tension between management and players are over.

It's all on Reid, Vick, McCoy, Jackson and the guys who got paid.

Keep all of the dirty laundry in-house, Reid has told his flock, and the family will stay together and win together.

Before the Eagles announced the divorce, Christina said she enjoyed her role as co-owner and that no, she didn't provide input into personnel decisions.

"This is the year," she said. "We've been there before. I think the team is really playing as a team. And obviously the thing we all want is a Super Bowl ring on our finger. We have a lot of faith in the veterans and the young guys. We're very excited."

With the talent the Eagles have, it's impossible not to be excited. Urgency, however, is another matter.

Eagles players are transitioning from an era in which they had to earn some would say grovel for their money. With virtually all of the key guys well compensated, will they play every play like it's their last? Or will they try hard, cash those checks and if it doesn't work out concede there's always next year?

There's something to be said for creative tension.

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