Near future not so bad for Eagles

They have plenty of good, young talent to build around and make them contenders again as early as next season.

PHILADELPHIA

Brandon Graham has new life. So does Vinny Curry.

Trent Cole is rejuvenated. Fletcher Cox already is proving to be a big-time player.

Nick Foles, even on a night when he completed less than 50 percent of his passes in a blowout loss, showed many more signs that he can be a winning quarterback in the NFL.

Ladies and gentlemen, these players are just a small sample of the young, solid nucleus that will comprise the heart and soul of the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles.

So much talent already is in place, and add to that a fluid roster structure in the offseason.

I'm often asked "Who would want to even coach the Eagles next year?"

My only reply has been: "Who wouldn't?"

The right coach coming in with the right system could win immediately with this team, if not sooner. Even Andy Reid, should owner Jeffrey Lurie somehow talk himself into giving the longest-tenured coach in the NFL one more season to clean up the mess he's made of this season, would have a good chance of guiding the Eagles to the playoffs and advancing, something he's done more than any coach in franchise history.

By far.

Doesn't matter. Next year's coach will inherit very good talent.

He'll have a good, if not great offensive line with the return of Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans from injuries. He'll have a good, if not a great receiving corps with the return of DeSean Jackson to go with Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper and rookie Damaris Johnson.

He'll have four solid, if not outstanding running backs in LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk and Dion Lewis, who seem to complement each other perfectly with their varying skill sets, which are all extraordinary.

He'll have Cox, Graham, Cole and Curry, among others, on his defensive front; an ascending rookie linebacker in rookie Mychal Kendricks, who has seemingly found his niche on the weak side, next to established solid middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans.

If the Eagles decide to re-sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and they should, they will have as talented a cover cornerback as there is in the NFL as well.

And we haven't even mentioned Alex Henery, who's already broken some franchise kicking records and is on track to break them all.

Fact is, the Eagles have plenty of good, young, hungry talent now, and those players are shining through the gloom of 2012, Graham most of all.

The third-year defensive end needed this long to get going, mostly because he underwent knee microfracture surgery less than two years ago. Now, with Jason Babin gone, he's starting. And producing.

Graham came through with 2.5 sacks in Thursday night's 34-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, giving him 4.0 in his four starts. And it seems the more he plays, the better he gets. Thursday was the first time he wasn't constantly rotated in with other defensive ends. He played almost every snap in this one, when the Eagles' pass defense was perhaps better than it had been all season.

"I feel more confident," Graham said. "I feel like I am back in my Michigan days. I knew it would take a little time to come and settle down. Now, I just go out there and do my job and try to do the best I can. Today was just one of those days [when] I felt comfortable."

His teammates certainly appreciate it.

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