Last season 18 new men were incorporated into the team, half of them on defense. The Eagle line is young, it is active and it is big and could get added help from this year's good collection of freshmen.
OVER-ALL: The Eagles came from last place in 1958 to a tie for second in 1959 and may still be on the move up. Shaw has built his club carefully to take advantage of the talented Van Brocklin's arm. With Retzlaff, McDonald and Barnes to throw to, Van Brocklin can score on any defense in the league. Shaw's aerial offense should be better than ever with improved running, and if the Eagle defense can patch the few leaks, Philadelphia will be battling the Cleveland Browns, the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the East.
COACH: BUDDY PARKER
1959 RECORD: W 6, L 5, T 1, FINISHED 4TH
1960 EXHIBITIONS: W 1, L 3
Bobby Layne is no picture passer; frequently the ball wobbles like a poorly launched satellite in flight, but it is always on target. In Jimmy Orr, Buddy Dial, Darrell Brewster and Preston Carpenter, acquired from the Browns, he has a corps of versatile receivers, and chunky Tom Tracy is a wonderful safety-valve target. The protection for elderly Bobby is very good.
Fullback has been the one real question in the Steeler backfield but John Henry Johnson and a rookie, Chuck Scales, who was discovered in the Pittsburgh sand lot league which produced John Unitas, provide two neat answers. They will enable Tom Tracy to return to halfback, where he is a dangerous outside runner and receiver and one of the game's best passing halfbacks.
Parker may have corrected his only defensive weakness by trading for the Browns' Junior Wren and the 49ers' Dick Moegle. They join Dean Derby, a very effective defender, and Tom Barnett.
The hard-bitten Steeler line was nearly impenetrable last year, should be about the same in 1960, although, like the Giants' and Colts', it is aging. Parker's defenses are imaginative and simple enough so that their execution is usually flawless. He has good linebackers in John Reger, Dick Campbell and Mike Henry but the three of them may be forced to come to the aid and comfort of the old line once too often.
OVER-ALL: For the first time since he came to Pittsburgh, Parker has all the parts he needs, including a strong running game, a superb passing offense and a good defensive secondary. Since incidence of injury as often as not decides championships in this evenly balanced league, a strong bench is a sine qua non for a contender. Parker, having picked up Tackle Dan James and gotten Jack McLairen back from the injured list, has part of one. If he can dredge up added defensive relief, then the Steelers might improve on 1959.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
COACH: FRANK IVY
1959 RECORD: W 2, L 10, FINISHED 6TH
1960 EXHIBITIONS: W 3, L 2