Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie had a bit of an unexpected reaction to his team capturing its first Super Bowl title back on Feb. 4.
“I spent time the next day really fired up about things we could do better,” he said. “I talked to Howie [Roseman, the team's executive vice president of football operations] I think two or three times the next day, and Doug [Pederson, the head coach].
“Every morning I completely enjoy the magic of this [accomplishment], and also every day it’s like, 'I think we can do this better. We’ve got to do this.'"
That sense of urgency has made its way throughout the organization. Roseman cautioned at the scouting combine that resting on their laurels would result in the team getting its “ass kicked” in 2018. They have made significant trades, cuts and signings in the weeks since winning the Super Bowl in an attempt to improve a championship roster.
They only have to look at recent NFC East history to know that success is no guarantee from one year to the next, as there hasn’t been a repeat champ in the division since the Eagles won four in a row from 2001 to '04.
They know the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Washington Redskins are coming for the crown. Here’s a look at what all four teams have done this offseason as the other three try to catch an Eagles team intent on staying well ahead of the pack:
Todd Archer, ESPN Cowboys reporter: Are the Cowboys a better team now than they were in Week 17 last season, when they beat the Eagles? Yes, but they cannot think they are done closing the gap on the Super Bowl champions.
After they failed to land Sammy Watkins in free agency, the Cowboys turned their free-agent approach to filling holes on the roster.
Linebacker Joe Thomas is not a replacement for Anthony Hitchens, who left for the Kansas City Chiefs, but he gives the Cowboys some depth. Jamize Olawale was acquired from Oakland after the Raiders signed Keith Smith, so they are set at fullback. Dallas also added Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns at wide receiver and still have Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, who is recovering from a broken foot, on the roster.
On the offensive line, they added Cameron Fleming and Marcus Martin and re-signed Joe Looney. The Fleming signing could allow them to move La’el Collins to left guard from right tackle, which could be a big help in their quest to be Dak Prescott-friendly.
Aside from placing the franchise tag on Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, none of the deals have big salary-cap ramifications. The Cowboys are in a position to set their draft board purely but they still have needs: linebacker, safety, backup running back. With 10 picks, the Cowboys can move around in the draft if certain players fall their way.
Jordan Raaaan, ESPN Giants reporter: Just based off free agency alone, the Giants improved slightly. Enough to close the gap on the Eagles? That is debatable.
They don’t appear to have comparable talent from top to bottom on their roster. It will take several years for general manager Dave Gettleman to get to that point.
But the Giants needed an offensive tackle in the worst way and signed Nate Solder. That allows Ereck Flowers to move to right tackle, where he will compete for a job and quarterback Eli Manning’s blindside will no longer be in jeopardy.
It’s not enough to consider them a contender, but it is enough to think they’re improved, especially if you consider they should get Odell Beckham Jr. back from injury (barring a trade) and they acquired a proven middle linebacker in Alec Ogletree. After a disastrous 2017, the Giants should be better.
Tim McManus, ESPN Eagles reporter: A top-shelf defensive line may have gotten even better with the additions of defensive end Michael Bennett and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, though Bennett’s legal matter clouds his situation. Assuming both players are available and healthy, they can provide an upgrade over Beau Allen and Vinny Curry, both now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
They still have to account for the losses of running back LeGarrette Blount, tight ends Brent Celek and Trey Burton, and perhaps most importantly, nickel corner Patrick Robinson, but they still have the second wave of free agency and the draft to address those needs.
John Keim, ESPN Redskins reporter: The Redskins have not closed the gap via free agency. They might have improved over 2017 offensively by trading for Alex Smith and then signing speedy receiver Paul Richardson. As of now, they have not improved defensively via free agency.
The problem with catching the Eagles is that their starting quarterback (Carson Wentz), an MVP candidate who missed the team's playoff run, will return. Philly upgraded at receiver (Mike Wallace replaces Torrey Smith) and bolstered the already strong defensive line with Michael Bennett. The Eagles can claim they’re better on paper entering 2018 than they were in '17.
Repeating that success will be difficult, which helps the rest of the division. But that's not a plan; that's a hope.
The Redskins' other hope is that they stay healthy and their young players improve. It’s not unreasonable to think this will, or at least could, happen. The Redskins did not want to overspend in free agency -- a tactic that produced a lot of offseason titles and little other success from 2000 to 2010.
But that's left them still needing other areas to come through -- the draft, good health -- for them to challenge the Eagles.