True Progress

Posted November 08, 2013

Lost for some of us in the recent quarterback debate has been the actual progress of the Philadelphia Eagles as a whole. Most of us understood what we were looking at in the beginning of the season...a new coach bringing in new assistant coaches and new systems and schemes while trying to cover up some extremely poor drafting (a few hits the last couple years but way too many early round misses) by the last regime and a huge question mark at QB.

 I expected some troubles on offense mainly due to the fact that the Eagles would be playing quarterback carousel since they decided to bring back oft injured (and not very good honestly) Mike Vick and not seeing enough of sophomore QB, Nick Foles. Stating that I think most of us have to be pleased with at least having hope that Nick Foles could be Kelly's QB leading into next year. Let's not fool ourselves (and I know you Vick fans aren't) even though Foles has looked brilliant for the most part, that Dallas game has to have everybody still wondering what Foles will be in this league...hell, even if he would have had a great game against the Cowboys I wouldn't be typing that he has the starter's job locked up next year. We've all seen way too many QBs fall off sharply soon after being given the reins. Foles isn't going anywhere next year by his choice so the Eagles have time to wait this out and see where he is in week 17 (knowing Kelly he will look at all his options in the off season regardless). Another thing that seems to get lost (by Vick fans at least) is that Foles only has about 10 starts in this league and his upside simply CAN'T be overlooked and it never should have been in my opinion. Although Foles  success so far seems to have hurt McCoy's ability to find holes we all know enough about football to understand that if Foles continues to have success teams won't be as quick to bring the safeties up to help shut down McCoy. Even with McCoy's struggles he still leads the league so he still has a chance to win that rushing title that he so desperately wants. The big surprise on offense and the player who has found new life with Foles under center has to be Riley Cooper...the man has definitely stepped up lately and has shown that he can use that body a little bit and has enough speed to get the separation to go after the ball at times. It's nice to think that possibly the Eagles won't be reeling at receiver if Jeremy Maclin gets a good enough offer from another team and decides to walk. It's also nice to see the TEs finally making some plays and getting involved in the offense. The offensive line has been up and down this year, is showing progress but I worry about Todd Herremans...it seems the injuries are taking their toll on what was once the steady rock along the line. Unfortunately he was also a recipient of a going away present in form of a contract laced with way too much guaranteed money from Reid (as was Cole) so the Eagles may be stuck with him. As for Kelly I still think it's too early to get a true read on him. The offense has been putting up the yards and the points when the QBs have played at least okay but some of his play calling has been questionable to say the least and his decision making has not been consistent. We'll learn as the season goes on whether he learns from his rookie mistakes but I think we all know that some of the head scratching moves are what we will get with Kelly at times.

It's hard to suggest that while ranked 32 the defense is improving but we all watch the games...we see it happening (although some of us may not want to admit it). The corners are still struggling but they are at least tackling and making a few plays from time to time. Honestly, they are what they are...Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. They didn't come in with nearly the same fanfare (or huge contract) as Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie and you get what you pay for and in this case it is at least true (certainly wasn't the case with Asomugha). I'm hoping that corner is a priority in free agency or the draft next year...they need to get at least one starter in next year's off season. Earl Wolff has given me hope that at least one safety spot is taken and Nate Allen has shown improvement this year but is it too little too late being that he is a free agent next year? Ryans and Kendricks had a busy day in Oakland and have made some plays this year (although it seemed to take Kendricks a while to get going). On the outside Barwin has made some plays but Cole has had trouble with getting pressure and coverage. I think many of us would like to see the Eagles get that playmaking linebacker the Eagles haven't drafted in too long...hopefully Cole's contract doesn't get in the way. I'm excited about the youth and talent on the defensive line. Fletcher Cox is starting to show that he can handle the switch to DE, Thornton has been a pleasant surprise ever since the Eagles signed him as an undrafted free agent and his play so far has lessened the worries of not having Cox's bookend and hopefully Logan can show us why the Eagles thought enough of a 310 pound DT to use a 3rd round pick on him with thoughts of him playing in a 3-4 at nose tackle.

 

This season is pretty close to what I expected. Honestly if they had any semblance of a QB in either the Cowboys or the Giants game they could easily have won either and possibly both so I'd have to say this season is definitely moving in the right direction. The defenses two best outings of the year lost because of poor QB play but it was somewhat expected at the beginning of the year...it's just a shame the way they happened. No one should be too discouraged about all the yards the Raiders put up either. Besides McGloin the Raiders were all out there giving it their all against mostly Eagle backups and racked up a bunch of those yards (and their last 7 points). This year to me was #1- finding where they were at QB and I'm more hopeful now then I was in the beginning of the season (though still unsure) and #2 installing Kelly's systems and schemes and the players for the most part are starting to get comfortable. Next year will be about getting more players that Kelly feels will fit his style of play and filling the spots where players haven't made the transition and improving the roster. I think so far we are definitely seeing true progress.

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