When the Philadelphia Eagles decided to part ways with Andy Reid, they ended a relationship of 14 years, it was the longest current relationship between one coach and one team in the NFL. *Belichick and the Patriots enter their 14th season together this year.
5 conference finals and 1 superbowl appearance in 14 years. Very good, not great. 9-5 on making the playoffs in 14 years. Again, very good, not great. For the most part, we saw a highly entertaining offense, and a defense that operated with swagger and emotion under Coach Reid. A very competitive team all around. But unfortunately for the Philadelphia Eagles and their fan base, they couldn’t find a way to bring home their franchise’s first ring, and in the words of Ricky Bobby’s old man, “if you ain’t first, you’re last.”
Enter Chip Kelly. Indeed, he has some big shoes to fill, (no pun intended), even though Andy Reid never won the big dance, his predecessors only made it to one conference final in 39 years prior to Reid’s tenure.
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So just what can we expect from the Eagles this year?
If it’s any indication of the type of football that was played out of Oregon the last four years, the entertainment value should remain high. Known for being an innovator on offense, Coach Kelly has many dynamic offensive pieces to play with on the Eagles. Most notably, number 7. Regardless of what anyone’s opinion on Michael Vick’s past social life may be, or even on his playing career, it’s undisputed that he is a gamer. Gone are the days of him blaming others for his mistakes, as are the days when his determination was routinely questioned. A large part of this is most likely due to the fact that he is older, and understands that his window for a championship is slowly closing. Only four starting quarterbacks are older than Mr. Vick, (Peyton Manning, Brady, Brees, Romo). With a bag full of offensive gadget plays, and a ‘high tempo’ offense being Chip Kelly’s bread and butter, it would seem there is no one more suited to run his offense than Michael Vick. DeSean Jackson would also seem in line to benefit from Coach Kelly’s wide open fast paced offense. He has steadily declined in almost every offensive category since his second year. If he can actually focus on football and not on his rap career, we could see a revived Jackson next season. McCoy is the real McCoy, regardless of who the coach is, the running game will continue to be a strength, as long as the RB’s don’t lead the league in fumbles again.
The Defense must improve. Too many times were there mental lapses last year. Blown coverages, missed assignments, and minimal big plays. The Eagles were tied with Kansas City for dead last on takeaways with only 13. Winning the turnover battle is a key ingredient to winning games. New Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis will be given the job to not only light a fire under the defense, but to bring passion and stability to a unit that has seemingly lost its way since the late great Jim Johnson and his much maligned, ‘cover zero blitz defense.’
With only two prime time games this season, both of them very early, the Eagles can avoid the national spotlight and go about their business without heavy scrutiny, which is exactly what they want for their new face franchise. A big name coaching hire, a big name QB, and a big and loud fan base should add up to another exciting season in the city of brotherly love.