Timing is everything. Andy Reid was hired in January of 1999. The Eagles had the #2 pick in the upcoming draft. That draft was loaded with QB prospects. Reid was able to get Donovan McNabb and the rest is history.
Chip Kelly takes over the Eagles and also has a Top 5 pick, but the draft is not loaded with top QB talent. There are some players to like, but none of them feel worthy of a Top 5 pick.
Had Reid had the 1998 draft to work with, he’d have taken Ryan Leaf (or some other position). Had Reid been dealing with the 2000 draft, there would have been no QB. The first one off the board was Chad Pennington at #18. Reid had good timing, taking over the Eagles in 1999. This time around he and the Eagles aren’t in as nearly ideal of a situation.
Fans want to know what Kelly will do at QB. Will he try to keep Vick? Will he keep Nick Foles? Will he trade for someone? Will he draft someone? Here’s the thing to keep in mind…Chip Kelly needs a long term QB to get the Eagles back to where we want them to be, but that player may not be available this offseason.
The worst thing for Kelly to do would be to force the situation and reach for a QB. It would be better to keep Foles and see how he played in 2013 than to overdraft someone or make a trade for a player who isn’t worth it. If the right player is available and Kelly really likes the guy, Kelly will go get him, whether draft, trade, or free agency.
I think too many fans are assuming the Eagles will find a long term solution at QB this offseason. That’s possible, but not a given.
Kelly isn’t here just for 2013. Reaching for a QB could be a waste of time and/or resources.
Now understand that I’m not saying he can’t draft someone a bit early. Most QBs get overdrafted. The point is that Kelly can’t be unreasonable. Pick #4 has serious value. If there is a QB worth it, go for it. But don’t reach. You can find an impact starter there at another spot. As we’ve seen with SF and SEA in the last couple of years, you’re better off to build as good a team as possible and find a QB outside the 1st round if the right guy isn’t available. Of course you cannot count on landing Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick, but part of the point is that those guys have benefited from playing on teams where there is less pressure on them.
Remember McNabb in 2000? The Eagles lived and died with him. He was the offense. There were 5 games of 30 or more points, but also 7 games of 16 or less. The high scoring games usually involved big plays by the defense or STs.
Nick Foles had little shot to win games in 2012 because the team around him wasn’t good enough. The lowest point total by an opponent was 21. And we did win that game over Tampa, 23-21. New coaches will help the 2013 team be better, but talent upgrades are also needed. Whether we have Foles or Alex Smith or a draft pick or whoever…the overall team must be better.
I don’t know if Chip will find his stud QB this year. If he doesn’t find someone he’s smitten with, then use the resources to upgrade the overall roster so that when we do get a QB he’ll have that much better of a team around him. This isn’t a 1-year situation.
* * * * *
I’m sure you guys have a ton of questions about QB prospects in the draft. I’ll focus on them while down in Mobile. I don’t have strong opinions of the players right now. There are things to like about several guys, but also some issues with each of them. There may not be a guy to love at pick #4, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a QB to covet. Think about the final 4 teams left. You have a Top 5 guy (Matt Ryan), a mid-1st rounder (Joe Flacco), a 2nd rounder (Colin Kaepernick), and a 6th rounder (Tom Brady). QBs don’t have to be taken super early. It helps to have a franchise QB prospect to covet, but time has proven that a lot of what helps QBs to succeed is having the right coach and the right team around them.
* * * * *
Marty Mornhinweg is now the OC for the Jets. Good for Marty. That job is high risk, high reward. If he can fix that offense, he’ll look like a genius. Laugh if you want, but neither Brian Schottenheimer or Tony Sparano is anywhere close to Marty’s level as a QB guru. The good news for Jets fans is that Rex will push the run on Marty. Here Marty and Andy were both pass-happy. That’s kinda like having Max Jean-Gilles as my diet coach. “C’mon Tommy…one more pizza won’t hurt.”
Marty has a huge challenge, but I think he might surprise some people with the way he’s able to get that offense into the 21st century. I don’t think Marty will pull off any miracles and turn Mark Sanchez into a top QB, but I do think you’ll see definite improvement.
* * * * *
Todd Bowles will go to Arizona to be the DC for Bruce Arians. Bowles played for Arians at Temple and they worked together in Cleveland under Butch Davis.
Bowles is a better coach than 2012 would lead you to believe. He did a good job with the secondary in the first 6 games of the year. The Eagles were Top 5 (I think Top 2) in both opposing QB rating and completion percentage. DRC was playing well. Nnamdi had just played his best game of the year (vs Megatron). Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman were okay. Brandon Boykin looked pretty good.
Then Juan Castillo got fired and Todd got his job. This meant Todd no longer could focus on the DBs. Their play slipped, especially DRC. He played awful for the first month after the bye. Bowles also tried to install his system and that led to some blown assignments. Things actually got better for 3 games. Tampa, Cincy, and the Skins rematch were games where the defense showed some signs of life. Nothing to get crazy about, but enough that you could see Bowles had made improvement and his players were listening to him.
I know from the outside Bowles looks like a terrible coach, but that is circumstances more than reality. I think he’ll do a solid job for the Cardinals. He does inherit some quality pieces. The first time he sees Daryl Washington in practice, Todd might faint. He didn’t see a LB anything like that here in Philly. I don’t know if Todd is a legitimately good DC. I’m curious to see what he can do.