Who Had It Better?

Posted: June 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 49 Comments »

Andy Reid took over the Eagles in 1999. The team was coming off a 3-13 season. Chip Kelly is taking over the team after a 4-12 season. Which coach inherited a better situation?


WR Charles Johnson
WR Torrance Small
TE Jed Weaver / Jamie Asher (Asher got hurt, missed the year)
FB Kevin Turner
RB Duce Staley
QB Doug Pederson / Donovan McNabb
LT Tra Thomas
LG Doug Brzezinski
OC Steve Everitt
RG Jeff Dellenbach
RT Lonnie Paleilei

DE Mike Mamula
DT Hollis Thomas
DT Steve Martin
DE Greg Jefferson
SLB James Darling
MLB Jeremiah Trotter
WLB William Thomas
SS Tim Hauck
FS Brian Dawkins
CB Troy Vincent
CB Bobby Taylor

P Sean Landeta
PK Norm Johnson
RS Allen Rossum

Key backups:

CB Al Harris
TE Chad Lewis
PK David Akers
FB Cecil Martin
DL Brandon Whting
SS Damon Moore
OL John Welbourn (tore ACL in season opener)
DE Hugh Douglas (missed most of year due to injury)


WR DeSean Jackson
WR Jeremy Maclin
TE Brent Celek
TE James Casey
RB LeSean McCoy
QB Vick/Foles
LT Jason Peters
LG Evan Mathis
OC Jason Kelce
RG Todd Herremans
RT Lane Johnson

OLB Trent Cole
DE Fletcher Cox
NT Isaac Sopoaga
DE Cedric Thornton
OLB Connor Barwin
ILB Mychal Kendricks
ILB DeMeco Ryans
SS Patrick Chung
FS Nate Allen
CB Bradley Fletcher
CB Cary Williams

P Donnie Jones
PK Alex Henery
RS Brandon Boykin / Damaris Johnson

Key Backups:

TE Zach Ertz
RB Bryce Brown
LB Brandon Graham
QB Matt Barkley
CB Brandon Boykin
WR Damaris Johnson

There is no question that the 1999 secondary was infinitely better. Aside from them, I really prefer the current team.

The QB situation is awkward. McNabb became a great player, but wasn’t a great rookie. The 2013 QBs should be better than the 1999 QBs based on those specific years.

The other tricky part of this is projecting young/new players. Guys like Arrelious Benn, Vinny Curry and Riley Cooper could thrive in the new system or they could struggle. We know how things went for players in 1999, as well as their future.

So which group do you like more?

* * * * *

The final thought here is this…how good did Rich Kotite have it when he took over in 1991? He had Gang Green plus Keith Byars, Keith Jackson, Randall, Jim McMahon, Barnett, Williams and Heath Sherman. Wow.



49 Comments on “Who Had It Better?”

  1. 1 T_S_O_P said at 3:37 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Kotite definitely had it best, if only Ryan had of done worse in his final season as an Eagle, then they could of avoided being scheduled against the Packers. By avoiding the Packers, they avoid the Paup incident and win then win the SB with RC at the helm. There are so many universes where the name Brad Goebel means nothing to Eagles fans.

  2. 2 cliff henny said at 6:21 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    the game RC went down, has to be the single worst day in my sporting life, as fan, participant, family member, everything/anything. was never so crushed.

  3. 3 MediaMike said at 6:40 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Dude, that 91 D was the best in the history of the NFL. I cannot say it enough times to Bears, Steelers, and Ravens fans. What really irked me that season while the Eagles D was putting up the best yardage numbers over a 16 game season ever seen in this league, was that Dan Dierdorf had the nerve to claim the Skins D was better that year. I hope Dan Dierdorf dies in a pile of his own filth after being beaten to death by Seth Joyner, Byron Evans, and Wes Hopkins.

  4. 4 tball_man said at 9:54 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    I concur. Will never forget where I was the moment seeing the Bryce Paup play. My first major philly sports disappointment. snatched away.

  5. 5 dislikedisqus said at 8:46 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Sad thing is Kotite was an improvement over Buddy because he let Carson run the D and Carson was a lot smarter than Buddy. And he did not ignore the offense.

  6. 6 T_S_O_P said at 2:39 AM on June 24th, 2013:

    He hired Carson. Carson stopped the gambling which is why they were a much better pass D under him. He valued a PBU a lot more, whereas before the DBs had licence to ballhawk whatever the consequence. Though early in his Philly reign, Ryan preceded over the worst ranked pass D in the league. Twice!

  7. 7 T_S_O_P said at 3:41 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    On the Trotter that Reid inherited, is he really any different than Vinny Curry.? Some of Trotter’s success is because JJ put in a better position to succeed following a wasted (6 tackle) rookie season.

  8. 8 TommyLawlor said at 5:19 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Very good comparison.

  9. 9 MediaMike said at 6:35 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Trotter was VERY limited as a football player. I loved him on blitzes, but his key and diagnose was too fast to the wrong hole at almost every turn. Trot cost us huge chunks of yardage with his poor reading of the correct hole on run plays and often left HUGE cutback lanes open. If I ever had the chance to vote on an all overrated Eagle list, Trotter would be my top pick. Great character, somewhat above average football player.

  10. 10 Alex Karklins said at 3:48 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    I think Kelly has it much better from a personnel standpoint. Trotter and Dawk were relatively unknown back then, and Johnson and Small were terrible receivers. O-line left a lot to be desired as well. What I wouldn’t give for Vincent/Taylor today, though . . .

  11. 11 A_T_G said at 5:07 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Chip definitely has it better. The team Andy inherited was at least 15 years away from winning the SB. No way it will take Chip that long.

  12. 12 TommyLawlor said at 5:19 PM on June 23rd, 2013:


  13. 13 jshort said at 5:37 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Think we’d be talking about this if Jim Johnson were still alive?

  14. 14 MediaMike said at 6:36 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    JJ got his lunch eaten by Gruden in the 2002 season playoffs, so lets not put him too far up on a pedestal.

  15. 15 TommyLawlor said at 8:00 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    @ ATG… I posted this on Twitter and it got a good response. You should be getting a royalties check in the mail. Probably will cover 1/32nd of a cent. Maybe more.

  16. 16 Richard O'Connor said at 5:11 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    AR had McNabb, even though he was a rookie he was #2 overall and the clear guy moving forward. I don’t think that can be undervalued.

    The organization as a whole is better today, but without a signal caller (and the Eagles don’t have one going into camp) you’re never in a better position than a team that has one.

  17. 17 P_P_K said at 5:47 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Not only was McNabb a blue chip draft pick, he was also Reid’s guy. Chip doesn’t have a qb in whom he’s fully vested.

  18. 18 TommyLawlor said at 8:00 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    GJ KINNE!!!

  19. 19 P_P_K said at 9:59 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Both Kinne and Mike Kafka were released from teams, at least in part, to make room on the roster for Tim Tebow. I guess neither guy had a prayer.

  20. 20 TommyLawlor said at 10:36 AM on June 24th, 2013:

    Nicely done.

  21. 21 GEagle said at 6:06 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    In fairness we real,y have no clue what Chip thinks of our QBs at the moment. he could be enamored with one, yet still believe in competing. Just cause none of our QBs were drafted in the 1st round by Chip, it doesn’t necessarily mean that “his guy” can’t emerge from the group. Most of the quotes we got from Chip about Foles, Vick came predraft. Alot has happened since then. a lot of practices that media wasn’t privy to, a lot of meetings…for all we know, Chip could not have any confidence in this group and just be trying to get through the year, or he could have a QB on this roster that he has a lot of faith in being to build around. We just don’t know. He may really like someone but want to see how he handles a camp battle. Nothing wrong with that….we really don’t know how he views these QBs…

  22. 22 Mitchell said at 5:33 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    I wish I was old enough back then to appreciate guys like Vincent and Taylor. I feel like I’ve been scared with the last couple years of cb play. It has to get better this year right!?!

    P.s.- Tommy I can’t remember if you did a break down on some of the latter round picks and UDFA’s, but would love to hear more about Poyer and Knott. Perhaps some more in depth coverage during training camp?

  23. 23 Dominik said at 6:18 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Poyer is very interesting for me, too. I can’t really believe that a CB who was ranked 3rd, 4th or 5th round material, is there at the end of the 7th round without any reason. The argument you hear most of the time is his vertical leap and the bar incident.

    It’s terrible to speculate with no foundation, but I really believe that there are some character issues that the public doesn’t know about, but NFL Scouts did. No huge issues, but maybe the coaches at Oregon State didn’t talk well about his work ethic or something like that. Whatever it is, I think it can be fixed, since huge concerns are generally known to the public. But I don’t believe that so many teams just thought: no, we don’t like the player – especially in rounds 6 and 7. I mean the guy was a HUGE playmaker at Oregon State, not exactly a small school with no serious opponents. End of round 7 because of a pathetic vertical leap at the combine and a ridiculous incident at a bar? Not a convincing reason to me.

  24. 24 cliff henny said at 6:27 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    he just had a really bad combine in a really deep draft. 3rd 4th round grades with his strength are little difficult to believe, but, yeah, sliding to 7th with his production was nice for us. pack this kid full of shakes and have the navy seal lean on him for couple hours a day, he could turn into something. i really like him as a safety, kid has great ball skills. nfl doesnt let them hit anymore, might as well put 2 ball hawks back in deep middle.

  25. 25 MediaMike said at 6:37 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    No, believe the 3rd round grade. Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan frequently discussed Poyer to several teams in that round.

  26. 26 the midatlantic said at 7:02 PM on June 23rd, 2013:


    Poyer: “I understand the game of football 100 times more than a lot of players do”


  27. 27 MediaMike said at 7:11 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    @ Midatlantic: Nice link. I agree with Poyer………….and he knows a lot more football than Gonzo, the “analyst”, who interviewed him.

  28. 28 Dominik said at 6:58 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Really bad combine? His 40 time is ok (4.54). And that’s probably the key number for a CB at the Combine.

    His leap is really bad, and that’s imporant for a CB as well, no doubt. But 4 rounds?

    You can say we got lucky and I’m really happy we got him in the 7th – but like Tommy pointed out in one of his previous posts about the Hernandez/Gronk situation, there are reasons a player falls in a Draft. The reason you see steals at any given draft is that teams/coaching staffs find a way to tickle out the talent and correct the weaknesses.

    With Poyer, I see one correctable weakness athletically + the bar incident. That’s not a good enough reason for me to fall 3 or 4 rounds. That’s why I was speculating about character issues, despite hating such gossip. But then again, a Draft is not science.

  29. 29 MediaMike said at 7:01 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    I just read up on the bar incident. Wow, quite minor in the grad scheme of things. It isn’t like the guy is Lawrence Phillips all of a sudden. I’m happy to have him on the team.

  30. 30 cliff henny said at 7:15 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    dont forget he could barely bench the bar! on field, kid can play, but then they sit around for 4 months and it’s all about the physical, and he struggles there compared to a very deep draft. if it was a lighter draft, he might not have been passed over. not mad we took him.

  31. 31 Mitchell said at 9:55 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Like I’ve said before there is no way an NFL program can’t get his vert higher and his speed greater. There is just no way. As long as he works he will be good

  32. 32 GEagle said at 6:32 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Forget Talent,,,Fiery, tough, fighting, competitors will Always be better than Soft Quitters…It was so bad I don’t think it’s possible not to improve. just effort will make a world of a diffence

  33. 33 Insomniac said at 8:04 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Kurt Coleman? I’m pretty sure everyone is sick of his play on the football field though.

  34. 34 P_P_K said at 10:01 AM on June 24th, 2013:

    I’m going out on a limb here to say that I’m hoping this will be the year Kurt gets it together. Sure he has plenty of shortcomings, but he’s also shown flashes of good play and physical toughness. Maybe with some good coaching he can become an asset.

  35. 35 Mitchell said at 9:58 PM on June 23rd, 2013:


  36. 36 micksick said at 6:14 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    honestly based on those 2 rosters, the offense is WAY better then the O reid started out with. But reid defense was way better then what kelly will start with..

  37. 37 GEagle said at 6:27 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Kelly’s front 7 is better than Reids. Demeco cancels out trot, and the rest of the 2013’s front 7 is probably better..Andy’s secondary was epic

  38. 38 MediaMike said at 6:37 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Demeco trumps Trot.

  39. 39 micksick said at 7:49 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    secondary was epic(great) exactly, and the DL was good. that cancels out good DL and horribly epic(Terrible) secondary

  40. 40 GEagle said at 6:26 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    I think Chip inherited a much more talented team except for the secondary..Yes McNabb was a top QB, but if we are comparing Andy’s first year to Chips, then it’s possible that the 2013 Eagles have better Qb play then Andy’s first year. I wouldn’t bet on it, but it’s definitely possible

  41. 41 dislikedisqus said at 8:45 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    Pretty cool. I can’t recognize half the linemen in 99. What an awful roster. Yeah, it’s not a close call. Reid was a great coach early on. But he reverted to the mean and stayed there.

  42. 42 Flyin said at 10:45 PM on June 23rd, 2013:

    I have to go with the current group. I didn’t have the knowledge I have now.

  43. 43 Miami_Adam said at 1:04 AM on June 24th, 2013:

    The way I look at it, who are the top 5 players between both teams? I got Dawk, Don, Troy, Peters, and Bobby Taylor. Maybe Cox is 6.

    I think nearly top to bottom this ’13 team is better, but if 4 of the top 5 players are on the ’99 team, it’s hard to call the ’13 team better. AR came into some serious talent to build around.

  44. 44 Iskar36 said at 2:06 AM on June 24th, 2013:

    If the question is which roster is better, I think you have to start with the question of what is/was the expectation and goal for the season. I think in both cases it was to implement AR/CK’s system and build a team that can be competitive for multiple years and compete for a Super Bowl in the future. In neither case do I think in the first year, the coaches goal was/is to win a Super Bowl immediately. With that in mind, I think you can’t look at the two rosters and simply say one was better than the other. You have to look at the two rosters and decide which one has the players you can build a foundation around.

    To me, I think that really gives AR the slight edge for one simple reason. I think talent-for-talent, the roster is better now than it was when AR first became coach, but the most important question on any football team, who is the QB to build around, had a very firm answer with AR but not with CK. AR was fortunate to come on to a team that had a high pick in a draft that at least was perceived to be full of talented QBs. He got to pick his guy and build his team around his guy. Chip Kelly had the high pick, but there was no QB worth taking. The rest of the offense has better talent right now, but that talent will be somewhat wasted without a solid QB, and even without knowing how good McNabb would become, I think it is very fair to say the future expectations with McNabb in 1999 were much higher than the current expectations of any of the QBs on the current roster.

    Having said that, if Chip Kelly finds a franchise QB, either in Foles or Barkley (Vick may outplay both of them, but I don’t think you can consider him a franchise QB at his age), he will have inherited a much better situation, but unlike with the 2nd overall pick, I don’t think you can expect that out of either guy.

  45. 45 Gary Barnes said at 2:07 AM on June 24th, 2013:

    I may be confused, but how did Reid inherit McNabb? He drafted him…seems like some are stating 5 was given to Reid along with Dawk, Tra etc. Also for the top players inherited by Reid or Kelly, I’d vote for:

    Reid: Dawk, Tra, Vincent, Hugh, Taylor, Staley would be my top 6

    Kelly: Peters, DJax, McCoy, Cole, Ryans, Vick would be my top 6

    Both made some very good additions within short order with the obvious caveat that Kelly has had only one draft….i.e. McNabb, Runyan, Akers and Barwin, Williams and Barkley (yes I’m predicting he succeeds here) respectively.

    Both came in as acknowledged offensive gurus although neither had been an NFL HC. Reid hired JJ and let him engineer the D and retained Harbaugh for ST. We do not know about Kelly’s choices yet, but I believe the success or failure of the D & ST (as it would on any NFL team) will determine Kelly’s achievements as a HC of the Eagles. I think we know the offense will likely be as good as Reid’s if not slightly more consistent.

  46. 46 Iskar36 said at 2:10 AM on June 24th, 2013:

    AR inherited the 2nd overall pick in a draft that was supposedly loaded with talented QBs (turns out that wasn’t really the case, but at the very least, there was a QB worth taking 2nd overall). So yes, he drafted McNabb, but that wouldn’t have been possible without inheriting the pick in the first place.

  47. 47 Gary Barnes said at 5:51 PM on June 24th, 2013:

    I guess in a twisted logic, I get that but it seems to be a backhanded way to poke at Reid…Reid made a fantastic pick with McNabb and 5 was not only a departure from what the “experts” were saying Couch/Smith would be the studs, but in Reid’s own city he had the idiot Mayor campaigning for a RB and morons at the draft who booed McNabb…

    So, sure he had the pick, but many teams have high picks and screw it up repeatedly whereas Reid hit it out of the park. He was not given that at all, he earned it

  48. 48 Iskar36 said at 6:32 PM on June 24th, 2013:

    That’s fair, although I guess I was not really trying to poke at Reid by any means. He absolutely made a great pick with McNabb. Maybe the best way of expressing it is AR was given the opportunity to draft a franchise QB. That same opportunity was not given to CK. For AR, there were several very talented QBs to pick from at the top of the draft. All of whom at the time you could make a very reasonable case for as a #2 overall pick. AR picked the right guy, so he did do a good job at that. That being said, there was no QB in this draft that was worth that early of a pick.

    So in other words, AR did benefit from being in the right place at the right time. He inherited that situation. He did the right thing with it, but McNabb was on a relatively short list of potential logical options.

  49. 49 Steve said at 7:39 AM on June 24th, 2013:

    Is it just me or do these two rosters look like flip images of each other?

    If on one roster you’ve got a rookie/JAG, on the other you’ve got a stud/pro-bowler, with middle-tier guys more or less canceling each other out.

    Now I’m hoping for an 11-5 season