Earlier today I put a negative spin on the state of the Eagles. I don’t fully agree with everything I wrote in that post, but that was a legitimate way to see the flaws in this team and this situation.
The big difference for me is Chip Kelly. In that post, I described him as a question mark. I happen to believe in Kelly. I love his ideas and think he will be a good coach for the Eagles. Great? We’ll see about that. I want to keep my expectations realistic for now. I do think he has the potential to be a great coach.
A new coach changes everything. We talk about how Mike Vick isn’t a good decision maker. Yes and no. He’s never played for Chip Kelly. Just look at how Andy Reid helped him. Vick’s lowest QB rating in Philly is 78.1. That would have been his 2nd highest as a Falcon. He improved quite a bit as a passer since Reid started coaching him. Now we’ll see what Kelly can do for him.
Jeremy Maclin was an awful run blocker last year. One of the big reasons why…Reid let him get away with that. Kelly won’t. Either Mac starts blocking or he’s going to be watching a lot of Riley Cooper and Arrelious Benn on the field.
Having a new coach is like getting a new boss and a new teacher rolled into one. We’re all on our best behavior for the new boss. We get nervous about our job status. The new teacher comes in and tries new methods to fixing our issues. We’ve all had that one teacher that brought out the best in us. Things just clicked. Suddenly advanced algebra or Latin or pottery class made sense.
I expect Bryce Brown’s fumbling to be less of an issue. I think Nate Allen will play with more confidence. I think Mychal Kendricks will miss fewer tackles. I’m not saying Kelly can get blood from a turnip. He’s not going to turn Cedric Thornton into JJ Watt or Phillip Hunt into DeMarcus Ware. Kelly can’t make players more talented. He can work on their mistakes and he can motivate them to play harder/better.
I also think when we talk about the problems of 2012 that much of it snowballed due to the O-line injuries. The RBs had to create more on their own. The QBs were under constant pressure. Receivers were frustrated when the ball didn’t come their way. TEs had to stay in and block more than they’d have liked. The Red Zone offense was a huge problem. The Eagles were 28th in scoring TDs. In the previous 2 years, the Eagles were 14th and 16th in the RZ.
And turnovers. The Eagles were awful last year when it came to protecting the ball. Just take away a handful of turnovers and the team might win a couple of extra games. Many of the turnovers were caused by a porous OL.
There are plenty of issues heading into 2013, but I feel good about this team. The Eagles are headed in the right direction. QB play will be the key for whether this group is 6-10, 8-8 or better. We’ll pick apart the QB in a month…when we actually know who that is going to be.
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I wrote about national football writers Mike Freeman and Dan Graziano yesterday. Dan responded on Twitter and wasn’t very happy with me. I won’t post all the tweets since the discussions involved several people and were awkward to follow. He felt I was “out of line” in being critical of him, especially my comment that he had an “odd dislike” for Kelly.
I will never write anything on here that I wouldn’t be comfortable saying to someone’s face. Okay, I might not make fun of Domo’s leisure suit to his face, but that’s it. You just don’t make fun of a man’s leisure suit and expect him to take it. That’s like family.
Both Freeman and Graziano are good writers. These aren’t former jocks that were given columns. These guys aren’t sensationalists like Skip Bayless. They are good, solid writers.
I learned a long time ago that if you put something out there for public consumption, it is fair game for criticism. I spent years writing on the Eagles Message Board. That audience was mostly great, but there were a few people who ripped anything I put out. It wasn’t real fun at first, but over time I learned that some people are just going to rip you. If it was idiots, you left them alone. Talking to them accomplished nothing. If it was someone smart or that I respected, I engaged them to discuss their criticisms. Sometimes that worked, sometimes I just wasted my time.
I know I’m not going to be right all the time. I know I’m occasionally going to have a bad day and write a column that doesn’t work well or is poorly written. You guys will let me know when that happens (or someone will). I’ll own up to it.
Or blame it on Jimmy Bama. Or Domo’s leisure suit.