Ed Kracz wrote an interesting piece the other day called “This year is really about 2015 and finding the one“.
His point is that the Eagles must have the right QB in place by 2015, whether that is Foles, Barkley or another young player. I’m excluding Vick since he’ll be 35 in June 2015 and I don’t see him as a guy who will make a smooth transition to aging QB that overcomes physical limitations by doing the little things at an elite level.
Kracz’s point about finding the right QB isn’t all that special. We all agree on that. However, he does raise the point about the tough situation that Chip Kelly faces. The more the Eagles win in 2013, the worse off the team will be in the 2014 draft.
The 2003 Steelers went 6-10. That gave them the 11th overall pick and they took Ben Roethlisberger. Since then, they’ve been to 3 Super Bowls and won 2 of them. The Bears went 7-9 and drafted 14th. They got Tommie Harris. They did manage to play in one Super Bowl, but have not been an elite franchise in the past decade.
If the Steelers had won just one more game…who knows what might have happened. The Steelers had a veteran coach and team in 2003 so they weren’t trying to lose for draft position. Things just fell their way.
Chip Kelly has the luxury of playing young players (and young QBs). He can lose and tell the fans and media he’s building something. That could help the Eagles get a Top 5 pick and put them in better position to get a franchise QB. There are no guarantees, but you have a much better chance up high than down closer to pick 10.
The flip side here is that there is something to be said for winning now. Vince Lombardi inherited a talented, but highly dysfunctional team. He made a QB change at midseason and Bart Starr became a fixture on one of the best teams in NFL history. Lombardi saw there was talent in place. He just needed to get them to play to their potential.
Bill Walsh spent a 3rd round pick on a QB named Joe Montana. He started one game as a rookie and then 7 the next year. Montana took over the team in 1981 and led SF to its first Super Bowl win. Walsh didn’t think of draft position. He coached his team to win. They were really bad in 1979 (2-14), but that didn’t land them an elite player that would change the fortunes of the franchise.
You can counter this by pointing out that the Colts have had the No. 1 pick twice in 15 years and came away with 2 franchise QBs. The Skins turned a bad year into a trade up for RG3. That sure appears to be a franchise-changing move.
Then again, the Super Bowl QBs from last year were a mid-1st rounder (Flacco) and an early 2nd rounder (Kaepernick).
Simply put, there is no distinct pattern to finding “the guy” and building a dynasty.
I would tell Chip Kelly to try and win. If the Eagles do win, then maybe that is proof that he’s got more talent to work with than some people thought. If the team loses, some bad players will be exposed and Kelly will have a high pick to work with.
I do agree with Kracz’s point that Kelly does need to find out about the young QBs. I don’t think you can force that, though. If you play the young guys when they haven’t earned the job, that can cause dissension with veteran players and it sends mixed messages to the team. After all, Kelly can’t preach competition and then give jobs to lesser guys just because they are young. If the season does get out of hand (and boy I hope it doesn’t), he can go that route.
The most convenient thing for Kelly is to have Foles or Barkley win the job. I still think Kelly will make them actually win it. If there is a tie, it would go to the young guy, but if Vick lights it up this summer, you either have to trade him (which seems highly unlikely) or start him.
Man, this is going to be an interesting season. There will be a mixture of fun and frustration, but I doubt things ever get boring.