How Good Can the Eagles Be?

Posted: August 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 125 Comments »

There is a lot of optimism with Eagles fans right now. Chip Kelly has brought new energy to the organization. The offense has been fun to watch in the preseason. The star players (Vick, Shady and DJax) all look like star players. The defense…actually forced a few punts in the Panthers game. Special Teams looks to be the best it has in years. So just how good can this team be?

Brent over at Eagles Rewind, the leading hack in the Eagles stats world, offered his thoughts. He wrote a terrible piece, saying the Eagles would win 9.1 games. You can’t win .1 games. That sounds like something Jimmy Bama would make up. Plus, everybody knows the Eagles are going 16-0.

Obviously I’m kidding. Brent’s piece is excellent. And the Eagles will rest starters in Week 16 so I think 15-1 is more realistic.

Brent used a mathematical formula to come up with the 9.1 figure. Read the piece and you’ll see that his ideas are sound and that the 9 win prediction isn’t an ideal scenario, but rather a realistic projection. I’m sure many of you think he’s nuts. The Eagles went 4-12 last year. How can this group win 9 in 2013?

Part of the point is that 2012 was a major anomaly. The OL was severely battered. The offense turned the ball over in droves. Remember when Shady fumbled on the opening drive of the year? That was more of an omen than we ever imagined. The defense could not come up with takeaways. Then Andy made the change at DC and things fell apart on that side of the ball. And STs was a major problem area. 2012 was pretty much a worst case scenario.

2013 could be the same way in theory, but it is highly, highly unlikely. The numbers tell you that things should move back to a more normal range of good and bad. If that happens, the Eagles win total will go up.

Brent didn’t get into this in his post, but a major advantage of the 2012 disaster is that the Eagles get to play a last place schedule. There are no Falcons, Saints, Niners or Seahawks games. The Eagles also play the AFC West. OAK, SD and KC all could be bad teams. This is the NFL and we know some teams on the schedule that look soft will turn out to be good, but I’d rather have that to deal with than hoping good teams go bad.

I’d love to know how the other 31 teams view the last place Eagles. The Chip Kelly factor will get their attention, but opponents do see the team coming off a disastrous season and still having some question marks. We love to look at other teams as potential patsies, but it is awkward when you have to look in the mirror and ask if that’s how others see you.

I can see the Eagles winning the NFC East. This isn’t because the Eagles will be that good, but rather because the division is so mediocre. No team is loaded. All 4 of them have major holes. 10-6 could easily win the title.

While I do think the Eagles can have a winning record and do some good things this year, that isn’t to say I think they’ll be a flat out good team. The Eagles will be flawed. The defense needs work. I’m sure there will be some issues with the offense. You never know what will happen on STs. And Chip Kelly will be adjusting to the NFL. He will make a couple of mistakes, on gameday or in how he handles some of the crazy situations that pop up.

I do not think the Eagles will be a legit Super Bowl contender this year, but the team sure does feel like it is headed in the right direction. I know some of you would prefer a bad year to get the highest pick possible. There is logic to that thinking, but you never know where in the draft you’ll find your impact player. JJ Watt wasn’t a Top 5 pick. Ray Lewis wasn’t a Top 20 pick. Even good QBs don’t have to come early. Colin Kaepernick, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers are proof of that.

Chip Kelly can’t lose and hope for a  high enough pick to get the right player. He’s got to coach to win. That sets the tone for his tenure as coach. He and Howie Roseman will then spend next offseason figuring out how to improve the Eagles and turn them into a legit Super Bowl contender.

* * * * *

As an addendum to that…Kelly and Roseman will be tinkering with the roster this year as they try to improve it and find talented young players. This will be the first cutdown day in a while where the Eagles will be looking for help.

CB Richard Marshall was let go by the Dolphins. I do not anticipate the Eagles going after him. The team likes Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher as the starters. You can bet they’d love to upgrade, but Marshall wouldn’t necessarily be an upgrade. He’d be more of a lateral move. Brandon Boykin is set in the slot so Marshall would be the #4 CB here. That’s not likely to be a role he’s interested in.

Marshall did play some Safety for the Cards a couple of years back. I’d absolutely be open to bringing him in to compete there. He will hit and tackle, and he’s got some cover skills. Kenny Phillips doesn’t seem to have much of a chance to make the team as of now. We need someone to compete with Allen. Earl Wolff is okay, but is still a rookie and learning on the fly.

_


  • austinfan

    I think it’s impossible to project this team. Just too many unknowns, could be 6-10, could be 10-6.

    Sure thing, IF the OL stays healthy and McCoy stays healthy, they will be one of the best rushing teams in the league.

    Possible, if Vick really buys into Chip’s system, he could have a big year throwing screens and 10 yards passes and completing a high level of throws, with a few bombs mixed in. And Foles should be able to step in and run the offense if Vick goes down.

    Maybe, the DL solidifies, but I’ve got doubts about how much Sopoaga has left, Cox doesn’t look comfortable in two gap, Thornton is still inconsistent, Logan is a rookie, Geathers is a tease, Curry isn’t strong enough yet to be a 3 down player.

    Maybe, they get some real pass rush out of OLB, but Barwin seems more like Spencer, a dependable SOLB rather than a dominant pass rusher, and Cole and Graham are works in progress.

    Maybe the CBs settle in, but Fletcher has durability issues and Cary Williams ain’t exactly a fly on shit cover guy, Boykin has to show he can play outside for a majority of snaps and no one else has stepped up, though Whitley has potential as an outside cover guy.

    Maybe they find two starting caliber safeties, Chung seems a good fit at SS as long as you don’t ask him to do too much in coverage, but who’s the FS?

    STs should be much improved, no where to go but up.

    By the bye week, we’ll have a much better feel for this team, if they stay in contention, I could see a hot finish as Chip knows who can play and who shouldn’t stay.

    • EaglesTrolltheWorld

      At this moment in time, which positions do you project the Eagles spending the first three or four rounds on next year?

      • austinfan

        DB, DB, OL

        They’ll always be looking for athletic OL, if the OL is a top unit, this offense will always be at least top 10, no matter who the QB is (well, within reason, McMahon could tank it).

      • ICDogg

        gotta be a safety in there

        • ACViking

          Are there any Earl Thomas-types or, football gods be willing, a Ronnie Lott/Kenny Easley type coming out of college this year?

          • ICDogg

            I don’t know but H. Clinton-Dix from Alabama looks like a player.

          • D3FB

            Stanford Safety Ed Reynolds from Standford, Kelly knows him.

          • ACViking

            ICDogg:

            Remember the days of Bill Bradley — roaming centerfield for the Eagles in the early ’70s, and leading the NFL in INTs back-to-back seasons (first time that ever happpened).

            Why do you think Safety has become such a hard-to-find position?

          • D3FB

            Money. Corners make more money than safety. I would also argue that in alot of schemes safety is a more mentally difficult position.

          • ACViking

            Interesting. You say a lot in less than 25 words.

          • ICDogg

            A lot of bigger safeties would become linebackers, faster safeties would become corners.

            Also it is very difficult to evaluate college safeties to project their NFL abilities because of the types of ways they are used in college.

          • ICDogg

            Now everyone is looking for guys who have the speed to cover but who can also aggressively defend the running game, a hybrid that is difficult to find, but if they don’t have both qualities, offenses can expose them.

          • Jernst

            Exactly…safety is by default a hybrid position. You need to be able to cover like a corner and hit like a LB while simultaneously being able to mentally comprehend all the nuances of a professional offense so you can diagnose whether its a run or pass instantly and if its a pass understand the passing concepts well enough to play the concepts well enough. Put that all together, knowing full well that any mistake you make, no matter how small in any of those above areas, will be magnified since you’re the last line of defense and a mistake equals a long TD in a lot of situations, makes finding an adequate let alone elite player, extremely difficult. It’s hard enough to find a cb who can cover well or a lb that can tackle well let alone a physical specimen that can do both well while simultaneously having enough smarts to not give up long TDs just I’m mental failings.

          • Anders

            Not unless Clinton-Dix or Ed Reynolds take a big step forward.

      • A Roy

        Are you guys kidding? There’s gotta be a solid OLB in there early.

      • GEagle

        Colt Lyeria TE in round 1 from Oregon…bye bye Celek
        OLB (who is more OLB than DE)
        Safety
        Dline

        • Vick or Nick

          All depends on draft position but need wise:
          1. CB 2. Safety 3. OLB
          In general, need to address the D

          If top 5 pick, then QB or Clowney

  • P_P_K

    Vegas has us at 7.5 wins. Looking at our schedule, I’m hoping for 9-7 and will be thrilled with 10-6.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m taking the over on 7.5.

      • Vick or Nick

        If the Defense can hold opposing teams to under 20 ppg Eagles will win NFC east with 9-10 win season.

    • xeynon

      7.5 sounds about right to me. I’d take the under (my prediction is 7-9) but it’s close.

  • I Got Jokes, Calm Down

    I want da’rick rodgers or juron criner. another interesting guy is dorin dickerson seeing how chip likes athletic TEs

    • TommyLawlor

      The Eagles may look at adding WR help. Depends on how Salas and Shepard play the last 2 weeks.

    • Maggie

      What, exactly, does da’rick MEAN? Names are supposed to have meaning.

      • A Roy

        Not too sure what Maggie means, either. :-) Now Margaret, on the other hand, could be a pearl or a chicken. I’m thinking pearl.

      • I Got Jokes, Calm Down

        names are supposed to have meaning?? da funk does maggie mean??

    • theycallmerob

      Interesting who #1 is…..
      6/3, 217? yes please

  • I Got Jokes, Calm Down

    Wouldnt mind seeing a chris rainy signing, dont think it will happen, but his skill set in this offense as a 3rd/4th RB is appealing

    • Anthony Hart

      I forgot he was released. I would have loved to bring him in to compete for the 4th RB spot and to be a kick returner. I don’t know if Chip would want to bring in a character question guy like Rainey. Same thing with Da’Rick who has a boatload of talent but nobody steering the ship. Criner’s really intriguing, he made some fantastic catches his senior season.

  • aub32

    Thank you for bringing up the point about not needing a top 5 pick to find our guy, be it a QB, OLB, DE or otherwise. Besides, if Kelly really wants a certain QB we can always trade up using the 2nd round pick we get from Arizona for Nick Foles half way through the season. (I kid)

    • TommyLawlor

      The Cards do need a young QB…

    • GEagle

      Not funny…If Nick or Matt aren’t the future, it will drastically prolong the rebuilding process….nothing can help more thAn not needing to a draft a QB for the next few years

  • EaglesTrolltheWorld

    I haven’t seen much anywhere about CBs transitioning to Safety other than that they have. It would be interesting to see an analysis on at what point a CB should consider such a switch. I imagine sometimes it comes out of decline and finding a way to remain on a team, and other times it’s just a more natural fit. Your bit on Marshall got me thinking about it, and now I’m recalling Devin McCourty, who’ll be starting his first full season at Safety.

  • Jerry Goldstein

    This team is going nowhere with Vick as the QB. History is on my side.

    • GermanEagle

      The only thing you have with Albert Einstein in common are the last 5 letters of your last name.

    • Mike Cappelli

      This team is going nowhere with Foles as the QB. History is on my side.

    • JoeD

      Im with you.. This team isn’t going anywhere with an old aging Vick and this defense.

    • ICDogg

      This team is going nowhere with Jerry Goldstein as a troll. History is on my side.

      • xeynon

        Since when is making a legitimate assertion (albeit one that has already been made ad nauseam) trolling?

        • Michael Winter Cho

          Ad nauseam is a Latin term for something unpleasurable that has continued “to [the point of] nausea”.[1][2] For example, the sentence, “This topic has been discussed ad nauseam,” signifies that the topic in question has been discussed extensively, and that those involved in the discussion have grown tired of it.
          …….. that could possibly be described as trolling!

          • xeynon

            I know what it means (I was a classics major). But I think the people asserting “in Chip Kelly’s offense Vick is going to score all the touchdowns!” and the like have similarly grown repetitive. It has become a tedious conversation but that is not the same as trolling.

        • ICDogg

          just messin’ around… not serious

          • A Roy

            You’re too kind…

  • Weapon Y

    To simplify things, I’ll classify each of our positions in terms of depth. Depth isn’t necessarily talent. I mean it simply in terms of the drop off between the starters and backups (i.e. two so-so guys at the same position equals depth, one stud and a horrible backup does not)

    Deep: QB, TE, OL, DL
    Unsure: RB, WR, ILB, OLB
    Thin: CB, S

    Vick and Foles both look like capable starting QBs. Barkley is a project, but I think he did much better than people give him credit for. Shady is awesome. Brown has immense talent, but is truly still an unknown commodity. I can’t feel like he’s completely trustworthy after having two great games marred by turnovers and then disappearing after them. Polk doesn’t look ready to be a starting RB, but he could be eased into playing time. DJax can be a stud WR with the right attitude (and I think he has the right attitude this year), but there are no studs after him. Riley Cooper and Jason Avant can be serviceable. Damaris Johnson could be a stud, or just a guy. Greg Salas is likely just a guy, but who knows? Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, and James Casey would all be serviceable starting tight ends on nearly any NFL team. Having all three at the same time is a boon. Clay Harbor isn’t great, but he can be effective behind these guys. Jason Peters and Evan Mathis, when healthy, could be the best guys in the NFL at their respective position. Lane Johnson looks like he’s going to be a beast. Todd Herremans is up and down, but I don’t lose sleep over having him be a RG. Jason Kelce looks worlds better as a center this year. I loved watching him bury some Patriots defensive linemen. Allen Barbre makes such a big difference. He looked way better than Demetress Bell and King Dunlap at LT, and his natural position is guard. The OL wouldn’t miss a beat with him in. Danny Watkins remains a disappointment, but with so much depth ahead of him, we can afford to be patient and view him as a project. Dennis Kelly is another up and down guy, but I think he makes the team with the potential to be the starting RT down the road. The real question mark is at center. Dallas Reynolds struggled a lot last year, but did improve. He’s shown flashes of good run blocking ability, and I like him best as the backup center. The coaches appear to like Julian Vandervelde for some reason. That’s a real head scratcher in my opinion.

    Fletcher Cox is the only true stud DL. I feel assured that he will have a great year after the scare against NE due to a strong outing against CAR. Isaac Sopoaga is an aging NT who can be effective as a run stuffer, but generates no push in the backfield to threaten the QB. Cedric Thornton showed some nice stuff against CAR and could be a quality DL, but not a stud. Bennie Logan is a big reason why I say the DL is deep because he looks like a good player at NT or the DE spots. He looks like a steal. I’d love to see him become the starting NT. I’m a huge Vinny Curry fan. He looks great, both as a pass rusher and run stuffer. If the coaches let him play, he would be a stud. Personally, I think he should start ahead of Thornton. Damion Square will make some young guy mistakes, but he generally has good instincts. I don’t think he’s ready to start, but he’s a good guy to have at this part of the depth chart. Clifton Geathers has all the physical ability in the world, but I’m worried that he’s a guy who looks like Tarzan and plays like Jane. I’m intrigued enough to keep him, but not enough for him to be in the mix as a potential starter. Connor Barwin is not a stud, but he is a solid guy who doesn’t make mistakes. He won’t terrorize QBs, but he will put some pressure on them. He has very good, if not great, cover instincts. Trent Cole and Brandon Graham are the reason why OLB is at unsure. I’m a huge Brandon Graham fan, but his ability won’t be maximized in the current scheme. They both showed a lot against CAR, and while they will get beat in coverage at times, actually looked serviceable in the second preseason game. Chris McCoy looks like a diamond in the rough. He’s got potential. DeMeco Ryans is another solid, but not spectacular guy. He won’t miss tackles and he won’t blow coverages. He’ll give up short gains and he’s not a great blitzer, but he’s not awful either. Mychal Kendricks is the opposite: he’s hot and cold. He could become a great blitzer and great cover guy. If he doesn’t miss tackles, he will be a stud. He might have been the best defensive player against CAR after a mixed outing against NE. Emmanuel Acho is the reason why I’m unsure on depth at this position. From watching him in preseason, I feel like the dropoff wouldn’t be huge if he had to fill in for Ryans or Kendricks, but I don’t know a ton about him. Casey Matthews looked like just a guy, but I’ll take that over just an awful LB like the 2011 version of him. Jake Knott has some ability, but his instincts are bad. I’d consider keeping him, but would be nervous if he had to start. The secondary is where the Eagles are really thin. I would be shocked if Bradley Fletcher or Cary Williams turned out to be studs. They’ll give up a lot of short passes, but I haven’t seen them give up anything deep yet or pull a Nnamdi-Kurt Coleman play. Brandon Boykin is on the way to becoming a stud, but needs to fix those butter fingers (Butter Fingers Boykin?). It’s time to realize that Curtis Marsh is not going to merit that 3rd round pick. I was unimpressed by him in the preseason. After that, we’re down to Brandon Hughes, Jordan Poyer, and Eddie Whitley. Yikes! Hughes probably makes it due to his experience, but whew that is a thin CB group. Williams, Fletcher, and Boykin all need to stay healthy, or its panic time. Patrick Chung was a pleasant surprise so far. I can actually breathe easy about a safety, for once. The other safety position: different story. Nate Allen wasn’t horrible, but we’ve yet to see him make a great play. That’s better than last year, but I feel like he is going to get tested big time. I’m not on the Earl Wolff bandwagon. Not yet. He has some good instincts, but I’m not seeing that great speed we heard about. He’s a far better tackler than Nate, I’ll give him that much. Kenny Phillips has been disappointing, but I don’t think he’s been as bad as people think. Sure, he’s slower than ideal, but with how thin the safety position is, you’d be foolish to give away his roster spot to someone else. Colt Anderson is known for being a special teams ace, and while he definitely should not be a permanent starter at safety, has enough ability to justify making the team. I never want to see Kurt Coleman wear an Eagles uniform again. Ever. Put him on a boat and send him to Siberia and leave him stranded. Better yet, trade him to the Dallas Cowboys for some Funyuns.

    I’m not going to write about the specialists. There’s not supposed to be depth there.

    • ACViking

      Weapon Y,

      Nice summary.

      But a suggestion: Please use paragraph breaks. Much easier to read, given the length and substance.

      • Weapon Y

        Will do. My thoughts can be very long-winded at times.

        • ike kelley

          some good stuff, though!

      • A Roy

        He put a paragraph break at the exact point he came up for air. And then started in again. Even used punc.tu:ation. Food summary of where we are, but now we need yo figure out how to get to where we need to be.
        The $64K question is: can Foles or Barkley be the “QB Of The Future?” If not, there’s a two year draft cycle awaiting. First year involves losing some picks to move up.
        If we have the QB, we need an impact OLB and S and a shutdown corner. In that order.

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    I believe the offense most like the Chip Kelly offense from 2012 is Washington. If Vick is better than RG 3 from last year, then this should.be a top 10 offense, Maybe top5
    Even if Vick is not as good:
    !Shady >Morris
    Jackson>any Was receiver
    2013 OL>2012 Was OL
    Chip Kelly as OC > Mike.and Kyle Shanahan
    Maybe subjective, but this is a great part of the reason I’m bullish on 2013 for the Eagles.

    • ACViking

      Xenyon . . . please respond here.

      Until he does, I’ll paraphrase what he’s said about Kelly’s genius-level offensive coordinator prowess.

      Kelly’s not coached a single regular season NFL game. Let’s wait before we crown him the next Paul Brown and send him to Canton after the season.

      • Daniel Norman Richwine

        I’ve said before I’m an optimist. I present things with an optimistic view and spin. Disagree if you wish, or make allowances if you wish, but I will always be an optimist. A rational optimist, true, since I base my opinions on history, but an optimist all the same.

        • ACViking

          DNR:

          I’m not disagreeing.

          Just saying — as Xenyon did earlier — “Let’s wait.”

          (This is not a situation where “we can’t wait.”)

      • xeynon

        You kinda beat me to the punch. Shanahan’s offense (and especially his blocking schemes) are an entirely different animal from Chip Kelly’s, and he’s also a proven NFL playcaller. Kelly is not. I’d add that while DeSean is better than any Washington receiver, I’m not sure I wouldn’t take Washington’s receiving corps top to bottom. Morgan, Hankerson, and Moss > Cooper, Avant, etc. The big difference is the quarterback however. RGIII not only put up a season that surpasses the best of Vick’s career as a passer as a rookie, he is also (at this point) a better runner and excels at running read option plays, which is a question mark for Vick. At this point in their careers RGIII >>>>> Vick.

    • holeplug

      Washington ran a lot stuff out of the pistol last year. Chip doesn’t use the pistol formation. I don’t remember them going up tempo very much (if at all) either.

      • ACViking

        In fact, if there’s one team that will milk the clock and pound the rock against the Eagles, it’s Washington.

        If the ‘Skins have success running the balll, the Eagles’ offense may have only about 20 minutes on the field come opening night.

        And if the ‘Skins are converting TDs in the RZ, it’ll be an very informative evening of football for all of us.

        Anyway, if I’m playing Chip Kelly, I’m going to slow the game down and try to create as many 3rd & 3s or less as possible.

        I never liked Bill Parcells — especially the Parcells-Belichick duo.

        But I’d love to see how Parcells, with Belichick, coached a game against Kelly’s Eagles.

        Maybe someone in the media will have the spark to ask him.

      • Daniel Norman Richwine

        Not pistol, but using similar concepts as Washington did. What I see is an offense which will use the QB in a very different way than we are used to seeing in the NFL, which is why I thi k so strongly that Vicks strengths will be emphasized and weaknesses diminished. Washington proved the concept can work in the NFL. Chippah was the most successful with this concept in college. I’m rationally optimistic.

    • Ark87

      I wouldn’t get too caught up in the ranks this year. Chip’s offense isn’t necessarily going to be explosive. The goal is to run a ton of plays, but the goal is to be systematic. How many yards per play vs other teams? How many plays per drive? etc

      In other words, the offense could theoretically dominate a game, eat up clock, wind defenders, etc, without scoring 50 points a game, or gaining 600 yards a game. The gaudy numbers come in when you get into explosive play shootouts, where 70 yards and 6 points come in one play in 15 seconds of game clock on a semi consistent basis (and the other team does the same thing, both teams end up with a ton of possessions and a ton of points). Think Sean Peyton’s saints, or the Packers, or the Peyton Manning in his prime Colts.

  • ACViking

    The Eagles could lose McCoy, Vick, and D-Jackson this year and still have a shot at 8-9 wins. (Reid proved you can win with average WRs if your QB isn’t a turnover machine.)

    The Eagles cannot lose Jason Peters again. I don’t care who’s the “depth” the Eagles have at OL.

    Peters proved last season by his absence he’s more important than the QB on this team.

    Allen Barbe is a nice looking training camp OT. But does anyone want to see him playing LT in the regular season?

    As long as Peters is playing, the Eagles are nearly guaranteed a 1st-down on every 3rd and 1 or 2 on any play run behind him — no matter whom the Eagles throw in at LG.

    Without Peters, the offensive mountain gets 30 degrees steeper. The Eagles’ O-line depth is fine so long as Peters is playing. Not so much otherwise.

    Can’t afford to lose Peters again — especially with this defensive backfield. Maybe next year. Not this year.

    • xeynon

      Vick and McCoy maybe, as their backups are good enough that there wouldn’t be much of a dropoff in production if they went out. But DJax? He’s the only deep threat on the team as well as the only guy with more than 50 career catches. Losing him would be a huge blow as no defense is going to bother keeping a safety deep against a team that’s throwing the ball to Riley Cooper and Jason Avant.

  • JoeD

    Isn’t it hilarious reading all the pre-season hype/hope/dreams. Only to have it smashed after regular season starts? This team isn’t winning 9 games lol… 8-8 would be amazing.

    • tj

      I agree. Too many variables with this team to forecast anything. Lets get a real win first and go from there.

      • JoeD

        Yeah, and I’m cool with speculation…But the “OMG VICK IS THE RG3 AND KELLY IS THE NEW BELICHECK.. CHAMPIOOOOONSHIP!” It just gets a little insane. Like you said, let’s get a game under our belt

        • ike kelley

          JoeD, you’re not reading enough of these Vick-the-starter comments.

          Kelly’s BETTER than Belichick because, with this new system, Vick’s gonna be better than Brady.

        • tj

          I’m convinced the Eagles have 3 segments of fans now. We have true eagles fans, vick fans who only got on board because of him and will leave with him and now kelly fans who’ll only root for the team because of kelly. Yeah, the first few games of the season will tell us more then any preseason ever will.

          • ike kelley

            Nice point. I think you’re absolutely right.

            But as long as it helps Tommy Lawlor’s hits on the site, I’m for it.

          • tj

            I love this site too! It’s the first site i got to every day. I would be lost without it. Lol

          • Ark87

            I welcome all fans regardless of why they came in, and hope they stick around for the long run. That’s the history of this team. We’ve picked up so many great fans from around the country and world, who knows what reeled them in and what keeps them around, but they’re greater fans for it. The passion is contagious, seeps through the skin and turns the blood green. The most notable fan that arrived with the Chippah on this board is OregonDucker. His knowledge of Chip and the game of football has greatly enhanced the thread, and I hope after Chip wins 30 superbowls in his 10 years here, and moves on, hopefully Ducker will stick around as a true convert.

            I welcome fans of all origins. If anybody that wants out, I’ll open the door for them myself. Don’t need anybody that doesn’t want to be here.

          • OregonDucker

            Thanks for the kind words Ark87. You see Duck fans already bleed green so it’s only natural for us to “graduate” to Gang Green. Besides this team has players with real character and talent – gotta love the commitment to excellence.

            And nobody messes with Eagles fans, something that cannot be said for most fan bases, especially on the West coast. Adversity can bring a community together or tear it apart. Eagles fans are tight when the chips are down. Means a lot to me.

          • Ark87

            You’ve always bled green and always been a birds’ fan, of sorts. Natural fit. Heck, between ACViking, Tommy, and you I got my sages of past, present, and future. Great website to come and bounce ideas/opinions/ questions around. The rest of us, we just got to do our best to maintain the culture Tommy set up here, a rare blend of passion, intelligence, and class as the crowd grows. You fit in just fine by my book.

          • GEagle

            I for one love the new ducks fans…learn so much from you guys, your insight is always welcome and appreciated in my book!!

            I’m actually jealous of you west coast fans..Yous get to watch our beloved eagles 3 hours earlier in your day…It’s a nice consolation prize for not being able to go to the Linc

          • OregonDucker

            I guess some Eagles fans are more holy than others. I thought Eagles fans were cool but I guess some aren’t.

          • ACViking

            You should have seen them play at Franklin Field.

            Very good times.
            And what ICDogg said.

          • ICDogg

            The best example of that when I was actually there was the Body Bag game. I wonder how often there has ever been such a hostile environment for an opposing team and its fans.

          • ICDogg

            As far as I’m concerned you’re very welcome here.

            And that goes for Eagles fans, Ducks fans, Vick fans, and every other kind of fans.

          • tj

            Didn’t mean to insult you or anyone else. I apologize if I offended anyone. Wasn’t my intention. The context I meant was that some fans comments could careless about the team and only root for an individual; regardless of what they do on the field. And when that player/coach leaves, they are no longer fans of the eagles. I was referring to the crazy comments some people make, not how you became a fan.

          • JoeD

            agreed

        • Anders

          I rather that than the doom and gloom you are preaching

          • xeynon

            3-13 is doom and gloom. Barring an absolute disaster scenario, that isn’t going to happen. But 8-8? That’s perfectly rational. The Vegas oddsmakers (who generally have a much better idea what they’re talking about than biased fans do) have this team pegged as an overachiever if it goes 8-8.

          • JoeD

            Yeah dude, It’s not doom and gloom it’s called being realistic… We were a 4-12 team , with no franchise QB (Despite what the 15 throws in pre-season tell us) new coach, limited talent (at best) on D and we’re taling 9-10 wins and playoffs? Come on. can it happen? yes, but to expect it? You’re a fool

    • A Roy

      With a healthy OL, last year’s team would’ve won…probably 7. This year’s team has been upgraded in all three facets of the game. Not upgraded as far as necessary, but upgraded. Looking at 8-9 win season…especially given the last place teams we’ll face along with a less-than-stellar NFCE.

      • JoeD

        Dude we had a HISTORICALLY bad defense..32 TDs through the air? Vick was awful, there were injuries to Djacks, McCoy, and Maclin, etc… They were NOT a 7 win team, in fact they couldve been a 2 win team easy…. Go re-watch some tape and see just how bad it was, it was bad.

        • A Roy

          Dude, I don’t need to watch the tape again. I agree that AT THE END OF THE SEASON they were one of the worst defenses I’ve watched. Teams, actually. And I’ve been watching a lot of years.
          That defense was exceedingly adequate for the first several games. Once Kelce and Herremans went down and Vick was scrambling for his life (Peters out pre-season), the turnover machine began and the D couldn’t handle it.
          With a healthy line, they would’ve won 3 more games along the way.

    • xeynon

      Prepare to be hated on for being a realist.

      • JoeD

        It’s actually pretty good here. Try visiting bleedginggreennation…holy God, it used to be an awesome blog, but now it’s all homers and if you post anything objectionable you will get flamed by at least 90% of the other posters… The funny thing is you can see the cycle>….. The offseason they predict HUGE unrealistic things, they get disapponted in regular season and want everything changed, act like they knew the disappointment was coming… and then come offseason they’re going to be champs again. ..rinse and repeat.

  • P_P_K

    I wonder how I’d feel if the Eagles go 3-13, but the 3 winds are crushing victories over the Cowboys(twice) and the Chiefs? I’d probably feel crappy, but, still…

    • JoeD

      Giants…. they have been more of a rival in the 2000s than the cowboys. give me at least 5-11 with two over the Gmen too.

  • ICDogg
    • ACViking

      Poetx’s premise that the Falcons were a run-heavy offense under Mora and OC Greg Knapp is FALSE.

      Go check the statistics for the Falcons during the Mora-VIck era. CLOSELY.

      In each of the relevant seasons, the Falcons called MORE passing plays than running plays. (Attempts+Sacks+QB rushing attempts.)

      Atlanta’s pass-to-run ratio was in the neighborhood of 52-48 — even assuming only 80% of Vick’s rushing attempts were called passes, rather than the more likely 95+%.

      You don’t get much more balanced than that.

      Plus, common sense confirms the numbers. Mora and OC Knapp were WCO guys. Passing’s a central part of that scheme. (Passes set up the run.)

      What skewed the Falcons’ data was (i) Vick’s staggering number of scrambles, and (ii) the number of sacks yielded by the Falcons.

      Bottom line — those damned stubborn facts don’t support the opinion.

      • Anders

        you cant not always just look at attempts (so many things go into that).

        But look at the yards, in each of those 3 years, they was the only team to average more rushing yards than passing yards.

        While it wasnt a traditional run heavy in that it ran out of the I formation 60% of the time. It was still an offense that could only move the ball through the ground.

        In a way the passing game was setup for Vick to go trough his reads and then take off if there was nothing, so the scrambles wasnt McNabb style scrambles, it was more scrambles as part of the design of the offense.

        • ACViking

          The rushing yardage for the Falcons was substantiall skewed by Vick, though.

          The Eagles led the NFL in rushing in 1990 because Randall Cunningham ran for 942 yards.

          But would anyone who saw that team consider the Eagles team heavily tilted to the rushing game?

          • Anders

            I never saw the 1990.

            You cant just look at pure RB attempts when the whole offense was Vick back then. You cant just take em out like you normally would because the whole offense was based on Vick’s scrambling. They were a team that could really only move the ball through the ground. They had nothing worth of receivers, Vick wasnt a good passing qb and the OL couldnt pass protect.

          • ACViking

            But the Falcon’s offense was not just Vick.

            Atlanta had RBs Warrick Dunn and TJ Duckett. Receivers Alge Crumpler at TE and Peerless Price, Dez White and Brian Finneran on the outside.

            The problem was Vick made the offense about Vick.

            And that’s why I think his performance this year is far more about his QB skills than the scheme itself.

          • ICDogg

            Crumpler was terrific but those WRs were awful. I think Thrash and Pinkston were superior by comparison.

          • ACViking

            ICDogg . . .

            Them’s fightin’ words!

            (CHECK back on the safety exchange, please.)

          • Anders

            Dunn was a good RB, so he does not count in the passing game. Alge Crumpler is the only one worth anything in the passing game.

            I agree with the last sentence that Vick needs to show he can operate with in the scheme and not let it be about him (just like 2010 was all about him)

          • poetx99

            i agree emphatically with you and ACVike on this. and i think chip is smart enough (and an older, wiser Mike is smart enough) to play in the scheme.

            problem comes when the scheme is insufficient, and then vick is left thinking he still has to make it work, somehow (ie, andy calling play action and slow developing routes with deep drops but no outlets and a line just as likely to let an untouched rusher through as to create a pocket).

            best case there is a throwaway (no hots or open stemmed routes on PA, or on the max protect the eagles ran most of the time). sometimes vick had to houdini two people to spin and take a helmet in the chest in order to throw the ball out of bounds and avoid a sack. maybe he should have eli’d in those cases (or romo’d).

            i’m confident that chip’s scheme greatly minimizes, if not eliminates, those types of situations that were routine for the eagles.

          • poetx99

            Peerless Price was utter garbage. the one year they got him, most of vick’s (relative few ) picks were on targets to him because he would constantly tip balls into the air and drop. finneran couldn’t make the eagles which featured pinkston and thrash, before andy turned his draft neglect over to the LB position.

            warrick dunn was certifiably great, and alge crumpler was great with vick, but then fell off the face of the earth with TN and NE after vick left. however, even as a big, not particularly quick TE (granted, he was excellent at route running and using his body), he was the only receiver on the falcons worthy of a double team.

            add to the fact that teams used to routinely spy vick with the MLB, and then on dropback passes, they’d run all curls, or all sticks, knowing good and damn well none of the outside guys could get separation (plus they telegraphed their breaks something terrible), with crumpler’s route taking him and the OLB and S to where the spy was. and vick would still, more often then not, find a way to drill the ball through a tight window to crump, who’d make the catch with two guys draped on him.

            and that was still the high percentage play, because he’d hit the outside receivers in the hands and they’d drop it. it was unreal. (remember the MNF game with the saints when vick through a would be TD pass to roddy white, whose defender had fallen down, and could have fair caught the ball and he dropped it? causing jim mora to drop to his knee on national tv and shake his head. that was like the 3rd or 4th drop of the night).

            that’s the passing game vick had to contend with in ATL. he had his faults for sure, but that was a truly truly terrible situation as far as talent, scheme and playcalling was concerned.

      • poetx99

        it was damn near a 2,000 word fanpost. i had to omit a LOT of detail for sake of brevity. i watched every snap of every game of the falcons from 2001 until the quitrino year.

        what i meant by run-heavy was that the passing game was extremely underdeveloped, and that kept them from having a balanced offense. some of the linemen were quoted in the AJC after Gibbs’ departure as saying that they hardly ever spent time in practice on pass pro, and almost everything was geared toward the run game.

        the passing that they did do was characterized by a high proportion of play action, and much of that off the stretch/boot combo, and the routes were painfully predictable. fake stretch to dunn right, vick bootleg left. finneran or michael jenkins on a clearout 9 (as the X receiver to the backside of the playfake), slam release from crumpler, who then ran a drag to the left, where there’d be two defenders in the curl zone waiting for him.

        Knapp was a WCO OC, but he did not have the creativity to extend or adapt it. the foundation was the zone blocking scheme imported from denver via Gibbs. arthur blank (and everyone, myself included), bought into the idea that vick could follow in the footsteps of steve young by running the WCO. the problem is that while knapp was capable of running the WCO in SF, where the whole team and personnel was built from the ground up for that system, he was not adept at adapting his passing game to the strengths of different players with different skill sets, and making it work as an adjunct to the denver style running game which ATL rode to leading the league in rushing for three years, but not a lot of points.

        that doesn’t excuse vick for his poor study habits in those days, but the playcalling and scheming was so bad that occasionally announcers would break the 4th wall and wonder, on air, who in the world he was supposed to pass to on a given play because there were no receivers open or even in the area.

        • ACViking

          Your bottom line, if I read you post right, was that Vick needs to show he’s able to maximize his skills without having to carry a team and Kelly’s scheme will let him do that better than anything in the past.

          I agree — if I read you correctly.

          To me, Vick’s problems in Atlanta were self-inflicted.
          ______________

          By the way, by “false” I meant only not accurate — the legal definition of the term. I regret any confusion.

          • poetx99

            we’re good. and my bottom line was that there were some intrinsic flaws in the abilities of the HC/OC regimes that went beyond vick’s own limitations or, really, the ability of any QB to overcome.

            there’s a difference in being a ‘caretaker’ OC (or DC) who can run someone else’s scheme, versus a coach who can understand the underlying principles of his schemes, other folks’ schemes, and make the necessary adjustments.

            if you look at the following, that i wrote last september, this is almost exactly one of the staple formations and plays that kelly has brought to the eagles and which has been so effective in the preseason.

            http://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2012/9/21/3368874/poetx-playbook-creating-a-fast-break-eagle-offense-1

            in that post, i explain everything about the formation and how it maximizes the abilities of playmakers in space, AND counters the number one tactic defenses used to attack vick (secondary pressure off the short corner).

            the combination of the formation, personnel, and use of the running game is what does the trick and reduces ways in which the defense can attack as well as even what they can run (try playing 2 deep against 4 wide on a team quite content to run up the middle).

            to me, that’s elementary, and looking further back, i wrote something similar prior to 2011 (because of the latter half of 2010 season).

            http://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2011/9/6/2408356/go-to-play-for-eagles-on-3rd-and-6

            maybe the advantage with chip is that instead of inheriting a system and adapting it over time (like andy did, making a more vertical WCO), he cobbled it together, pondering each part, into something truly customizable.

            btw, i always enjoy your commentary on here. your insight and history is much appreciated. makes me overlook that you went to AC.

      • xeynon

        Furthermore Vick was in his early 20s at that point. He was both faster and more resilient physically. These days he will not hold up physically taking the kind of punishment he did back then.

  • Stormbringer

    So what is the scoop with Graham now? A couple of years (when he was hurt) ago all you heard from most is he was no good. Last year, his first healthy year, he was the most productive rusher in the league per snap last year according to PFF but Washburn wasn’t enamored with him.

    Now he gets moved to OLB and is told to sit behind Barwin and Cole? Dallas wasn’t sitting Ware when he can’t cover Shady or Brown out of the backfield when they used the 3-4. He rushed the passer pretty much all the time. PFF has been monitoring Graham’s progress this preseason and he is still ridiculously productive including against the run (way more so than Barwin or Cole) and noted he and Curry made a super disruptive combo when they played together.

    I feel we’re going to blow it with him and not use him to his full ability and trade him for 10 cents on the dollar. :-(

    • ike kelley

      No one can question Kelly’s handling of Graham if they don’t at least question Kelly’s choice of Vick as starter for all the reasons Tommy Lawlor, Xenyon, GEagles, and those wondering about the future have raised.

      Either you’re in or your out with Kelly. Can’t be both.

      • Stormbringer

        I feel like Graham has been trying very hard to go along with the plan. The Eagles site had that interview with him and he got a personal trainer and chef and stuck around here over the summer, loosing weight, trying to get quicker and go over what he had to learn.

        When he came out of college, people used to say he only fit a 3-4 defense as an OLB (like Lamar Woodley) due to his lack of size. Now they are saying he can’t play a 3-4. I wish people would make up their minds. :-/

        • ike kelley

          Austinfan wondered about Graham’s ability to transition post-knee injury because of his microfracture surgery along with the ACL. And Tommy Lawlor’s mentioned that Graham didn’t get the benefit of a year to learn the linebacker role, like the Steelers did with Woodley.

          I think you’re making a totally valid point. Circumstances seem to be against Graham, though.

          Kelly wants to win now, so he’s going with Cole over Graham. That must say a lot about where the two stand in comparison to each other.

          But it’s still early. Injuries may change things. Or Graham may end up next to Curry on 3rd and long.

  • Jerry Goldstein

    We’re looking at an 8-8 season at best. All the while our QB situation after this year will be just as bad as this year, assuming Vick starts the majority of the season (huge assumption). Next year Vick will be a year older and we still won’t know if Foles and Barkley can play, or if we should draft ANOTHER QB. Any way you slice it, this will be a wasted year with Vick at the helm.

    • xeynon

      From a long-term perspective, I agree. This team is vanishingly unlikely to contend for the Super Bowl this season and those who believe otherwise are delusional. This team was 4-12 last year and every bit as bad as that record. Turning that around is not something that’s going to happen overnight.

  • ACViking

    ICDogg on Safeties . . .

    Great argument. That kind of versatility is rare. Lott had it (playing corner his rookie season before moving to safety). Dawkins was always described as having CB-cover skills.

    Yes, makes good and great sense.

    • ICDogg

      Furthermore I think the 5 yard chuck rule (and later emphasis on illegal contact) affected both corners and safeties quite a bit in terms of their potential effectiveness.

  • GEagle

    I haven’t made any projections but I do think this defense will be better than most people seem to think…I believe the last 4 games of the season if we remain healthy, this defense will have us excited about its future…

    This division is certainly winnable. No team scares me..I think it’s going to come down to the injuries…I can’t even say who is our toughest division test because I don’t fear any of these teams

    • xeynon

      Why are you so optimistic about this defense? They have no elite pass rushers. Graham has potential but has never put it together as a full-time player. Cole is clearly in decline. Barwin is a good, versatile player but not a fearsome pass rusher. They also have no elite coverage guys. Cary Williams is below average. Bradley Fletcher is a JAG. Patrick Chung got jettisoned by New England, a team with a historically bad pass defense the past few seasons, because he couldn’t cover anybody for them. They have several players being asked to play roles for which they are not natural fits. Perhaps if we had a master schemer like Dick LeBeau or Jim Johnson running things they could achieve mediocrity, but the DC is Billy Davis, a guy whose previous defenses have finished near the absolute bottom of the NFL barrel more often than not.

      They can improve on last year’s performance (as I think they will) and still be a bad defense. Given the switch in systems, the mismatched roster, and the general lack of talent, it will be a major accomplishment if they’re even mediocre.

      • ICDogg

        I think Cole can still be effective in the nickel as a pass rusher, even if nothing else. Other than that, and being more optimistic about Chung than you are, I pretty much agree with you here.

      • GEagle

        Depends what are expectations are…
        ..
        How can anyone say how good or how bad this Dline will become? Thorton,Fox,Logan,Curry and possibly square…we have ATleast 4 out of 6 of our future Dline rotation already in place….
        ..
        Barwin, Kendricks, Meco….we have ATleast 3 out of 4 future LBs already in place…

        The secondary is the question mark….but sorry, since NONE of you have watched two games worth of game tape on Cary or Bradley, it’s a little rich hearing from a bunch of people that they suck…..they suck because of regurgitated reputation, they don’t suck because any of you have seen SOOOO MUCh of them that Yous are in a position to deem that they suck…Both have limited experience, both are question marks,…this will be their 3rd seasons worth of game experience, and iM holding my breath hoping they take that next step….I’m not convinced in the secondary, but it has a chance to be not as pathetic as people think…

        Wolff, Chung, Boykin,Fletcher….Those 4 I’m sure have a future hear(not necessarily starters…so we have 4 out of 8 future secondary in place

        So total:
        4 out of 6 Dlinemen already in place
        3 out of 4 OLBs already in place
        4 out 8 DBs in place..

        And depending on Graham,Cary,Square we could have more.

        I believe we have done an excellent job turning over this defense…I like this defense not for what it will accomplish on the field, I like it because Rome wasn’t built in a day and because I love the foundation that was laid by Howie…These dudes are young and inexperienced…they can grow and Gel to be better then people think..

        Can’t wait to re-Hash this convo in week 15

    • ICDogg

      I think there are some problems on defense that are going to be almost impossible to get right this year.

      • Flyin

        Thanks for letting me know that the link I posted in the last post was from Chip’s lecture.

        • ICDogg

          He used to do coaching clinics sponsored by Nike. There was another one on the zone read from 2009 that’s around if you look for it.

      • GEagle

        Absolutely…but so does everyone else in our division

  • GEagle

    if we could have 1 Muligan for this past offseason, and change one of our decisions(Draft someone we could have had, sign a free agent we didn’t sign, trade for a player that was traded)…what would it be?

    Knowing what we know now about Maclin Nd Benn going down, I would have traded for Anquan BOldin. he was cheap, he was traded early enough to where we could have trained him in this system, and he is a great blocking WR, one of the most physical in the game who loves to beat up on little people…

  • D-von

    I’m hoping the Eagles have a chance at Anthony Barr from UCLA. I also like Ha-Ha Clinton Dix from Bama. But yeah you never know what you’ll get in the draft.

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  • Joeknowsnada

    Sorry, the “last place schedule” is not based on what the Iggles did in 2012. Except for 2 of the games, where the Iggles get to play teams from certain divisions that finished in the same spot they did, last year. The bulk of the schedule is set up years in advance, with no changes at all based on last year’s results. The Birds just happen to “luck out,” on paper, in playing the AFC West this season. And, remember, the rest of the division plays the same teams.

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