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.
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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.