It Feels Good To Believe

Posted: November 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 33 Comments »

The Eagles are 5-5 heading into Sunday. We don’t know if the team will finish 9-7, 8-8 or 7-9. This team has the talent to make a serious run down the stretch, but also has enough holes to have some bad losses.

No matter how this season turns out…I believe.

I believe in Chip Kelly.

Smoothies. Music. The read-option. Pop passes. Professor Azzinaro. I believe in all of it. Even the 3-4 defense (please forgive me Tom Landry and Buddy Ryan).

It feels good to believe.

The last few years of the Reid era were awkward. I hoped. I rationalized. I wanted to believe. But…

But there were just so many strange things. Juan Castillo. Jaiquawn Jarrett. Chad Hall. Steve Smith. Starting Casey Matthews as a rookie. And so on. It was tough to keep faith in the organization and the team. The on-field results weren’t good and the off-field actions often left you scratching your head.

Chip Kelly isn’t perfect. His ideas aren’t perfect. But there seems to be a specific plan rather than a lot of wishing and hoping. I didn’t like the fact that Damion Square played while Vinny Curry sat for the first 2 games, but now Curry is playing well, as a pass rusher and run defender. Kelly and his staff were able to get Curry to do things their way.

Kelly has Nick Foles doing some freakish things. Honestly…did you ever think you’d see an exhibit in Canton that featured Peyton Manning and Nick Foles? That truly is mind blowing.

Did you ever think Riley Cooper would be a deep threat? Or Nate Allen a solid tackler?

Kelly hasn’t built the Eagles into a juggernaut, but this team is doing some unusual things. Check out these 2 items from Reuben Frank in his 25 Points column.

6. How rare is what the Eagles did the last two weeks? Winning consecutive road games by 14 or more points? Andy Reid coached here 14 years and had a lot of success. The Eagles were 65-46-1 on the road under Reid, the third-best road record in the NFL from 1999 through 2012 (behind only the Patriots’ 72-40 and the Colts’ 69-43). Yet Reid won road games in consecutive weeks by 14 or more points only once. That was in 2006, 36-22 at the Meadowlands against the Giants and 23-7 in Dallas. Before that? The Eagles also won consecutive weeks by 14 or more points on the road twice in the 1940s and once in the early 1950s. And that’s it. Five times in 81 years.

3. Keep this in mind while watching the Eagles: 36 of the 53 on the active roster are 26 or younger. That includes Fletcher Cox (22); Brandon Boykin, Zach Ertz, Lane Johnson, Mychal Kendricks, Bennie Logan and Earl Wolff (23); Nick Foles, Najee Goode and Damion Square (24); Nate Allen, Vinny Curry, LeSean McCoy and Cedric Thornton (25); and Riley Cooper, DeSean Jackson and Jason Kelce (26). That is quite a nucleus.

Kelly was handed some talented pieces and he is making the most of them. That’s what good coaches do.

I don’t know if Kelly is the right guy to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl, but he sure does feel like the right guy to be the coach now. He’s given everyone a reason to believe. Don’t underestimate the importance of that.

* * * * *

Are you excited for Sunday’s game? I sure am. Can’t wait for Sunday to get here.

I’m aware that the Skins could pull off an upset. I don’t want that to happen, but I’m aware it might. No matter what happens, we’ll have more evidence in on how to judge these players and  this team. The more we learn, the better informed we’ll be when it comes to making tough offseason decisions. All of that can help the Eagles to shape this team into a Super Bowl contender.

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  • Weapon Y

    Preach brother! I’m chugging the Chip Kelly Kool-Aid. By the way, I know you’re really busy right now, but I’d love to read a post from you about why you prefer the 4-3 to 3-4. Is it just from growing up and watching good 4-3 defenses, or is there a philosophical/strategic reason behind it? I’ve evolved from a fan of a Bum Phillips style 1-gap, 3-4 to defense to liking a mix of 1-gap and 2-gap defenses, mostly with an odd front. Personally, I like making the LBs job easier by letting the DL protect him from the OL. Still, I’d use some 1-gap concepts to take advantage of the skills of very good interior pass rushers like Cox and Curry. But I digress. Go Eagles!

    • http://twitter.com/sitko77 Mark Sitko

      Tommy has written about it many times before, but maybe not a full article on the subject. He wrote about it a lot when we first were hiring the coaching staff.

      I searched “4-3″ on this blog and found some good articles where he discusses his love for the 4-3 – this looked like the most thorough occasion:

      http://igglesblitz.com/2013/08/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-3-4/

  • mksp

    Love this one:

    “12. Can’t rave enough about the coaching staff Chip Kelly put together. When you see young players improving in chunks and playing sound fundamentals, tackling, blocking, hitting — that’s the direct result of a group of outstanding position coaches who can teach. Need an example? Watch Nate Allen. His evolution into a steady, consistent safety is a direct reflection of D-backs coaches John Lovett and Todd Lyght. By re-teaching him how to form tackle and re-shaping the pursuit angles he takes, they’ve turned a guy who I thought was likely to be released into an effective if unspectacular part of an improving defense. Andy Reid’s staff was a disaster the last few years.”

    Trust the PROCESS people. Chip knows what he’s doing. The Vinny Curry stuff is the other perfect example. The annoying part is the typical TATEr is claiming they knew VC needed to get on the field more and Chip/Billy were wrong to deactivate him early. WRONG. VC needed to develop and learn and BUY IN, which he’s done. Props to this staff. Its exciting to see what happens when PROFESSIONALS are in charge.

  • Lewwyn

    I believe!

    • Cafone

      I concur!

  • SteveH

    I got on the hype train last week, don’t get left behind: SUPER BOWL BABY!!!

  • GermanEagle

    I believe simply due to the fact that the Eagles beat the Eagles (ie themselves) in their home opener against the Chargers…

    • A_T_G

      True, but anyone can beat the Eagles at home. No great fear there!

  • Mike Flick

    I too am on the chip bandwagon with my tankard of kool-aid and bag of Funyons. But I reserve the right to scream that he is an idiot for not challenging a play or playing Vinny enough.

    • Cafone

      Clearly there is a problem with the current system they are using to analyze replays. I think it will be a very good sign if Kelly and the coaching staff address and correct the issue. If they just keep repeating the same mistake over and over again, Andy Reid-like, it will not bode well for this and other areas of concern in the future.

      • OregonDucker

        The Packers techs cheated. They did not provide the Eagles the network feed but instead one which did not reveal the situation as well. The NFL is looking into it.

        • ACViking

          How on earth does someone as obsessively in control like Chip Kelly NOT have his “replay team” call home to make sure the replays are the same in the booth as on TV?

        • Cafone

          Do you have a source for that? I’m not seeing anything about it online.

  • dislikedisqus

    Well, you’ve jinxed us for sure.

    Separate note: JJ, against all odds, has pulled a Nate Allen of his own and gotten regular minutes for Rex Ryan. Altho those will drop with Reed arriving.

    • D3FB

      I don’t follow them closely but from what I understand the Jets don’t have a single player on the 53 or practice squad fans feel is a starting caliber safety.

      • dislikedisqus

        I saw a couple games. JJ made some plays and didn’t embarass himself on any. Still, he’s no Ed Reed.

  • Corry

    I’m totally buying in. I was a bit unsure to begin the year, but you can’t deny the progress they’ve made. They aren’t perfect, but I feel like they have a chance in most games. That’s a 180 from last year.

    Yay relevant football!

  • Dominik

    “The Eagles are 5-5 heading into Sunday. We don’t know if the team
    will finish 9-7, 8-8 or 7-9. This team has the talent to make a serious
    run down the stretch, but also has enough holes to have some bad losses.

    No matter how this season turns out…I believe.

    I believe in Chip Kelly.

    Smoothies. Music. The read-option. Pop passes. Professor Azzinaro. I
    believe in all of it. Even the 3-4 defense (please forgive me Tom Landry
    and Buddy Ryan).

    It feels good to believe.”

    Amen! Right out of my heart and my brain, Tommy. You nailed it.

  • A_T_G

    I love the fact that improvement from last year is undeniable.

    I love the fact that it feels reasonable to expect our weaknesses to get fixed.

    I love the fact that the team has the feel of a locomotive, within a game and over the season. The problems seem to be anticipated and solutions seem to be in the works before they even become apparent. Strengths seem to grow consistently and incrementally. Very little seems reactionary.

    I love the fact that I cannot think of a core player under 30 who looks like they haven’t improved.

    I love the fact that our Koolaid is selling nationwide. I love the fact that talking heads are on record saying the flavor would be a disaster, and now have to use it to rinse down their crow.

    • TommyLawlor

      “Rinse down their crow”…excellent.

    • jshort

      Like the way the take the heart out of the opposition. Oak and GB….

  • Tumtum

    Strange things happen in division games. Is this team better than the Redskins? I guess so..marginally. People are acting as though its a slam dunk we should win. That freaks me out. We always lose those games. Add in the dynamic of a divison game and the second time we have played. The Skins have their backs against the wall and are sure to pull out every stop. FML. We are screwed.

    Disagree? I bet u thought the Dallas game was going to be 50-48!

    • Tumtum

      The whole ESPN crew just picked the Eagles. Things are dire.

  • bdbd20

    Your point about having a plan is strong. This really reminds me of the early AR. There’s a reason for everything, even if it doesn’t work at first.

    The biggest thing could be the coaching staff. Reid did a poor job of filling spots and developing guys when coaches left.

    • jshort

      AR had family distractions. Don’t think Kelly will have this problem.

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    You can’t have the kind of success Kelly has had with basically the same team that went 4-12 last year and somehow suck. I believe in Chip Kelly.

    • ACViking

      That’s exactly what the fans in Kansas City are saying about Andy Reid.

      • D3FB

        KC had a ton of pro bowlers, there was talent just a terrible culture and coaching. The Eagles purged most of the veteran under performing talent.

        • ACViking

          That’s a cannard, I think.

          Romeo Crennel and Todd Haley couldn’t win with them.

          And what about McCoy, Jackson, Peters, and Mathis?

          They’re not chopped liver.

  • ACViking

    Re: Why I Cannot Believe

    “Faith is believing in something for which there is no proof.”

    I have seen a lot of proof.

    Consequently . . . I am convinced.

    • OregonDucker

      Me too AC. Been seeing the proof for years.

  • ACViking

    Re: Against Reply

    Either apply replay to everything — like blatantly missed face-mask penalties — or scotch the system.

    Even with replays, the officials still blow the call.

    And it takes to damn long.

    Anyway, things balance out in the long run.

    Plus, I’m hard-pressed to remember a any team ever winning a championship because of a blown call.

    No guarantee Tampa beats the Rams in the 1999 NFC Title game if the Bert Emanuel non-catch was called a catch inside the RZ with a minute or so to play, and Tampa trailing 11-6.

    The NFL survived for more than 80 years without replay. It just kills the flow and guarantees nothing.

  • ACViking

    Kool-aid is good.

    But without more tests against top-flight QBs, the green kind in Philly is still a generic brand.

    (Mixed metaphor . . . no time to do better.)