Eagles fans must have been very good little boys and girls in 2013. Santa already dropped off our presents and I have to say that he was very generous.
* We got a great coach in Chip Kelly. I’m sure there are doubters here and there, but Kelly has been great this year and appears to be the real deal. He is an X’s and O’s guru. He knows how to motivate players. And the players seem to like him. Before you think he’s soft, remember that he cost Shady $100,000 back in the offseason, benched DeSean, made Mike Vick fight for his spot and made the defensive guys shift to a 3-4.
* We got a franchise QB in Nick Foles. We can dispute just how good he is. We can discuss whether he’s great or not. We can debate whether he can win a Super Bowl. But the guy leads the NFL in passer rating and is having one of the greatest 10-start statistical stretches in football history. Until otherwise notified, he’s a franchise QB.
* We got a high quality RT in Lane Johnson. He has his rookie moments to be sure, but most of the time the QBs and RBs can know the right side is under control. I think Winston Justice had more problems in one game than Johnson has had in his rookie year.
* We got a functional Safety in Earl Wolff. Is that really a big deal? Macho Harris, Quintin Demps, Jaiquawn Jarrett, CJ Gaddis and everyone else drafted in the last decade say “Yes, it is.”
* The Eagles are a running team. Andy Reid and 70 percent passing is gone. The Eagles run virtually a 50-50 offense and they lead the league in rushing. This is just insane. And awesome.
* Dare I say it…the Eagles have good LBs. Trent Cole now has 8 sacks and has been a terrific run defender all year. Connor Barwin is everything you’d want in a SAM and he might even be a better guy off the field. DeMeco Ryans is the leader of the defense and has even been a playmaker this year (4 sacks, 2 INTs). Mychal Kendricks is still erratic, but he’s coming off his best game and is developing into a playmaker (4 sacks, 2 INTs, 6 TFLs, 1 FF, 4 FRs). Brandon Graham is an effective backup on the outside and Najee Goode shocked everyone with how well he played in his 2 starts.
* The Eagles have a playmaker in the secondary in Brandon Bokin. He is 2nd on the team with 14 pass deflections. He’s got 5 INTs and even 2 FFs. He’s got 4 of those takeaways in the Red Zone. And Boykin is the master of downing punts inside the 10-yard line.
* It sure seems like the Eagles once again have a great set of assistant coaches. This group has done an amazing job of working with veterans, young holdovers, free agents and rookies. They’ve gotten huge contributions from every group. The staff has known how to teach the players. The staff has been creative when needed, but old school tough with some guys. They were slow with Vinny Curry, but that paid off and he’s been a key player.
* We got CBs that will actually tackle. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher won’t be mistaken for Ronnie Lott anytime soon, but these guys will hit and tackle. They just combined for a key play on Sunday night when Fletcher stripped the ball from Devin Hester on a KOR and Williams recovered it. Do you think there is any way that Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie could ever strip the ball from a KOR and have Nnamdi recover it?
* Finally…we got a football team that is once again fun to watch. They run the ball. They get more explosive plays from the passing game than ever before. They do smart things. Timeouts aren’t wasted. The previous 2 seasons were filled with Eagles teams that drove me nuts. I flat out like the 2013 Eagles.
Time will tell if Sunday night’s showdown with the Cowboys is a gift from Santa or something much, much worse. I’m optimistic, but don’t want to be cocky so I’ll hold off on that for now.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.