Just the Beginning

Posted: January 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 197 Comments »

It takes time to win a Super Bowl.

Sean Payton and Drew Brees came together in 2006. They won in 2009. John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco joined the Ravens in 2008. They won in 2012. Aaron Rodgers was drafted in 2005, sat until 2008 and then won the SB in 2010.

Go back to Aikman-Johnson, Montana-Walsh and other classic combos. It took time.

Football is an always evolving game. I was hoping that Chip Kelly and Nick Foles might be able to buck the trend and lead us on a magical Super Bowl run right off the bat. Didn’t happen. Both guys still have growing to do. Foles must improve as a QB. Kelly must improve as a coach. And they must continue to grow together.

I don’t know how all of you feel, but this playoff loss has me feeling different than in recent years. This is the beginning of something, not a step closer to the end. As the Andy Reid era moved along, the playoff losses became more frustrating. The longer a coach goes without winning the big game, the more you feel the chances are dwindling that it will ever happen.

If you go back to 2000 and 2001, those playoff losses were hard, but also left me feeling that the team could build on them. The team did and eventually got to the Super Bowl in 2004.

There are no guarantees that the team will improve, but I believe in Kelly and Foles. They did amazing things this year. Time will tell whether this was a fluke, but I sure don’t think so. Kelly has been a dynamic offensive mind in several places. His offense set some records this year. Foles was a star in high school and college. This isn’t some small school UDFA that came out of nowhere. Foles showed serious potential as a rookie.

Defenses will adjust to Kelly and Foles, but they won’t remain stagnant themselves. Kelly will tweak his offense, as he did all year long. Foles will work to improve his game. I believe the Eagles offense is going to remain a force for the next several years.

We’ve talked about how this Eagles team compares to last year’s Skins team. There are some huge differences. Shanny and RG3 didn’t have a good relationship by the end of the 2012 season. Kelly and Foles go together like PBR and Funyuns. Also, RG3 was hurt and spent his offseason rehabbing and doing Subway commercials. Nick is healthy and probably won’t be the spokesperson for any national ad campaigns, although I could easily him pitching a new kind of athletic shoes…”If you young kids want to grow up to be a running QB like me, these are the shoes for you.”

During the offseason we’ll talk about what Kelly must do to improve. Same with Foles. Same with the defense and STs. We can celebrate the success of 2013, while also acknowledging that it wasn’t good enough. No player or coach can say “I’m good enough as is.” All of them can get better.

I do think time will be a key ingredient in improving. The schemes were new in 2013. That won’t be the case next year. The players will feel more natural in what they’re doing. Last spring the Eagles were learning how to do what the coaches wanted. This year they’ll start trying to perfect those ideas. You go from learning to improving and that makes a big difference.

There will also be a sense of cohesion. Players will get used to playing with each other within the new schemes. A lot of Kelly’s ideas involve serious movement at the line of scrimmage. That means linemen must get used to each other on both sides of the ball. The more these guys play together, the better they should execute the blocks/stunts/blitzes.

The theme in recent years was change. Jim Johnson died between 2008 and 2009. That meant a huge change on the coaching staff. Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan also got replaced. That was a huge change in the lineup.

After 2009, Donovan McNabb was dealt. That was an enormous change. Brian Westbrook left. Another huge change.

After 2010, there were lots of changes to the coaching staff and lineup.

2012 involved lots of strange changes. Many were due to injury (Peters, Kelce going out), but the crazy ones involved firing Juan Castillo and Jim Washburn during the season.

For the first time in a while…there should be a lot of stability. That’s crucial to having a successful team.

There will be plenty of changes to the roster, but in a reasonable way. The goal will be to plug some holes and to upgrade some others. There won’t have to be massive changes to deal with scheme fit.

Losing to the Saints ended a fun season. That sucks and there’s no two ways about that. But you shouldn’t be too down. This team has a lot of key pieces in place. The Eagles have a good coach and a good QB. Those are the most important parts of any championship football team. This is the beginning of a journey, not the conclusion.

Time will tell if Kelly and Foles can bring a Lombardi Trophy to Philly, but I don’t think you can argue that the Eagles are very much headed in the right direction.

_


  • Bob Brewer

    Goodness watching Nugent kick a 46 yard FG makes my blood boil.

    • Joe Minx

      And easy touchbacks too. Henery either needs to DRASTICALLY improve his leg strength in the offseason or be out of here. Period.

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    i just hate losing to sean payton… AGAIN!!! something about him i just cant stand, hes so smug… pisses me off just thinking about it.

    • mark2741

      He annoys the heck out of me. It’s that sh*t-eating grin he walks around with on the sideline.

      • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

        and its also the little things he says, basiclly calling chip fat.. lie really sean? u were way fatter at one point in time, dude is def smelling himself.

      • dave H

        I think its left over from his time working in phila for fat andy

        • mark2741

          I thought he was under Ray Rhodes while here? With Gruden.

          • dave H

            I thinks YOU are correct/ gracias.. ah but I don’t hate ray Rhodes as much as fat andy .. i even blame andy for reggie white leaving

  • DamonL86

    I think in 2 years this team will be scary.

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    Year one was a resounding success for me because Chip succeeded without Vick as the QB. To me, this was a critical test.

  • mark2741

    It’s been the most enjoyable season ever for me. Between Chip and Nick and the surprising level of play of the defense….And your posts have been a big part of the enjoyment for me – I found your blog shortly before Chip was hired and have read every post since and have learned more about pro football this year than in the prior ~15 that I’ve been watching the Eagles. Thanks so much! We’ll get em next year! I sincerely believe the Eagles, with another great draft and a stable offseason, will be a legit SB contender next season. Take that to the bank! : )

  • Sean

    I think both Kelly and Foles need to become less dependent on big plays. The team set a record for them, but when they’re not happening, the two of them need to find ways to get those 6-10 yard gains that keep the offense ahead of the chains. Brees, for instance, does a masterful job of this.

  • ICDogg

    We’re a lot better than where we started from, but I still think we’re not that close to the quality of a Super Bowl champion.

    • Sean

      How many teams in the league really are, though? 3 or 4? They’re right at the top of that second tier

      • ICDogg

        Yes, that’s about right. But the point is, we’ve got mostly competent starters on D, but not enough guys who are substantially superior players. And the offense still seems to need something or someone, though it’s hard for me to say exactly what. They get bogged down all too often.

        • TommyLawlor

          The team needs more difference makers on defense. Totally agree.

          Offense will improve as Foles improves. Kelly can improve what he does as well. I’ve got a few suggestions I’ll offer up in a post. Adding more talent wouldn’t hurt either.

          • mark2741

            We need a legit pass rusher.

          • dave H

            I think coach Kelly NEEDS to learn immediately that time of possession is way more important than the “zero” value that he gives it!
            ..
            I think our differential across the league this year was 6 minutes ..
            ..
            Drew Brees would you like 6 more minutes with the ball than us? ugh, makes me hurt. Payton u want 6 more minutes?? A Rod, Tom, Colin ?? 6 more minutes WITH the ball do anything for ya bud????
            ..
            if the stats really show that our D really did play that much more than opposing O’s, wow that’s a extra big amount of respect for our D.

          • dave H

            nice point dave H !! yoo da man!
            ..
            yeah if we could’ve had the ball for 2 measily minutes more, we WOULDVE WON!

  • Byter

    In the offseason, my hope is that Chip invents ways to insert more of a complex NFL passing scheme into his offense. I think he’s great at the run game but can improve in the pass game. I think knowing Foles will be his QB next year will help him focus on the concepts the team is capable of.

    • suthrneagle

      Agree that knowing Foles is his future QB will help,but it`s the straight ahead smashmouth running game that needs work and is what will benefit the passing the most

      • P_P_K

        Nick will have an entire pre-season as qb1. Bound to be better next year. We might just have to deal with the fact that Shady isn’t a smashmouth rusher. Perhaps support him with a blocking fb.

        • suthrneagle

          Wonder(ed) why Polk wasn`t used as a lead blocker
          and where was BB?…a bit confused after those two played so well recently

        • suthrneagle

          Agreed;thought Polk was gonna be used for that,though don`t remember seeing too many plays with lead (runningback) blockers

  • jshort

    Do we know the exact spot Eagles will pick in draft?

    • ICDogg

      no, that is affected by the games today.

      • Byter

        21st or 22nd depending on whether GB wins or loses?

        • deg0ey

          If SD and GB both win, we’re 21, if one wins, we’re 22 and if neither win we’re 23.

          • BlindChow

            So root for SD and GB. Excellent. I was doing that anyway!

        • Byter

          Forgot about SD. Thanks!

      • deg0ey

        Yup – Hopefully the Chargers and Packers win, which would get us up to 21.

  • Joe Minx

    I agree with everything in this post & am still greatly appreciative & proud of what we were able to accomplish this year. Still, is it wrong for me to be angry over the kicker situation? Because I really am. That’s the one thing I’m really having a problem with here.

  • ian_no_2

    Another major difference between Foles and RG3 – the Eagles got Foles with a 3rd round pick, the Skins traded three 1sts and a 2nd for RG3, including the second pick in the 2014 draft. Foles will earn a 3rd round salary and the Eagles led the league in cap space, so if they surround him with players who can win he can win. Brees came back from an off day to slice and dice a budget secondary. I’m not clear on how much salary cap carryover there was or whether the figure was released, but it could have been sizable.

  • Philip Soloninka

    Tommy, you just gave me the literary equivalent of a hug… Thanks man.

    • TommyLawlor

      You’re welcome my friend.

  • Kevin Powell

    I expected to be disappointed, but this one hurts way more than I thought it would. It feels like I just had to endure the awful wait of last years offseason and to think that I have to do it again is painful. Last year after an awful season we jumped right into the coaching hunt and it was exciting! When we finally got Chip it was as exciting or even more exciting than any win this season brought. As much as I hate to say it, onto the senior bowl.

  • JJ_Cake

    When was the last time we had a QB with this type of leadership and poise (at 25?)

    http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/multimedia/videos/Press-Conference-Nick-Foles/64aa75ae-8c9c-4923-932d-8d827fe02e5e

    I can’t believe people are still talking about wanting to trade Foles for some “athletic” stud QB out of college.

    I was impressed when Vick was giving those press conferences, but Foles has taken it to the next level. Its a team game, and this guy has talent and is all about the Team. My money is on Foles to be the best QB out of that 2011 draft in the next few years. Wasn’t Joe Montana a 3rd round pick as well? Montana picked at 82, Foles picked at 88.

    Fix the D and ST’s and we have a winner in Philly!

  • bdbd20

    The hard thing this off-season is gonna be saying goodbye to guys like Trent, Avant, and possibly Todd.

    • ICDogg

      I’m not 100% convinced any of them will be gone, though it seems likely.

      • bdbd20

        I’d like to see them compete for their jobs, but I’m not sure how Chip feels about their production.

        • ICDogg

          Let’s talk about Avant for a moment. Strictly as a slot receiver, a very specific role requiring ability to work precisely in traffic and be sure-handed, who are we replacing him with, and is it really an improvement? Not talking about the ability to play outside, just as the guy in the slot.

          • P_P_K

            I agree that he plays an important role and is very good at it. I think it’s a numbers game, though, how many slots (get it?!) can you use for receivers on your roster?

          • theycallmerob

            too hard to say without an indication if they’re bringing back Maehl, Damaris, Benn, Maclin, or Coop. Only DJax is really guaranteed

          • P_P_K

            You’re right, it’s way to early to have a clear idea of what the roster would look like. These are my thoughts, which will undoubtably be wrong, but you guys will forget my stupid posts by next season.

            Maclin will be back, he’s yet to peak as a wr. Considering the connection he has with Foles, I’d bet on Coop, too. Maehl and Johnson are both a lot younger than Jason, so they may get another year to show what they have. Plus Smith, unless they find someone else as kr. And DJax makes six. I’d also be happy if they looked around for a big, physical FA.

          • theycallmerob

            ha, just sharing, didn’t mean to come across too sassy. I think WR is one of the most difficult positions to predict. Does Chip really like DJax? What could Maclin have done, and will he get the chance? Does Chip respect the year Coop had but believe more talent would do even better? And how much does he value a guy like Avant and his character? I think the others are gone (DJ2, Maehl, Benn).
            Chip walked into a lot of the players on the team, but I’m guessing now we’ll find out which positions he values and what he looks for at those positions (including cole and graham, CB and S, big NT or athletic guy like Logan)

            I’d take DJax, mac or Coop (wouldn’t mind both on team friendly deals, just have a feeling it’s one or other), and maybe brad smith (but also feel he’s upgradeable). That leaves 3 slots open at least, I think 2 are young guys.
            Having a good stable of RBs and TEs makes his life just a little easier

          • Byter

            To me this will be the most interesting part of the offseason, which is to see what kind of players Chip wants and which ones the FO gets him.

          • P_P_K

            Nah, you’re cool. I know I am 100% right when I post my comments… until later when I deny I ever wrote them.

          • ICDogg

            And the thing is, we use Avant on more plays than we don’t. Let’s say we have DJax, Maclin, and Cooper, and we want to use them all at once. Who plays slot, and are we any better off than just using two of them along with Avant?

          • bdbd20

            The one thing that I’m not sure about is Chip’s opinion on the slot receiver. Avant was perfect in Andy’s vision. Chip may want this guy to have speed and versatility.

            We won’t know for sure until the final cuts are made in September.

          • ICDogg

            I think the snap counts tell that story already.

          • bdbd20

            With Maclin and Benn going down, I’m not sure Chip had much choice.

            He kept the best set of WR’s and used them to their strengths.

          • ICDogg

            So I ask, let’s say they have DJax, Coop, Avant, Maclin, and Benn, and you want to play two guys on the outside and one guy in the slot. Who do you use?

          • bdbd20

            That’s my point. We’re used to a certain type of “slot” player because of AR’s offense.

            I’m not sure there is a defined slot guy in the offense that Chip has in his head. Jackson may be in the “slot” in your situation in order to get a matchup. Or maybe it’s Shady, or Ertz.

            I think we have to eliminate old stereotypes with Chip.

          • laeagle

            DJax and Coop on the outside, Mac in the slot. Decent size, decent RAC, great speed (presuming he’s healthy). Has to work on blocking, but he’s going to create more mismatches than Avant by far, and generate more on short catches.

          • ICDogg

            Well, I guess anything’s possible, but I just don’t see that working very well. Mac working the inside? He’d probably be my third choice after DJax and Coop.

          • planetx1971

            D-Jax in the slot is what immediately got me kinda psyched at the idea anyway. Victor Cruz sure tears things up from there. I don’t know exactly how it would work out but I’d think any situation we could get him in that was one on one would be advantage us right? I don’t have any reasons to back this up but I just can’t picture Maclin there for some reason or other. I sure would like to see us keep Coop. He always impresses me by seeming to fight for every catch & yards thereafter like his life depends on it. Fun to watch. I was curious, assuming Benn returns to good health, how long a contract did he sign? I really know virtually nothing about that guy.

        • bsuperfi

          I like DJax, Maclin, and Cooper moving forward. I love Avant but think it’s time to move on. I’d really like to try out Maclin in the inside. I’d also like to add some great free agents at OLB and S and draft a WR early. I just see so much value out of the big time WRs in the league, and I’d love to see one coming into his prime before DJax leaves his.

      • P_P_K

        It’s hard to imagine Avant coming back. I’ll miss him, he was clutch.

        • BobSmith77

          Avant might come back if he restructures his deal but I would want the Eagles to really look at upgrading the slot WR.

          Avant was painfully slow this year and the value of having a ‘possession’ WR receiver in the slot/No 3 WR is from a bygone era of the NFL about 15-20 years ago.

    • ian_no_2

      Trent deserves to return, for sure.

  • Sean

    What happened to the screen game in the last two?

    • Byter

      I think teams are looking for it and i think teams are blitzing less, playing the run.

    • Philip Soloninka

      I know during the Dallas game the DL would not let Shady break off, they would hold/shadow

  • bsuperfi

    Moving forward, I think one of the biggest challenges is for the offense to stay coherent. I love how it’s predicated on a couple key plays like the inside and outside zone runs. It seems to me that there will be more press to make the offense more “NFL”. E.g. make the passing game more complex and timing based.

    There’s some merit to this (and I think Chip should’ve thrown the ball more last night). But the strength of this offense lies in how its various pieces amplify each other. One of the biggest problems with Reid’s offense at the end of his tenure in Philly was that it became a frankenstein. It wasn’t coherent and looked like a bunch of cool plays thrown together at random.

    Stay true to yourself Chip, and don’t forget to throw the ball to DeSean more.

    • Byter

      One of the strengths I see in Chip is his ability to keep things simple. So while I am one of those who want to see the passing scheme upgraded, I don’t think it needs to be on the Andy Reid/Sean Payton level. Chip did bring in Shumur and Lazor for this reason (IMO at least).

    • Byter

      One example of “upgrading the passing scheme” is that I did not see a consistent hot read receiver. I would think this is pretty standard in most offenses but in Chip’s design it doesn’t seem to be there much.

      • P_P_K

        I’ve wondered about this. Was it Chips scheme or did Foles have trouble finding the hot read?

        • Byter

          From my perspective (albeit w/o all-22) is that its not typically there.

  • Breezy

    Hats off to Nick and Chip for blowing the expectations out of the water. The future of this team is in their hands, and I am excited to see what they do with it. If Nick comes back half as improved next year as he did this year, teams better look out. And Chip is a competitor. I know if I am this mad about the loss, Chip is absolutly stewing. Can’t wait to see the tweaks he makes after a full off-season

    • BobSmith77

      Did they really blow expectations of the water by going 10-6 and losing in the 1st round at home?

      I thought the Eagles would be 8-8 or 7-9 this year. They overachieved a bit but ‘blowing out expectations’ would have 12-4 and say a 1st round bye and/or a deep playoff run.

      • Breezy

        Expectations go past overall record. Not only did they make the playoffs (did you see that coming with an 8-8 record?), some guys did tremendous things along the way. Going into this year I just wanted us to be competitive. Maybe I misused hyperbole but this season was excellent compared to what i thought it would be in terms of coaching, player performance, scheme, etc. Have you forgotten the hell that was last offseason?

  • jackpotsdad

    Going into the off season, I like the fact that unlike all the other teams in the NFC East, our team needs are relatively few and known: pass rush, safety, #2/#3 WR, OL depth. That’s really manageable between FAs and the draft. Also with continuity, certain areas of the team get better naturally even with the same personnel (D Line for example).

    It’s just huge we won’t have to go into the QB lottery or have instability at the head coaching position.

    If you look at other teams, and particularly our division rivals, they have question marks all over the place: aging talent, cap issues, coaches that need to be replaced or on the hot seat, holes all over the place on both sides of the ball.

    The Eagles can easily match their 10-6 record next year IMO and cruise into the playoffs. Very much looking forward to see how Chip and Howie shore up weaknesses and add new wrinkles to a very exciting team.

    • Bob Brewer

      I still think DeSean is not a #1 WR. He disappeared too often to be a #1.

      • jackpotsdad

        DeSean is definitely a #1 WR. He’s top 10 in receiving yards for the regular season with about 84 yds/game. What more do you want?

        I think it’s incumbent on Chip to get the ball more in his hands. Honestly, he’s done a better job of that recently, like putting him in the slot or doing WR sweeps.

        • P_P_K

          In the Dallas game, DeSean was put in motion a lot and it worked. I kept looking for this last night.

      • Buge Halls

        Hard to be productive when they aren’t throwing his way

  • P_P_K

    After the game last night I was mostly of good cheer. This season was a good run, lots of fun and surprises. Defintiely surpassed my expectations. Today, though, I’m more bummed. Last night was a winnable game and a handful of goofs on our part made the difference.

    I was bemoaning the situation when my wife asked me who the Eagles would have played next. I told her we would have travelled to play the Panthers and likely get our butts kicked. She said that maybe it was a good thing we lost, perhaps some key player would be injured in the Carolina game. Who knows? Sometimes it’s good to have a woman’s mind around.

  • Mr. Magee

    Hard to argue with what you say tommy, but I’m just not ready for all the “perspective” yet. That team was very beatable, and on the heals of the Andy years, I’m particularly sensitive to missed playoff opportunities. Plus it was the saints – getting tired of seeing them run the clock out on us.

    Kelly got out-coached last night, but he will learn. I’m less thrilled about play at the LOS – Eagles were outplayed there in 3 of last 4 weeks; and O line was supposed to be our strength.

    • TommyLawlor

      Can’t argue with anything you said.

    • SteveH

      And our DL lost to their OL last night too. Really getting beat in the trenches was the downfall last night.

  • bdbd20

    So, the Chargers are going to win a playoff game with King Dunlap at LT. Never saw that coming.

    Good for him, though.

    • BlindChow

      And Ronnie Brown making huge plays.

      • theycallmerob

        he def. slowed to throw a lateral right before scoring

    • ian_no_2

      Teams win Super Bowls with journeymen tackles. The Eagles just lost to a team with a struggling 3rd round small school rookie at LT.

      • shah8

        Armstead? Physical talent. The struggle was worth it for last night’s game.

  • xeynon

    This Bungles/Chargers game is demonstrating why it’s ridiculous of certain people on this board to compare Foles to Andy Dalton. In A.J. Green and Marvin Jones Dalton has better receivers, and he has had three absolutely horrendous turnovers in this game. That’s three more than Foles had last night, and more than he had all season. Foles may be comparable in terms of physical ability but his decision making and composure is light years ahead, with much less starting experience.

    • Byter

      Ah, but does it show what its like to have a 1st round stud QB (i.e. Rivers)? Not arguing either way but it is an argument.

      • theycallmerob

        I wouldn’t say Rivers is exactly dominating

  • BlindChow

    Ronnie Brown sighting!

    • theycallmerob

      hahaha, guessed you missed the 1st play of the 4th qtr? SD had 3rd and goal at the 1, he got stopped 3 yards behind LOS.

      • BlindChow

        Yeah, but that’s just what we’d EXPECT him to do!

        • Buge Halls

          But he didn’t toss the ball backwards!

  • Mitchell

    There has been talk of getting OL depth in the draft but my question is: Don’t we already have a decent amount of OL depth? Babre, Kelley. Can Tobin and Vandervelde be developed further. I thought Tobin showed promise in the off-season correct?

    • theycallmerob

      bamiro? and the coaches did seem high on Tobin, usually keeping a backup like him inactive on the roster keeps teams from sniping off PS

    • xeynon

      They don’t just need depth, they need young depth that can be groomed into future starters. Kelce and Johnson are nice young pieces, but Mathis, Herremans, and Peters are all on the wrong side of 30.

    • Insomniac

      Barbre is old. Bamiro and Kelly are the only ones that could start in the NFL. I have no clue where people get the idea of Tobin being anything more than a career backup.

  • DamonL86

    Up to pick 22 in draft go packers.

  • Mitchell

    With our season over, I am looking forward to the free agents Roseman can bring in. I absolutely love the draft as well, I try to get a little better each year recognizing talent. There will be so many possibilities to this team this off season.

    • Bob Brewer

      Season is over and I can’t wait for the draft either. And they pushed it back this year. Ugh.

      • Mitchell

        was pretty upset they pushed it back, it used to land within about 3 days of my birthday so it was nice.

  • shah8

    I made a certain prediction about Andy Dalton yesterday. It was borne out with the third straight “he’s the reason why we lost” playoff game. Playoffs is where undertalented guys go to die. Almost 4.3k yards and 33TDs in the regular season. Nothing doing when he,and especially him, has to make the plays instead of his stacked offense.

    • BlindChow

      Predicting Andy Dalton choking in the playoffs? OMG YOU MUST BE PSYCHIC!

    • shah8

      And no, Dalton actually has to run a standard offense, make full reads, and he has to make passes to guys who aren’t wide open by scheme. Undertalent is both making turnovers while moving the ball, or multiple three and outs when the play isn’t there more then two of the tries for a first down.

      • Buge Halls

        Shah, you should really change your handle to Eeyore!

        • A Roy

          I’m pretty sure his name is Walter and he hangs around with Jeff Dunham.

      • xeynon

        Andy Dalton isn’t a very good quarterback. This is well known. It’s not some unique insight on your part.

      • anon

        Dalton eats b/c of AJ Green, just like Cutler eats b/c of Marshall. You can be more careless with the ball when you have that WR talent. But turnovers in the playoffs can kill you so Foles gets an upvote for ball skills. Hope we get a stud WR in the draft.

  • BobSmith77

    Dalton vs Rivers. 3rd consecutive playoff game where Dalton played poorly and the Bengals were ’1 and done’ although I did find it amusing how the Chargers talk the ball out of Rivers hands, went very conservative on offense, and minimized Rivers chances of a throwing an INT by not throwing a single pass deep today.

    By far the most boring playoff game so far.

  • A_T_G

    Carrying over from the last topic, I’ll try to keep this going for a few days to see how many countries we can gather comments from.

    1. Armenia
    2. USA
    3. Belgium
    4. Denmark
    5. Canada
    6. France
    7. Scotland
    8. Brazil

    Where else? I will limit it to first person responses to ensure accuracy (no, “I remember seeing a guy on here from…).

    • DanJ3645

      I’m a very infrequent poster, but from England.

      • P_P_K

        That makes 9.

      • A_T_G

        Thanks! I added England above.

    • Tom from Hungary

      I read the blog daily, but I rarely comment on the posts. Anyway, you sir, will get a comment from me, so that you can add Hungary to that list! :)

      • A_T_G

        Thanks!

    • iceberg584

      I’m pretty sure we have a German that needs to declare himself…

  • jshort

    Like the turf in the GB game…wonder what they feed it ?

    • Byter

      Ice and dirt.

  • Weapon Y

    I just watched some film of Kyle Van Noy. He looks like the most explosive OLB and hardest hitter in the draft. He’s great at forcing fumbles. He’s now my top choice.

    • Mitchell

      Might even be able to trade down and still get him. I have a feeling some of these OLB’s we thought were gonna go really early will fall in this draft.

  • http://twitter.com/ezgreene ezgreene

    Since this is just the beginning of the off-season, why not throw out some names or questions that may be, for one reason or another, the center-piece of larger discussions:
    Brian Orakpo (much needed edge rusher)
    Edelman or Tate (WRs who can return kicks)
    Sam Shields (CB upgrade?)

    How much money can the Eagles have invested at WR? Can they keep Avant and resign Cooper and Maclin.
    What will happen wiht DE cum OLBs Cole and Graham?

    • Mitchell

      I’ve said it before but Justin Gilbert OSU is a good corner and is a damn good returner. Good value there.

  • Sean

    What about Jared Abbrederis in the third for the slot? I love the way he gets open.

  • BobSmith77

    49ers/Saints

    Either would have been a tough matchup for the Eagles and after watching this 1st half don’t see how the Eagles would have matched up physically vs. 49ers up front on either side of the ball.

    • anon

      Yeah that 49ers from 7 is a different breed of ugly. Loved to have their LBs.

      • BobSmith77

        I am sure Jeff Stoutland would have said to Kelly at some point in the 2nd or 3rd quarter: ‘We can’t repel LBs of that magnitude!”

  • livingonapear

    While we need a better secondary, I’m willing to grab that in the 2nd 3rd round. I want a pass rusher at OLB. We have a solid front 7, but not one that takes the pressure off the secondary. Most of the problems we had with pass defense came down to a lack of pressure on QBs.

  • BlindChow

    Green Bay should run Starks more. He’s money in the playoffs.

  • suthrneagle

    Hello Tommy…great info you put on here for us, and the feedback/interaction is second to none…I would only like to add that I think the loss of Dawkins negatively affects the team the most. The team as a whole does not have that fire that Dawkins instilled in everyone.

  • shah8

    That fourth down throw by Rodgers? That’s what magic is. That’s what true talent is. And it’s plays like those, that win the big games.

    • Bob Brewer

      It’s plays the the guard holding and tackling the defender that helps those types of plays occur.

      • shah8

        Holding calls don’t get called in playoffs games without big time holds.

        • Bob Brewer

          That was a big time hold.

          • shah8

            Not as big as Fletcher Cox taking down the RB…

          • Bob Brewer

            But worse than the holding calls on New Orleans.

        • mksp

          dude strangled the guy.

          you keep saying you’re objective, but you see what you want to see.

          that was a phenomenal play by rodgers. it also would have been nice if someone pulled away and tackled a guy about to sack nick sometime.

    • xeynon

      Rodgers made a fantastic play there, but his team ended up losing the game in pretty much the exact same way the Eagles did. Meanwhile, the physically underwhelming Phil Rivers and Drew Brees are going to be playing next weekend. Your model is far too simplistic.

  • shah8

    Aesthetically, this GB SF game is quite nice…

  • Bob Brewer

    We get both of these teams on the road next year.

    • anon

      They better be ready to take those Ls.

  • anon

    Kap showing why a running QB is useful. Probably just won this game.

    • shah8

      Not like he didn’t make great throws, either!

      • A_T_G

        Oh come now. Kap was impressive running the ball, but if Foles made those same 4th quarter throws you would be declaring him unfit to continue possessing arms.

        The two deep balls to wide open receivers where the throws were placed in the one spot where the defender could catch up and break up the play?

        The touchdown to tie the game where he stared down Davis so hard the safety was inches away and Davis had to pirouette to come down with the ball?

        The gift interception that GB dropped?

        • Breezy

          Did anyone else notice kaep’s sloppy play fakes? There was a few times he would turn around, arm extended as if play-action, but turn over the wrong shoulder faking a handiff to nobody.

        • anon

          He leaves something to be desired as a passer. But he did enough with his legs to make up for it. That and SFs dirty D.

        • ConcussedFB

          You’ll often notice holes in his logic that are so big even a White QB with less than a cannon arm can throw through.

        • A Roy

          I noticed him routinely staring down receivers, too.

      • mksp

        he made a handful. also should’ve been picked off earlier on the game winning drive, and made a bunch of horrible throws throughout the game, even when they were completed.

        if you’re going to play this part on this board, then at least be consistent. kap beat a bad GB team with his legs, period. his td to davis had way too much air under it (you’d be killing Foles for this throw), he got punked on his INT, and was nearly picked off on the most important drive of the game.

        kap and rodgers both made plays to win the game that Foles couldn’t. kap also nearly lost the game on a throw that Foles wouldn’t have attempted. and rodgers did lose, at home, even with a run game that was dialed in.

        • BlindChow

          Also, Kap has been very uneven this year. Had some real dud games. Pretty typical confirmation bias case, though. If you like him, you’ll only see the good stuff; just like if you don’t like Foles, you’ll only see the bad stuff.

  • Bob Brewer

    So we draft #22.

    • Baloophi

      The old “double deuce.”

  • shah8

    Kaepernick, the same thing, one false move, and he be like Vick in 2002 embarrassing the LBs…And that’s what wins the game. Even with less ball security than Foles.

    • anon

      Yeah that sideline scamper won the game.

  • Bob Brewer

    Last year Atlanta (from Washington through St. Louis) drafted Desmond Trufant at #22.

  • Bob Brewer

    Last 6 NFL Drafts at pick 22

    2008 – Felix Jones (DAL)
    2009 – Percy Harvin (UF)
    2010 – Demaryius Thomas (GT)
    2011 – Anthony Castonzo (BC)
    2012 – Brandon Weeden (OSU)
    2013 – Desmond Trufant (UW)

    • Gary

      So you’re telling us to take a wide receiver?

  • jshort

    Only one home team won this weekend.

    • Bob Brewer

      And they needed a 28 point comeback.

      • RIP Worms

        And in related news, Andy Reid is already 14 years into his three-year plan in KC: poor clock management, blown 4th quarter leads. I’d hate to be his next three defensive coordinators.

    • jshort

      let that hanging out there, figured get the response…

      And that came with Luck!

  • BobSmith77

    Might be the best weekend of WC football ever. Every game was entertaining and interesting to watch except the dull Chargers-Bengals game.

  • SteveH

    It was a fun season, moving forward we need to continue to draft well and challenge all positions by taking the BPA. Last night demonstrated there’s room for improvement even at positions of relative strength. 1 more good draft will really lock this team in as a dangerous one for years to come.

  • BobSmith77

    On NBC, NFL Football Wild Card Saturday scored a monster 9.8 adults 18-49 rating

    Basically translates into over 30M people in the US who watched the Saints-Eagles game.

    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/01/05/tv-ratings-saturday-saints-eagles-wild-card-saturday-easily-dominates-night/226676/

  • BobSmith77

    SECOND-BEST OVERNIGHT EVER FOR PRIMETIME WILD CARD: The New Orleans Saints’ 26-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on the final play of the primetime NFC Wild Card posted a 20.5/33 overnight, up 12% from last year (18.3/30 for Green Bay’s 24-10 win over Minnesota) and the second-best overnight ever for a primetime
    Wild Card game. The NFC Wild Card (8:15-11:15 p.m. ET) overnight rating
    peaked at a 22.2/36 for the game’s climactic finish from 11-11:15 p.m.
    ET”

    Interesting that the TV rating for the game in New Orleans area crushed Philly too.

    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/01/05/nbcs-wild-card-saturday-is-up-9-from-last-year/226732/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Tvbythenumbers+%28TVbytheNumbers%29

    • BlindChow

      I remember that Green Bay playoff game. Joe Webb put Minnesota on his back and won the hell out of it.

  • planetx1971

    Good FG % I know but stronger legged kicker wanted please. Also I pray to the football God’s that we have been “Chung out to dry” for the very LAST time. I’m sure play making defenders will be of the highest priority & I personally hope Safety help is way up there. Still suffering from a Dawkins hangover after all this time. If I never see Chung (amongst a couple others to be fair) with wings on his helmet again, it’d be too soon. On a more positive note, as sad as I am, I sure feel we’re on the upswing BIG TIME unlike the rest of the East. It really feels to me that we are just a couple if good personnel decisions away from true dominance. Even if that’s fools optimism, it feels GREAT. Let’s go Birds & DOMINATE the off season! lol IGGLES FOREVER!

  • Jean Souza

    Tommy, what’s your thoughts on De’Anthony Thomas? Dont u think Chip is gonna be interested on him?

  • austinfan

    The Eagles will not arrive until 2015-2016, unless something special happens next year, and the reason is that most top QBs hit their peak 4-6 years into the league, look at Brees, Peyton and Brady, Rodgers didn’t start until his 4th season. Foles put up great stats but he’s far from polished as a QB, but he has the work ethic to continue to improve, I’d be very much surprised if he flamed out like Dalton – people think Dalton failed because of lack of physical talent, but watching him, I saw Stafford syndrome, he throws without looking!

    It also takes time to fully assimilate schemes, the fact that the defense played better toward the end of the season obscured that they still make a lot of coverage mistakes. It also takes time for young talent to mature, the 4 DL that will be the core of this defense have 4 full starting seasons between the 4 of them (Cox (2), Thornton (1.5), Logan (0.5), Curry (0)). It will also take two more drafts and offseason acquisitions to build the kind of depth that wins championships – I’d like to have someone better than Square, Matthews, Carmichael and Coleman dressing.

    It’s easy to look at NE and say Brady got them a ring the first season he started, but Belichick was in his second year, and had inherited a solid defense from Pete Carroll. Indy won 13 games in Peyton’s 2nd season against a weak schedule then lost in the playoffs, won 10 games 2 of the next 3 years and lost both times in the playoffs, it was not until his 6th season, and Dungy’s 2nd year as HC, that Indy became a legitimate playoff contender. Brees went 12-4 his third season in SD then lost in the wildcard game, didn’t make the playoffs the next year. Goes to NO with Payton, as a 5th year QB, they go 10-6, beat the Eagles, lose to the Bears, then fail to make the playoffs the next two years.

    Point is it can take a few years to build a legitimate playoff contender (good enough to have a change of running the field), because you have to develop a QB AND a team around him. So look at this season as a very good start, now this offseason should be judged not as a quick fix but the opportunity to put some walls on the foundation that has already been laid.

    • xeynon

      Dalton is still making the kind of elementary mistakes Foles has already outgrown. That godawful pick he threw today, the lollipop to the sideline off his back foot while backpedaling away from an unblocked blitzer in the shadow of his own end zone? No way Foles makes that throw. In addition, Foles is showing a grasp of the advanced aspects of the position – looking off defensive backs, manipulating coverage with pump fakes and shoulder shimmies, etc. – that is remarkable for such a young and inexperienced player. He’s had literally the best first 16 starts of any quarterback in NFL history. While it’s still possible what we’ve seen is a mirage and he’ll regress, I don’t see any evidence that would lead me to suspect that will happen.

      As for the rest of the team, you’re right that building a long-term contender can take time and injuries, uncertainty, etc. can wreak havoc, but we must remember that Foles is not the only good young player already in place. McCoy and Jackson are still in their primes, and guys like Boykin, Ertz, and Kendricks are already showing signs of possible coming stardom. Johnson, Cox, and Logan have been somewhat less impressive, but still look like solid starters at the very least. This team has a lot of good young talent and the foundation is there to be a contender year after year.

  • BobSmith77

    Hoping for a 49ers-Seahawks NFC championship game and an AFC championship game with one more AFC playoff showdown between Manning and Brady (best QB rivalry in NFL history).

    49ers-Seahawks rivalry has really grown into one of mutual dislike the last 2 years.

    Brady-Manning have played 14 times and 3 times in the playoffs but haven’t had a playoff showdown since the ’06 AFC championship game.

  • A Roy

    It would seem to me that Coach Kelly has some growing to do wrt what works and what doesn’t. I was struck by the fact we had only one RB all game. A change of pace here and there could possibly have helped against NO’s suspect run defense.

  • BobSmith77

    Both Payton and Harbaugh advanced this weekend and they are the only 2 coaches in the NFC I would possibly rather have right now than Kelly.

    Still not sold on Carroll being an elite NFL coach either given his overall body of work.

  • suthrneagle

    Off topic a tad,but nfl fined D. Murray 21,000$ for the hit on Squares…
    Wondering if they fined the refs for the non call
    and if the Eagles will get a written apology?!!

  • Weapon Y

    I’m just happy I’m an Eagles fan and not a Browns fan. My friend works a lot in Cleveland and told me he overheard a Browns executive in a Panera nearby the Browns’s training facility. He could tell he was a Browns executive from the conversation on the executive’s cell phone and heard that they are about to hire Mike Mularkey as the head coach. For all I know that “Browns executive” was just an insane fan, but if it’s true that shows you how inept the Browns are.

    • A_T_G

      He could follow the Shannahan model and hire his kids, but that would just be a bunch of Mularkey.

      • ICDogg

        It could be a Banner Day.

  • ICDogg

    Alterraun Verner

    • ICDogg

      (FA corner that we may have interest in)

      • Insomniac

        FA corner that needs to be signed by us is what you meant right?

        • ICDogg

          He’s a playmaker who has made some nice INTs this year

  • Insomniac

    My premature mock draft

    1st – Kelvin Benjamin (WR)
    2nd – Michael Sam (OLB)
    3rd – DaQuan Jones (NT)
    4th – Kenny Ladler (S)
    5th – Seantrel Henderson (OL)
    5th – Dri Archer (RB/WR/KR)
    7th – Colt Lyerla (TE)

  • ICDogg

    Good calculator for working out salary cap scenarios.

    http://overthecap.com/calculator/?Team=Eagles

    • RIP Worms

      I generally just use this one:

      @shlynch

      • ICDogg

        Heh. Well, that’s good for specific items, but the calculator is good for big picture stuff.

  • truehaynes

    Does anyone else think we need a big bodied nose tackle? I mean I like Bennie Logan, but only as a back up nose or de. And he would still play a lot considering how much our backup DL plays and hr would get rid of damion “I just got speared by a rb” square. I think we would have stopped at least one of those sneaks with a 340 pound beast in the middle. Will there be anyone available in fa or in the draft that would be worth getting?

    • ICDogg

      Logan is young, I think he might be able to pack about 10-15 more solid pounds on his frame.

  • ICDogg

    pic.twitter.com/ghCHic5kCj

  • ICDogg

    Another name to look for: Louisville safety Calvin Pryor. Plays with violence

    • GENETiC-FREAK

      Best safety in the draft i reckon

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