How Good Can the Eagles Be?

Posted: June 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 120 Comments »

The Eagles went 10-6 in 2013. They won the NFC East and hosted a playoff game. It was a good initial season for Chip Kelly, but there is a lot of room for improvement. As we talk about expectations for 2014, most of the discussion centers on whether the team will take a step back or maintain the status quo.

Is it possible for the Eagles to take a big step forward and challenge Seattle for NFC supremacy? Let’s talk about what would need to happen for the Eagles to make that kind of a leap.

Nick Foles – The numbers won’t be as shockingly good, but Foles overall level of play can be better. Think about how many games the Eagles offense raced out to 24 points or so by the mid-3rd quarter and then went stagnant.

* Eagles were up 20-3 on GB and held on to win 27-13.

* Eagles were up 24-0 on WAS and held on to win 24-16.

* Eagles were up 24-7 on ARZ and held on to win 24-21.

* Eagles were up 17-7 on DAL and held on to win 24-22.

Foles isn’t solely to blame for the offense going cold in those games, but he is the QB. If he’s going to emerge as a true star player, he’s got to be able to not only help the Eagles build a lead, but also keep it going. Good teams are greedy. They want more yards, more 1st downs and more point.

Foles needs to be quicker with his reads on some plays. He needs to be more accurate downfield. He needs to make some better reads. There were some open guys that Foles never saw. No repeats of the first Dallas game. I still have nightmares about how awful Foles was that day.

There is no QB competition this year. Foles can develop chemistry with the key players on offense. He’ll get a ton of reps. Foles has a good set-up. This is a great opportunity for him. However, this is also the first time in his life he’s ever had to deal with significant expectations. I don’t anticipate that pressure affecting him in a negative way, but it certainly can happen.

WRs – The Eagles can have an outstanding WRs corps, but some players do need to step up. Jeremy Maclin was very good in 2012 and should be very good this year. The one area where I’m most curious is physicality. Will he block the way Chip wants? Will he embrace the middle of the field? Kelly got DeSean Jackson to use the middle of the field (which didn’t happen in the previous 2 seasons). I’m guessing Chip can get Mac to do the same thing. DeSean had the best season of his career Kelly’s offense. There is no reason Maclin can’t do the same thing. That doesn’t mean the numbers will be the same, but they can be his personal best.

Riley Cooper needs to be more consistent in 2014. He was very good at times last year, but also disappeared in some games. Cooper has yet to prove what he really is. Is he meant to be a starter? Is he more of a #3 receiver? We know he can make some big plays, but is he a reliable, consistently good player? The drop in the Saints game was crushing. That should have been a huge play.

Jordan Matthews will need to play well if the Eagles offense is to remain an elite unit. He needs to be good in the slot, but also effective when used outside. In a fantasy world, he would push Cooper for reps with the starting offense (in 2-WR sets). Matthews doesn’t need to be as good as Jackson or Maclin in their rookie years, but he needs to be more than just an effective role player.

Someone from Brad Smith, Arrelious Benn, Damaris Johnson, B.J. Cunningham or the rest of the receivers needs to emerge as a reliable veteran. Josh Huff will offer depth, but he’s a rookie. It would be good if Smith or Benn could prove to be a solid role player. This only means 20 or so catches in a year, but 3 or 4 of them may come in one game where another player is hurt or something weird is going on with the offense. There are just some games where you need role players to step up.

OL – Stay healthy.

LBs – Last year the LBs played pretty well. That was okay, but if the Eagles are to win 12 to 14 games, the LBs must be better. The 3-4 defense is built on LB play. Trent Cole can’t go half a season without a sack. Mychal Kendricks can’t wait til the 2nd half of the season to make almost all of his plays. Connor Barwin was good, but needs to be better. DeMeco Ryans can be better.

And the backups did very little. Najee Goode had some good moments. Brandon Graham had 3 sacks. The backups need to be more productive in 2014. Part of that means they need to practice better so the coaches want to get them on the field more. When they do play, the backups need to make plays. Marcus Smith and Graham should be talented backup OLBs. Goode is the key man inside.

DBs – More than any other specific position group, this one must improve the most. The CBs weren’t physical or aggressive enough in 2013. Bill Davis is going to work on that. There was no depth on the outside. This year Nolan Carroll is going to push for a starting gig and Jaylen Watkins is in the mix as well. Brandon Boykin remains a terrific slot DB.

Malcolm Jenkins is in town to run the deep middle. The Eagles have had major issues at S for a while so Jenkins presence could be huge for the defense. He is a talented veteran that can help settle the defense down and make some plays. Jenkins would need to be an impact player for the defense to take the next step. This doesn’t mean he’s got to post huge numbers, but he would need to make some critical plays. With Nate Allen, Earl Wolff and Chris Maragos, the Eagles have better depth than last year. The entire group must play better. Allen had 1 INT and 5 PDs last year. Those numbers must go up.

Coverage and tackling must improve. The Eagles were too generous with coverage last year. They must be tighter this season. And when the DBs do give up short or even intermediate catches, they must close to the ball and tackle. Missed tackles were a huge problem. The Vikings game was a nightmare of sloppy DB play. They made Matt Cassel look like Peyton frickin’ Manning.

STs – The Eagles added firepower to help this group. Darren Sproles will likely be the primary RS. He could be a good upgrade for an Eagles return unit that hasn’t shined for a while. Maragos and Bryan Braman are here to add punch to the coverage units. They stood out for their teams last year. Rookie Marcus Smith could also be a big help on STs. Chip Kelly is going to keep working on this unit til he gets it right.

Alex Henery isn’t being seriously challenged, but he seems to have gotten the message that he must be better if he wants to keep his job for the long term. Many of you are upset with the coaches for not bringing in more serious competition. This could prove to be a big mistake. I’m trusting Kelly and Dave Fipp on this, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous.

No matter how you slice it, the STs play must improve. STs hurt the Eagles in the playoff loss. It hurt them in plenty of regular season games as well. If this group can get significantly better, that would help push the Eagles to the next level.

OVERALL – I think the Eagles have the potential to jump up to the 12 to 14 win level and play at a very high level. That said, it would require several players/units improving and having very good seasons. You never know when a player or unit is going to have a breakout season. Think about how good the Panthers DL was last year. Think about how good the Saints D got in a hurry. And so on.

I don’t expect the Eagles to make this jump in 2014. I think another season is needed for the team to really get better, but I’d love to be wrong.

_


  • slackerjoe

    Schedule seems much harder this year. We could see a major step forward in terms of on-field performance and still only get to 10 wins again.

    • GEAGLE

      What’s the infatuation with win total? 10 wins gets us the division crown and into the dance, so I wouldn’t view only winning 10 games again as a bad sign…football is messy, article refrences us having all these big leads that ended up being much closer then they should have been, but that’s life in the NFL…expectations of being up 27-7 early, and just going on to win 43-20 are unrealistic IMO. This isn’t college, NFL games are usually messy. Doesn’t matter how good you are, it’s not realistic to expect Chicago bear type ass whooping blow outs very often.,, if we are in control all game, who cares if teams are coming back as long as we hold on, put them away and get the win…

      After that trash giant team got hot and won a Super Bowl, I wouldn’t put limits on a quality team that’s going to be In the playoffs for the second season in a row

    • CrackSammich

      Schedule is definitely harder than last year, but the rest of the division has the same schedule except for two games.

      • GEAGLE

        And we are equipped to steal a tough game or two outside our division like the colts game..where as I see the rest of our division getting destroyed by the Outter division schedules

    • Ark87

      Totally agree, but I waffle with my expectations. I want us to be on the same tier as the NFC west, if we achieve that, they shouldn’t devastate our record nearly as bad as i feared. Suddenly 12 or 13 wins is plausible. Our record should be padded by our terrible division, after all. Currently I place the over/under at 10.5 wins, though.

    • Maggie

      Not sure about tougher schedule. Several of the best teams from last year have lost key players or have some kind of dissension inside the locker room or front office. Sometimes we have to look at other teams, not just the one we like. For example, San Francisco could very well drop a bit and Arizona take their place. New Orleans is probably weaker and Seattle better pay Lynch. I haven’t looked at the whole schedule for awhile, so just suggesting that there have been quite a few changes in other teams’ structure in the off-season. “Still ONLY get 10 wins” ? A year ago we would have begging for 10 wins! ;~)

    • John Paine

      I hate to say it, but I swear I’m the only one who seems to have noticed that Washington went from worst to first and right back to worst again. The difference between a last place schedule and a first place schedule could easily have us at 8 or 9 wins this season even if we’re a bit better. On top of that, don’t forget that almost every good team we faced last year had one or more key players that missed the game. I think we will have to be NOTICEABLY better this year just to make 10 wins. I think we can do it, but I also won’t think the sky is falling if we wind up 8 and 8. I mean, I think we had a decent off-season, but I don’t know that everything we did makes us that much better THIS year. So we’ll have to see.

      On another note, I actually blame Chip for all those blowouts that turned into close games. I noticed a worrying tendency to get very predictable after we got a good lead… Run, run, pass… Run, run, pass… Run, run, pass… A lot of our 4th quarters looked that way offensively. I hope he’s gone back and watched the tape and realized this was going on, because I’m hoping to see less of it and more pedal to the metal from start to finish this year. This is the NFL. You need to stomp teams into the ground and then keep on stomping. People’s jobs are on the line. They ain’t gonna just roll over and die.

      • GEAGLE

        Yes..u r the only one comparing what we have to that dysfunctional sess pool in DC.. If we are anything like them, we have issues

        • John Paine

          Just making the point that every year a terrible team (or 2) from the year before does good, and every a good team (or 2) from the year before do terrible. Often this happens to the same team in back to back years, and difficulty of schedule certainly has something to do with it. Now, we certainly have lots going for us on a team culture level, both on and off the field, that Washington doesn’t. Which is why I didn’t suggest that we’d be back at 4 wins again.

          But still, you’ve got to keep in mind the realities of parity in the modern NFL. We’ve got a tough schedule this year. NY ended last year with a strong run. Washington should be better with a 100% RG3 all year and a coach who isn’t at war with the franchise QB. It’s completely possible that we win 8 or 9 games, and one of those teams wins 9 or 10 to win the division. Doesn’t mean we didn’t get better year over year. I just think people should be prepared for the possibility that a step backward record-wise is not necessarily a step backward long-term for the program as a whole.

      • stephenstempo

        Wash. Didn’t go from worst to first and back to worst because of schedule. They did that because they had a Hack head coach VERY old players, no draft, and historically dysfunctional owner. They were an OLD team that rg3 gave a boost to in a year when the rest of the division struggled. This is a young team with an up and coming coach who’s not going to take his foot off the pedal.

        I also think you might be simplifying those “leads blown” a bit much.

        • John Paine

          Very easy to say all that in hindsight. Just like it would be easy to say that in Chip Kelly’s first year no one was prepared for his offense, and that combined with getting lucky with opponent’s injuries let us win a weak division. Then if we regress this year, it’s because Chip’s been “figured out” and we’re not talented enough to beat good teams at full strength… Not that I think that’s going to happen… At least not to the extent of a losing record. I’m just making the point that Washington was the favorite to win the division at this time last year, and maybe people should keep that in mind when trying to project how good we’ll be this year.

  • Phyxius

    I believe they’ll make it to the NFCCG this year.

    Let me dream.

  • GEAGLE

    They can win a Super Bowl this year,,, will they? I wouldn’t bet on it,,, but we are winning the division, we will be more experienced both at winning in the NFL and within our schemes..we will win the divisions, and if you are going to be in the dance two years in a row, I wouldn’t put it past a team to get hot and go further then we thought….

    The consensus seems to be we have to win a playoff game. If the expectation is to win a playoff game, i don’t see how we can rule out getting hot and winning an extra game or two…. I expect to be better then the giants team that got hot and went on a crazy run… There also seems to be contractual trouble in paradise with powerhouses Seattle and the Niners and I wonder how playing late into January for the past few years with the physical brand of football the play will have taken it’s toll and the Niners aren’t the powerhouse we expect them to be….

    Carolina has no WRs, and we can shut down their run game…

    Don’t think many teams have a better shot than us..

    • Ark87

      You mentioned that KB is creating quite a buzz in Carolina, which is unexpected for a physical and slower big guy in shorts-camp. Curious to see how that turns out. They are desperate to have a legitimate WR.

      • GEAGLE

        That kid has a world of pressure on his shoulders, considering the panthers are a playoff team that has to count on Avant playing major snaps

        • Ark87

          Not to mention, Steve Smith is a legend in that town and locker room (even if he was a shadow of his former self), and he’s got to follow that act. With all the buzz, I can’t help but think this is:
          A) the folks there desperately want/need KB to be great
          B) they forgot what a good WR looks like
          C) Standing out in that group isn’t saying much.

          • GEAGLE

            D) a little bit of all the above :)

            Even if they look at him as we look at Jordan Mathews…I would NOT feel good about being a young playoff team and surrounding our young QB with WR slop…I mean,KB already has to be the best pass catcher after Olson….if he isn’t much better in year 1 than Cotchery, Avant or Marvin McNutt lol, they are in trouble!! Jordan could be our 6th option this year and we would still be in much better shoes

          • Ark87

            and they’re struggling to put together an O-line, and the once great RB duo is getting old. Yeah, at least McNabb had an O-line and an offensive minded coach.

            Good luck Cam!

          • GEAGLE

            It’s almost like they are trying to sabatoge him on a contract year lol

          • Ark87

            Hah, the conspiracy theory portion of my mind took that and ran with it, haha.
            http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/000/263/430/3a0.jpg

          • GEAGLE

            Wait has he been extended yet? Didn’t he come into the NFL before KAp?

          • Ark87
          • GEAGLE

            Lol SABOTAGE!!!!!

          • Anders

            They used the 5th year option on him, which means he is under contract through 15.

          • Ark87

            He is eligible for an extension just this year though, I wonder if his agent has been making any phone calls. Still, 1st overall pick money ain’t too shabby back in 2011. Probably too close to Cam’s actual value to be worth pushing for a raise.

  • barneygoogle

    Ten wins would be okay with me IF we can win something in the playoffs.
    Don’t underestimate Josh Huff. He could be big in this offense with runs after catch.

    • GEAGLE

      I’m excited about having him as a KR

      • Insomniac

        He’s not good at it though.

        • GEAGLE

          Sproles will be returning kicks for a year or two..by that time, expecting huff to have developed into an explosive returner. A WR who is built like a running back seems to be the best possible formula for a KR these days

          • Insomniac

            Huff will probably be a gunner and jammer. His blocking is better than his returning skills. If Josey makes the team, I’d think that he’ll fight for the RS spot.

          • GEAGLE

            I think Sproles is returning kicks and punts this year, I was talking about down the line,,

        • Anders

          I think he was pretty average. He has the potential to be a very good KR if the blocking is good because while he isnt super fast, he has very good long speed

          • Insomniac

            Hence why I said he’s not good. 23.0 career YPR is pretty average considering how Damaris had a 25.5 YPR this year. Huff barely has enough speed to take it to the house.

  • Insomniac

    My gut says our potential is 11-5 but seeing how this team has eternally struggled in trap games..I’d say we’ll be back in the 9-10 wins range again this year.

    • stephenstempo

      I think this team has only been playing together a year. Unless… wait is this team made up of Highlanders?

  • RobNE

    I don’t think these are the things “that would need to happen” because wow, if all that happens we win the SB. It’s more likely some happen, some don’t, etc.

    Assuming things go kind of to plan, we win the division. We can play with Carolina, Saints etc. We are (now, to me, on paper) not quite as good as SF or Seattle but it’s natural they may take half a step back. So say they are still just slightly better (SF) and better (Seattle). Well, who knows if we have to play either one, or both, or where the game is.

    I really think we play in the conference championship this year.

    I also think we are less sloppy this year and close more teams out earlier. It’s just little things – having better safety play, having just a little more pass rush, etc. that will keep teams from coming back as easily. I also expect with our arsenal we pick up another 3rd down or two and keep the ball.

  • GEAGLE

    Alex Henrey situation is maddening.. Let’s not even talk about it and pretend it’s not even happening, or we may drive ourselves mad…. The one saving grace is that we have seen teams cut kickers at any point in the season and find capable replacements on the street… But like Tom, this is one of those situations we have to trust the coaches, but boy will I be nervous every time we trot that twerp out there this year… The maddening part is I have seen few coaches put the type of emphasis Chip puts into ST.. Every coach cares about it, but I can’t recall teams devoting an entire free agent market to improving ST….. Hopefully Chip knows something about Alex we don’t know, but tough to not worry

    • Anders

      I think you are the only one getting mad.

      • GEAGLE

        Apparently u slept thru the weekly doom and gloom kicker talk this offseason..but thanks for senselessly answering a harmless exaggeration with a cunty comment. Good morning to you too

        • Anders

          you mean the daily doom and gloom from you? :P

          • GEAGLE

            What? Wasn’t I a Rosy optimist? Make up your mind….

          • Anders

            you are one of the main guys cursing out Henery every other day here.

          • Insomniac

            You can’t tell me that you don’t get angry when Henery botches easy kicks.

          • GEAGLE

            Of course he does…he is just having a cunty moments, he’ll get over it.. It happens..

          • Anders

            Why dont you shut up? when have I have insulted you?

          • GEAGLE

            Didn’t insult you..l perfectly described your actions this morning since I posted a harmless comment meant to offend no one.,..you wanna act like a cunt for no reason, at least own it and don’t get butt hurt

          • Anders

            So calling someone a cunt is not insulting them? I never felt offended, I just thought it was funny you said we shouldnt bring up Henery, when you was the one who brought him up today and yesterday.

            GEAGLE, in general I like you, but I can also see why other blogs have banned you. You begin name calling the moment somebody disagrees with you.

          • GEAGLE

            Cunt actions, cunty comments isn’t an insult to you, just your momentary behavior… I’m not that complicated dude, I disagree with 100s of people respectfully every day, but if you go out of your way to be a dick for no reason, under a football post, then don’t cry when I jab back…we can disagree respectfully and intelligently or we can act like idiots…I post about football, and let the people who adress me decide how our interaction will go…. There is no reason to act like a dick under someone’s post about football, especially when you don’t even really disagree. I have interacted with you respectfully thousands of times even during major disagreements,,,I don’t act like a cunt when I disagree with your posts, I debate you respectfully, because you are actually worth debating football with unlike so many of the other people, but if you want to act like a dick under something I write for no reason..then don’t cry me a river when I answer…u can’t point out one time you adressed me respectfully that I didn’t reciprocate even when we disagree

          • Anders

            “but if you go out of your way to be a dick for no reason, under a football post, then don’t cry when I jab back.”

            Well I cant see where I was a dick. So instead of just going 100% fully flame mode and call people cunts etc. maybe ask them why they disagree with you?

          • GEAGLE

            You didn’t disagree with me..you typed worthless crap under a football post I took the time to type from work.. I would love to JUST READ football answers, thank you..like I said I never once disrespect you or your posts even when we disagree, so you can give me the same respect and leave the crap to the foolish people since we know we are two people who actually love to talk football instead of girly drama…hug it out!!

          • Anders

            Ahh so YOU decide what is worthless crap, so people replying to a post about HENERY, a FOOTBALL player is worthless crap if you deem it so?

          • GEAGLE

            Cheers mate…my males displaying female traits meter has reached It’s limits, I appologize to you kind sir, will delete my comments, enjoy your day

          • Anders

            No, just saying you shouldnt be a dick and not expect people to reply to you.

          • GEAGLE

            HARMONY XOXO

          • CrackSammich

            Nobody is crying about your jabs back. We just really wish you wouldn’t do it here. Or at all really.

          • Anders

            Not anymore than when Akers did it. I know kicking FGs is not 100% even from 39 yards even tho some fans pretend it is.

          • GEAGLE

            Actually two days ago I defended him and chips decision all day to doom and gloom types which this blogi. Snt in short of…thanks for playing

        • RobNE

          I agree with Anders I never felt good when Akers was kicking. He blew that Giants game. I think from reading other places that kickers are kind of like relief pitchers, you almost never know even from year to year. Chip might like Henery’s make up and not want to be hasty.

          I think punter is the same way, and we got spoiled thinking hey we just signed a free agent punter who was all world, why don’t we just do the same with kicker. It’s not that easy.

          So for now, I’m just not going to worry about this too much.

          • GEAGLE

            lChip has been right about so much, how can we not give him this little bit of leash? Chip has earned the leeway, and we know how much he cares about ST, so if he is our kicker, hopefully we can expect a much better season out of him…but I’m much more nervous watching him then I was Akers, except for when he lined up to kick that FG against the giants. I was a mess, I knew he would miss that damn kick

          • Buge Halls

            If you never felt good about Akers kicking, you must not have been watching the Eagles for very long. For all but his last year or so, he was practically automatic. I hate to bring up fantasy football in arguments (it’s kind of like quoting Wikipedia as a source!), but he was historically one of the highest scorers in the league (and usually a guy I picked in the 5th round or so because I knew he was money). His stats (when you figure completions, accuracy, and distance) blow Henery’s out of the water

          • Anders

            and his career fg% is far below Alex Henery’s

          • RobNE

            maybe it was the time he lost the division for us with his missed FG. Honestly I never felt he was clutch. I don’t know whether the stats support my feeling or not.

          • Insomniac

            You know what feels bad? A kicker that can botch kicks within his effective range..and that’s like 48 yards.

          • Tumtum

            Pretty sure at one point Akers was the number 2 # kicker all time in FG%

          • GEAGLE

            Usually felt comfortable with him kicking,…but I 100% knew he was missing that kick in the Giants game. He hadn’t missed a kick all year and announcers jinxed it like 20 times, I felt horrible when he lined up to kick that makable kick…other than that, he was money for a good part of his tenure

          • Tumtum

            Dude you don’t quote wiki. You just go there, read it, and quote the references they use.

          • Maggie

            Totally agree. I didn’t like Andy for a couple of years but when he threw Akers under the bus so publicly I became totally disgusted with AR. Knew right then that it was time for him to get out.
            David Akers Career highlights and awards

            6× Pro Bowl (2001, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011)
            *6× All-Pro (2001, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011)
            *2× NFC Champion (2004, 2012) PFW Golden Toe Award (2011)
            *4× NFC Special Teams Player of the Month (Oct. 2007, Nov. 2009, Nov. 2010, Dec. 2011)
            *Philadelphia Eagles 75th Anniversary Team
            *NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
            NFL season record for points scored by a kicker (166) NFL season record for field goals (44)

          • Maggie

            Sorry, don’t usually care for replying to myself OR read bleacheerreport much, but here goes anyway:
            “Two days before the game, Akers received news that his daughter Halley had a malignant cyst in her left ovary and it needed to be removed.
            “It was just kind of a smack of reality,” Akers told the Philadelphia Inquirer, later adding: “They used the word tumor or cyst or growth. And you’re like, ‘OK, what does that mean?’ Cancer is what that means.”
            I think the part that upsets me the most is the way Andy Reid handled the situation. Reid has had family problems in the past, with both of his sons having problems with drugs. Of all people, you would think he would understand the situation.
            But he didn’t, he went on to call out Akers after the game.
            “We can all count. Those points would have helped.”
            The words hurt Akers, especially because Reid was aware of the situation he was going through. He was interviewed in tears, afraid that he may lose his job along with his daughter fighting cancer.
            Personally, I can’t even explain how disgusted I am with Reid right now. I don’t even know if I want to support him anymore.”

      • Ben

        So now were arguing over a kicker?
        Whew, thank god.
        If the worst of our problems is our kicker then were in pretty good shape.
        Instead of fighting amongst ourselves, I suggest taking a trip over to Big Blue or the Cowsbutt website and unleash some terror there where they can fully appreciate our tenacity.
        Go over there and get them angry now because it won’t look so good after we beat them 50-7.

        Henery may or may not be the answer long term but if Chip wants to give him another shot, who are we to question his decision.

        Chip is already a living legend, need I say more?

        • Dominik

          I’m totally in GEagles corner when it comes to Henery. But when yot take a step back, it really is a good sign if our worst problem is our scrub kicker. Still doesn’t make sense to me why he’s the kicker even if he turns out to be as horrible as last year, but in the big picture, it’s good to have those kind of problems.

    • Tumtum

      I’m willing to let a young guy develop. It sounds like he is hitting everything so far.

      Living near and working in DC I have seen a team too impatient with kickers, losing many future pro-bowlers. This is the year for Henry, he has got it.

      • GEAGLE

        Hope so..certainly don’t rule it out. Chip made so many of our players improve in one offseason, I’d like to believe Chip can develop Alex in two offseasons, and I can absolutely live with giving him the leash for this season even if I’ll be scared everytime we have to depend on him, but with that said, this has to be the do or die year for Alex. He has been coddled enough since Andy wouldn’t even let him attempt kicks from 50yards,,,we can’t be in this same exact position a year from now waiting on Alex… This has to be the year he arrives or ATleast shows improvement that we can make it worth to continue developing him

        • OregonDucker

          IMHO Chip’s only “blind spot” is the kicker. For some reason, maybe recruiting challenges, this area was always a weakness for Oregon.

          In the NFL, good kickers are in BIG demand. I think the Eagles will continue to struggle in finding a winner.

          • GEAGLE

            Yup…his past history with kickers makes it worrisome for sure

    • Cafone

      In the end, Henery isn’t horrible. The issue is that we as fans would like a great kicker, or at least one that is really good. And Henery has been somewhat below average.

      But I really don’t think Henery is too concerned about his job because I think he realizes that he has done just enough to get another job if the Eagles find someone else and cut him. There aren’t 32 better kickers than Henery right now. He could hang around the league for the next 10 years being that kicker that teams would like to replace but can’t, because he’s not horrible.

      • GEAGLE

        U r right…today Alex is certainly good enough to have a job. Half the teams play musical chairs with the bottom half of kickers passing them around from team to team like some gross incestual orgy…I would like to become one of the few teams that get to enjoy quality stability at the position. I’m not expecting Justin Tucker but it be nice if Alex can develop enough to not have to worry about that position for the next few years…I don’t rule it out. I don’t feel it’s the point of no return with him, but he HAS to be better than he was down the stretch last year. I would like to not be having this convo again a year from now….so nothing to do but root for the kid…doesn’t mean I won’t be crapping my pants at every FG, and even during important kickoffs.. Feel like we shouldn’t have to worry about both FG AND Kickoffs….ATleast be solid at one

        • sprawl

          I think the primary reason we brought in Murderleg as competition was just in case Henery started to regress.

          We all know he’s really not legitimate competition for where we thought Henery should be this year but you never know what the pressure is going to do to somebody after a post-season loss like that.

          • GEAGLE

            Don’t even think vehicular homicide leg is an NFL kicker

  • Tumtum

    Am I the only one worried about a player being counted on as the primary return specialist who is over 30 and expected to play a significant role on offense?

    I just recall some stats in an article a few years ago about that just doesn’t happen, when DJ was being moved back to primary punt guy. Turned out to be pretty true. That was in the off-season before the year of the 2nd miracle at the Meadowlands. Other than that flukey return he was terrible, for pretty much the rest of his time here.

    • GEAGLE

      With all the soreness level tests and recovery tests…I’m sure our sports science division will have a grasp on who is declining, and who can handle what… Sproles has always been a space player so he really didn’t take that type of beating, tho blocking for RB picking up blitzes does take a serious toll on a backs body…we know in our spread attack Sproles won’t be getting bonecrushing hits by 300lb linemen,..I think we will have a good grasp on what’s too much to ask of him to not compromise what he brings to our offense. If we see him out there, I wouldn’t worry about it, but I also wouldn’t rule out our sports division saying we should scrap him as a return man… No way for us to know where his body is at, but our staff will most likely be monitoring your worries closely so maybe we could decide to scrap the return man plans . But if we see him returning kicks I’d take it as a good sign that his body checks out and he can take it… But it is a legit concern

      • Tumtum

        Desean was the primary punt returner all last year, and was pretty bad at it.

        My worry is just effectiveness of the return game.

        • Maggie

          There seems to be a major difference between Sproles and DJax, however. Sproles was admired by his former teammates because he would do whatever he could to help his TEAM win.

          • Tumtum

            Not so sure I buy that jazz, especially when it comes to effectiveness of returns.

        • GEAGLE

          What I wanna know is… See all these awesome additions we added to our coverage team like maragos, Braman, Jason Phillips coming back……are these guys also improvements blocking in the return game? Or are they just major additions to our coverage unit?.. Wish a reporter would ask Chip about how these new ST players project as blockers in the return game but I know that’s too much to ask when media is busy pestering Chip with fascinating depth chart questions in June….. There are 10 other players on the field who factor in the return game..it’s not like Sproles can friggin elevate and fly over coverage units

          • Tumtum

            You would think so. Return blocking consists of knocking a guy off his line and trying your best to maintain it. Really all about effort and quickness.

            With Desean’s first step ALWAYS being backwards or a side step, blocking for him was probably tough. You bock your guy toward the sideline and the returner has backed up or stepped toward the sideline, you are blocking your guy into him.

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah Desean had no discipline at all…couldn’t have been easy to block for him, but our KR units been struggling for years, and it be silly to just put that all on the KR. I’m sure our bad KRs weren’t getting top notch blocking

          • Tumtum

            True enough.

          • GEAGLE

            Hopefully like you said these guys are two way improvements in terms of coverage and blocking…because I don’t think we can blame the return men again after this year since we seem to have plenty of fire power

      • OregonDucker

        Don’t forget Huff. He is a return specialist and Chip trusts his skills. I see him as the primary backup to Sproles.

        • GEAGLE

          Actually wrote about him earlier eventually replacing Sproles, but someone answered by saying he sucks as a return man, which I don’t understand, but didn’t feel like debating

    • Insomniac

      There’s going to be competition like always. Brad Smith, Damaris, Henry Josey, and etc are going to fight for it, If Chip isn’t happy about it, I think he’ll just sign someone he does like.

  • Anders

    With the tougher schedule. I think the Eagles will have to fight just to stay at 10 wins. If we can get 12 wins, it means a lot of players have taken big steps.

  • Duck07

    Take a look at the 4 games that Tommy posted and the early leads that we’re “blown” so to speak. As a Ducks fan, the thought that goes through my mind is that in year 2 those leads will grow and games will start looking more and more like a typical Oregon blowout win. Which is just scary to think about happening on a regular basis!

    • GEAGLE

      That be nice, but the NFL game tends to be messier than those college games….I expect to be in control for 60minites, with teams closing the gap in garbage time…if Chip starts blowing every team out like college, he will be assassinated by some mobster in Vegas lol

  • Ben

    Another home run Tommy.
    If we have learned anything about Chip is that his teams have shown marked improvement from the 1st year to his 2nd. His schemes and tempo take time to improve because it’s so different from what the players were trained to play like in Andys system.
    The two systems are night and day different and we should expect to see a huge jump this year.
    The news coming out of OTA’s were” we are light years ahead of last season”, and that should give us fans justified optimism to believe that our team will be much better.
    I really feel we will be undefeated within our division this season and will be sitting Foles in many 4th quarters as our leads will be insurmountable.
    Okay, so I tend to be a little more optimistic than your average fan and you can blame Chip Kelly for making me this way. Go Eagles !!!

    • GEAGLE

      I’d say that losing more than two games in this division is a failure. I can stomach one loss against these humps, but we shouldn’t be losing very often in our division… And I’m excited about this being the year we reveal to the world that we have the personel for a top 10 defense in place and developing more by the week

  • GEAGLE

    Can FOles play as well as Flacco did during his Super Bowl year? I would ask if he could play as well as Eli did when they won the SB but Eli basically just closed his eyes and threw the ball up lol, so if FOles plays like Eli we are probably screwed..

    • Anders

      Flacco’s super bowl regular season was very mediocre. Of course his play off run was superb, but wasnt really any different than Foles streak before his int.

      • GEAGLE

        Could see the rest of our team perform better then the Raven did during that stretch….if Paul Kruger can get hot so can Barwin… Once Marcus can handle responsibilities in coverage we will get to unleash Barwin more! and the last time he played THAT type of unleashed role he had 11 sacks and who knows how many batted balls. Our OL is better than that ravens team, so is our run game and pass catchers… Their secondary got hot, and we have Cary and similar DB talent to that SB team..

        • Anders

          Their super bowl was mainly Flacco to Smith and Boldin.

          I argue our whole offense at every single position except slot WR is better than anything the Ravens had that year and it wasnt like the Ravens defense was that good.

          • GEAGLE

            Maybe they had a better DL…maybe… But yeah, I agree. Get to the playoffs and get hot. We should have learned to win last year

          • Tumtum

            Defense wise I think they were better on every level.

          • GEAGLE

            Ravens? I remember a mediocre defense during the regular season that also got hot in the playoffs when guys like Cary Williams stepped up and shut down Brady and Bellicek trying to pick on him…..they had Suggs!Kruger senior and Ellerbe…nothing too impressive

          • Anders

            While Jones is good and Ngata is still good, I actually think Logan, Thornton and Cox is better than that DL that year.

            The only thing better was their LBs

          • GEAGLE

            I expect them to be better then they were THIS year…I’m not sue they were better then they were last year tho

          • Tumtum

            Pitta?

          • Anders

            He was good, but it was Smith and Boldin who did the most damage.

          • GEAGLE

            And,what’s his name in the return game…the WR who went on Dancing with the stars… Grrrrrrr can’t think of his name. Jacoby jones lol

  • Zacheriah Schepp

    Why isnt Josh Huff ever mentioned. I believe that hes going to be more of a contributer then say Jordan Mattews. Even the media hasnt even mentioned Josh Huff as a potential starter.

    • GEAGLE

      Don’t think which skill players starts really matters…doubt our 5th WR and Casey will be burried on the bench. Expecting Chip to throw waves of pass catchers at teams

      • Zacheriah Schepp

        i agree with you on that part. Everyone is going to get playing time, last year jeff mahl had playing time later in the year. to me its interesting to see how media and people only stick to the major talked about areas of play. you dont hear anything on jaylen watkins, taylor hart, or on that part even the army ranger.

        • GEAGLE

          Yeah Chip won’t be one of those coaches that wastes many roster spots. Think he wants a collection of different weapons so he can have option on a weekly basis for creating and then exploiting mismatches, and players snap counts can be very different from one week to the next depending on the weaknesses of the defense we are facing

  • GEAGLE

    Best day of the offseason so far… Why? Billy Davis and the assistant coaches spoke with the media

  • GEAGLE

    I think I discovered our new nose tackle…..DUCE STALEY!! Have you seen that man? He looks like Hollis now

  • dislikedisqus

    This post overlooks the schedule challenge, as the Eagles have to face the best division in football, the NFC West. 12-4 is the best realistic case scenario.

  • shah8

    Hey, Pro Football Focus is doing some interesting splits on QBs. What I seem to take from it is that the longer Foles has the ball for whatever reason, the better the grading turns out to be. This tends to jive with the splits on blitz/no blitz, pressure/no pressure, b-p, no b-p I’ve seen earlier.

    This would seem to suggest that one really has to hope for that OL to play well for part of Foles’ success.

    • SteveH

      USA beat Ghana tonight, but I’m worried about our complete inability to maintain possession and shaky defense. It’s possible we could steal one from Portugal based on how poor they looked today and advance out of the group stage, but I fear Germany will thrash us and I don’t see much hope for a deep run.

      • Dragon_Eagle

        The injuries to Altidore and Besler did not help and I have never seen Michael Bradley play a worse game. Gut check victory. We’ll take the 3 points.

    • Sean

      Though there are some individual aberrations, a QB generally benefits from having more time to throw. If anything, Foles’s (or any other QB’s, for that matter) performance holding onto the ball for an extended amount of time is a good indication of his ability to read a defense and create when the play has broken down. If a QB only succeeds in quick passing situations, then he probably struggles to do anything beyond the clean, open first read that the play design is supposed to generate.

  • Sean

    http://www.footballperspective.com/?p=20246
    Interesting article for people hung up on the weak schedule from last year and how it contributed to the team’s success. You should read the whole thing, but, in short, Foles comes out looking really good, while the pass defense appears even worse than we might have thought. Faced the easiest slate of opposing QBs in the league, yet still had a bottom 10 ranking.