Lucky Chemistry

Posted: February 12th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Lucky Chemistry

The 2017 Eagles won the Super Bowl. The 2017 Eagles had great chemistry. That team did not win the Super Bowl because of great chemistry. It helped, of course, but that team was very talented and most important of all, they played at a high level.

Dave Spadaro wrote a piece on intangibles for 2020 and talked about chemistry. I completely agree with Dave that Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson want better team chemistry in the upcoming season. That said, I think chemistry is a really complex subject.

The 2017 Eagles had a second-year QB in Carson Wentz. They had veteran leaders in Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, Brent Celek, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Malcolm Jenkins. That’s a pretty strong core to build around. Still, only Jenkins had any idea what it was like to be a champion. The other players had no idea what postseason success was like.

The Eagles added LeGarrette Blount, Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Stefen Wisniewski, Chris Long, Tim Jernigan, Patrick Robinson and Ronald Darby. Only Jeffery signed a big deal. The other players came at minimal cost in terms of price or compensation. Teams were not going crazy for them as players.

One thing that brought the returning Eagles and the new guys together was a hunger. They all either wanted something or had something to prove. They embarked on a mission and all of the players were able to get on the same page. They competed starting in spring workouts and competition didn’t stop until Tom Brady’s desperation heave hit the ground in the end zone in Minneapolis. That group truly brought out the best in each other.

How do you know who to add to a team?

How do you build chemistry?

Let’s be honest here. You can try to find the right guys, but there is also some luck. You don’t know that Chris Long and Beau Allen will turn out to be best friends. You don’t know that DE Steven Means will practice relentlessly hard and bring out the best in everyone around him. You don’t know that Jeffery and Smith will allow Nelson Agholor to settle into a role and have the best year of his career.

Jalen Mills was a brash rookie in 2016. The next year he was a solid starter and his presence on the field brought a lot of energy and emotion to the defense. You certainly can’t plan for that.

The Eagles need to be careful in their quest for chemistry. This isn’t about finding 53 buddies or 53 nice guys. You need players that bring out the best in each other. You need some loud, confident, brash players (they would be considered jerks if they had a star on the side of their helmet). You need serious leaders. You need guys that can follow. Too many alphas can be a very bad thing. You need the right mixture of players and personalities.

I do think focusing on youth will help. Veterans bring experience, but they can also bring baggage. Young guys come in desperate to play and prove themselves. There is something to be said for that.

Some people think the note on chemistry could be bad news for Alshon Jeffery, for his words/actions in regard to Carson Wentz.


But I also think too many people are quick to say “just get rid of him”. If the Eagles genuinely feel that Jeffery hurts the locker room and is bad for chemistry, then yes, get rid of him for sure. At the same time, remember that Jeffery was part of the 2017 team that won it all. I know Nick Foles was the QB in the postseason, but Wentz started 13 games and threw 8 TD passes to Jeffery. Jeffery was part of the good chemistry in 2017. Things have changed since then, but don’t ignore that fact.

Howie and Doug have some tough decisions about who to let go and how to fix the Eagles. They do need to focus on tangible qualities like speed for sure, but Spadaro is right that intangibles are also going to be important.

This really is going to be a fascinating offseason.


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