Taking the Next Step

Posted: January 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 86 Comments »

2013 was great. What’s next?

For my PE.com column I wrote about the Eagles needing to take the next step.

A good team can win 10 games. It is harder to win 12 or 13 games. That requires you to take your game up a notch. Good isn’t good enough to win like that. You need to be excellent. Taking that step from being a good team to an excellent team is tough. Some squads can’t do that. They might lack the talent or the coaching or the discipline. The Vikings and Washington each won 10 games in 2012. Both teams flopped this season. The Lions went 10-6 in 2011. With Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson, they seemed to be a team on the rise. Instead, they fell apart each of the last two years and finished with losing records.

Winning isn’t easy, but going from good to great is a serious challenge. The more games you win, the closer you are to your peak. Improving becomes increasingly difficult because you start talking about trying to perfect things. Think of shooting free throws. It is easier to get someone to improve from a 50-percent shooter to a 70-percent shooter than it is going from 70 percent to 90 percent.

Chip Kelly is the right guy to lead the Eagles through this situation. His teams at Oregon got progressively better. And the column will explain how Kelly’s style of coaching should help the team to continually improve.

* * * * *

Somehow I missed a really good article on Kelly from back in September. Frank Fitzpatrick wrote about how Kelly became fascinated by stats, strategy and looking at sports in a different way. You get to find out about Kelly’s year at Johns Hopkins, where he was the Defensive Coordinator.

“The one thing that struck me most about Chip was that he was a very self-confident guy,” Babb recalled. “He wasn’t egotistic, but he was convinced of his abilities to make decisions. He would listen, but unless you convinced him you were right, he knew how he was going to do it.”

Good stuff.

* * * * *

Posted some pro and college football notes. You can see my title game picks and get thoughts on some coaching moves.


86 Comments on “Taking the Next Step”

  1. 1 Insomniac said at 11:25 PM on January 17th, 2014:

    I think we’ll be in the same ballpark record wise next year. It highly depends if our aging OL doesn’t regress. I don’t see the Texans trading back though unless Clowney/Bridgewater comes into their interview smoking marijuana while wearing a tutu and texting Kim Jong Un.

    Offtopic. I think the best comparison to Calvin Pryor might be a smaller and less athletic version of Adrian Wilson.

  2. 2 SteveH said at 11:46 PM on January 17th, 2014:

    ” It sure sounds like the Houston Texans want to trade the 1st overall pick. They’re trying to seel the idea that they want Jadeveon Clowney.”

    New plan, instead of trading Brandon Graham and our first for Dion Jordon, we’re trading Brandon Graham and our first for the #1 overall pick and taking Clowney. Foolproof.

  3. 3 TommyLawlor said at 12:34 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    We might have to throw in GJ Kinne.

  4. 4 Media Mike said at 7:54 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    I read an internet report that Bill O’Brien wants to be reunited with Chung due to their time together in New England. That should totally get us Clowney!

  5. 5 Maggie said at 7:23 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    There will be no trade for Dion Jordan. Miami can’t afford it.

  6. 6 shah8 said at 1:47 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    wrt to the Vick point, you *could* rely on his legs. You might think you couldn’t rely on him to stay healthy, and that’s a fair point, but in 2004, the Falcons offense was built entirely around Vick’s 8.3 Y/C, while Greg Knapp ruined the passing game. Remember, Vick’s ability to make plays won him two playoffs game, one against a serious Green Bay team. And early this season, Kelly was reliant on Vick’s legs to keep series going, and to minimize the number of people needed to block for the run game. Then the hamstring.

    As for building a successful program…I think the vast majority of coaches preach sound football. Schiano’s calling card was pretty much the whole sound football shtick, and this was true of many other failed football coaches. The whole Mike Smith experience in Atlanta was also illustrative, as he is very old school. It works for a while, but what ends up happening for most coaches that do that without getting better at being coaches themselves, is that the players that listened to them get old, and the young players don’t buy in to the scheme. What usually hits coaches, and New Orleans is a great, great, example with the suspension year and Spags/vs Peyton and Ryan–is a distinct inability to think subtly about the nature of the defense and offense system that is run. As that Grantline article was saying, Pete Carroll is plying a high school defense out there! However, he puts all of his players in good position to succeed, and he’s great at developing specialized roles for tweener or otherwise unsuitable players. His coaching staff coaches up everyone that seems to enter the hall, and when guys like Bennett can leave Seattle with a fat new contract after this season is over, Carroll is probably not going to have trouble getting talent to come in via draft or free agency and reload as Ozzie Newsome has managed to do in Baltimore. Mike Smith, though, is losing old players and not replenishing with new talent, and not getting the best out of his draft picks.

    So when we think about how Kelly will be preparing for the next season, I think the first thing to think about isn’t greater familiarity with the system, or getting better. Those are very tiny refinements. Stop screwing up, as happened over the pace of this season, has already worked. Growth is going to be all about the young players becoming vets. As far as the *vets* are concerned, what Chip Kelly has to do is to provide better roles for them. More flexible, more accommodating in a way that returns greater effectiveness for the unit. As the Grantline article discusses, when Pete Carroll has a two gapper guy in Red Bryant, he lets Bryant be a two gap player, and adjusts successfully. This will be true for all of the tweeners and not so great fits like Vinny Curry. Square peg in round hole, and very little imagination to create a better fit. Perhaps Bill Davis was too busy teaching the system, but how much do you wanna bet that this is a major issue with Davis that led to underperforming defensive units in his past? Every year will have players playing as a bad fit. Every year, we’ll be tempted to move off of guys like Clay Harbor because, just.too.many.TEs, in favor of people not talented enough to get on the field like Damaris Johnson? Our standards for improvements have to be understanding what we do with the misfits and excess, and how we deal with those players efficiently.

  7. 7 shah8 said at 1:52 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    A good example of subtle thinking…

    Cam Newton calling his own number for a QB sneak in the divisional playoffs. That didn’t just happen out of the blue. That was based on tape of what the 49’ers like to do. However, Vic Fangio and Harbaugh had other ideas. They knew their own tape, and made a subtle adjustment with the LBs, such that he could reach the A gap faster than Cam (actually his right guard), thought he could get there.

  8. 8 Sean said at 3:52 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    What does this have to do with anything?

  9. 9 RobNE said at 8:05 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    Yes the coaches suck now too. You are on a roll in 2014.

  10. 10 bsuperfi said at 8:30 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    I agree with you in principle that you need to adjust the scheme to your players. But this is also a pretty broad statement. There are other important factors pulling a team in the other direction (eg the need for schematic stability, the effects on players with established roles). It’s a push-pull. The real statement to me is something like: a coach should adjust scheme to players to the extent it increases wins and the chance to win the Super Bowl.

    Chip clearly makes adjustments – everybody cites the morphing of the read option with Foles. Davis went straight 3-4, and it’s tough to know exactly how a 4-3 under would’ve worked out by the end of the season. But at this point I’m buying in. It was a foundation setting year. That was a primary strategic goal. My gut tells me adjustments to the players will be made more than an “old school”‘coach but only time will tell.

  11. 11 TommyLawlor said at 9:48 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    Bill Davis got creative with Vinny Curry this year. Curry had to prove he could play in a base role if needed, then got expanded duties. Davis embraced what he could do well.

    The problem in the summer is that Curry was a 1-gap player in a 2-gap system. He wasn’t running the scheme correctly. Once he quit guessing and shooting gaps, they played him. That’s when they gave him some chances to shoot gaps and attack. They just needed Curry to prove he would be reliable in base looks when they were called.

  12. 12 bsuperfi said at 9:52 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    I guess that’s part of how the adjustments work. Partner of it is on the player to still do his job and be competent even when not in a preferred role.

  13. 13 shah8 said at 12:00 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Well, I kind of think that Carrol and his two DCs did a better job with Bruce Irvin, for which there was a kind of similar dilemma. Now, that’s not fair, because Carrol drafted Irvin, and knew what he was getting. Then again, it might be fair since there is a strong chance that Philbin traded up and drafted Dion Jordon, and got all frustrated when Jordon turned out to need a lot of hand-holding. We’ll see next year.

  14. 14 austinfan said at 1:21 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Davis’ problem in the past was under talented groups, SF and Arizona improved after he left because they brought in some high priced FAs and used high draft picks on defense.

    Robinson has coached both one gap (served under Wade Phillips,hmm, maybe he wants a job?) and two gap 3-4 defenses. However, when you first install a scheme, you focus on fundamentals, especially when your six DL have a total of 1.5 years of starting experience between them. Then once the base defense is installed, and the proper techniques perfected, you start expanding the playbook and add more wrinkles.

    One interesting thing to watch this offseason is whether they keep adding “hybrid” players, i.e., a lot of people are asking for a traditional “fat” NT, but you’re signaling your defense with those kind of players, when you line up 3 guys who are 310-315 lbs and athletic, and OLBs who have experience with their hands in the ground, you can shift pre-snap betweeen one gap and two gap 3-4 formations, the 4-3 under (OLB lines up at RDE with his hand on the ground) and the Elephant (LDE and NT play 2 gap, OLB lines up wide with his hand on the ground).

  15. 15 shah8 said at 1:28 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    I’m still pretty dubious about Davis. I understand all that you said, but if teams were on the upswing and ready to bring in talent, why didn’t they just keep Davis?

  16. 16 ICDogg said at 7:38 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    And is it really Davis running the show, or does Azz have a lot to say about it?

  17. 17 BreakinAnklez said at 5:02 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    You can’t rely on Vick’s legs. This isn’t 2004, that was 10 years ago. He isn’t the same player athletically.

  18. 18 Cafone said at 2:03 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    Most of us are thrilled about the job Chip Kelly did this year, but I would like to hear someone ask him about his plan to improve his performance on replays. I don’t need to know what that plan is, but I would like to know that there is a plan. He gets some slack there because it was his first year in the NFL, but I’d hope Chip and the Eagles intend to address it and not just hope he gets better at it.

    Maybe it was not something Chip considered to be hugely important coming into the league because he was used to blowout games in college, but in the NFL, bad instant replay decisions can be the difference between wins and losses and could also be the difference between winning 10 or 12 games.

  19. 19 Dominik said at 9:31 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    You’ll never know, but I’m pretty sure Kelly will work on that. His personality is one big reason why I like him so much. It looks to me that he’s a guy that never stops trying to improve and always questions himself if he could do something better.

    That’s the personality of a great HC, imho. Look at Belichick. A debatable GoaT HC, but he calls that guy from College who runs an offense that looks pretty interesting to him. And he implements it, because he’s convinced.

    That’s what great coaches do and I think Kelly has the right mindset about that. We’ll see, though, if that’s true. He has to work on the challenges, imho. He looked bad during replays last year. But he’s not alone with that, Carroll missed an important and very easy challenge against the Panthers last week. It happens, but it shouldn’t happen.

  20. 20 Maggie said at 7:11 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Carroll didn’t play the Panthers last week.

  21. 21 Dominik said at 12:59 PM on January 19th, 2014:

    Fair enough, you’re right. But he missed a challenge against the Saints. Already erased them out of my mind since we lost to them. 😉

  22. 22 TommyLawlor said at 9:49 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    Kelly did talk about the need to get better at that. And I think they did after the bye.

  23. 23 Media Mike said at 8:04 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    When the Texans dupe the Browns into trading the RG3 level of stupid compensation to move up to 1 from 4 so Cleveland can get Johnny Football, the draft will officially get stupid with QBs. Mock drafts aside with specific players, the story out of Cleveland is that Choad was fired because he didn’t share ownership’s Manziel fetish and that ownership 100% fired the Holmgren / Heckert gang because of a failure to get RG3&10. (or RGKnee or RG3&out).

    I could 100% see a scenario where the Texans go from 1 to 4. The Rams go from 2 down to 5. And your first three picks are Manziel – Browns, Bortles – Raiders, and Bridgewater – Raiders. But that would be totally contingent on O’Brien not wanting any of those first three guys. I also wouldn’t shock me if Houston simply traded back into the #2 pick to get Bridgewater after stealling from the Browns. Bill O’Brien with Teddy Bridgewater would be a lock for rookie of the year.

    In either case, a QB (and OT – think Rams / Falcons) demolition derby at the top of the draft could drop a guy like Clowney low enough to make him able to be traded up and acquired by the Eagles……….if they really like him.

  24. 24 deg0ey said at 9:22 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    Ouch, Tommy! A Pats- 9ers Super Bowl? That would be horrible. Brady and Kaepernick have got to be the two most difficult QBs to like in the entire NFL; hopefully they both lose this weekend and then Peyton knocks off the Seahawks in the big game.

  25. 25 Media Mike said at 9:24 AM on January 18th, 2014:


  26. 26 TommyLawlor said at 9:50 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    Why do you dislike Kap?

  27. 27 deg0ey said at 9:54 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    I can’t quite put my finger on it – something about his combination of cockiness and general brooding, moody persona rubs me up the wrong way.

    Ultimately, I think it comes down to the fact that he hasn’t done enough yet to justify the air of arrogance that he gives off – maybe in a few more years if he manages to be consistently awesome then I won’t mind so much, but I dunno…there’s just something about him that I don’t like.

  28. 28 Media Mike said at 10:07 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    You hit the nail on the head. Add in people massively overrating his overall skills. That type of read one and run QB play is brutal to watch. Greg Cossell murders him weekly on Ross Tucker’s radio show.

  29. 29 Michael Winter Cho said at 12:44 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    I kind of thought I didn’t like Kap because he just seemed a little too disgustingly talented, but it’s good to hear there’s real justification for kinda not liking him.

  30. 30 Anders said at 2:52 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    I hate Wilson more, but that is Hawks fans fault and the media. Crowning him like he is some god at QB yet he plays terrible and still win because of Lynch+that defense.

  31. 31 deg0ey said at 2:54 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Yeah, I dislike Hawks fans too, but I don’t have any beef with Wilson – he seems like a decent enough guy. Their fans are why I’d rather see Peyton win the Super Bowl though.

  32. 32 Anders said at 4:13 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    my perfect Super Bowl is Peyton Manning versus Sherman and Co. with Manning winning.

  33. 33 Maggie said at 7:16 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    See reply to deg0ey.

  34. 34 Maggie said at 7:15 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Gag. We have to listen to 16 hours a day about how wonderful Peyton Manning is now. If the BRONCOS win, Manning will be sainted by the fawning, drooling media. Immediately elected to the Presidency of the united States.

  35. 35 ICDogg said at 7:15 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Otherwise, same about Brady

  36. 36 Anders said at 7:43 AM on January 19th, 2014:

    well 5 MVPs and just had maybe the single greatest passing season for a QB ever and have another one of those in 2004. He deserves it, Wilson is not even a fraction of the passer Manning is

  37. 37 GreenBleedin said at 10:23 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    I have similar feelings about him. I saw the Green Bay game when he chose to go sleeveless…. Presumably to show off his tats and guns… So we wouldn’t look at his skinny legs 🙂
    Just rubbed me the wrong way.

  38. 38 Maggie said at 7:17 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    You seem to be paying an awful lot of attention to another man’s physique.

  39. 39 Corry said at 10:27 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    He’s a doucebag.

  40. 40 Maggie said at 7:24 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    That’s “douche”. A French word meaning “shower”.

  41. 41 nicolajNN said at 10:38 AM on January 18th, 2014:


  42. 42 ICDogg said at 7:21 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    I like Kap just fine, but I thought this was funny


  43. 43 nopain23 said at 9:26 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    Is Calvin Pryor a 1st round prospect?…There has been a lot of buzz on this kid on draft boards lately?..Could he be a an eagle’s target at 22?

  44. 44 ICDogg said at 7:36 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    I’m hearing he might go higher than that!

  45. 45 Dominik said at 9:33 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    Re: Kelly’s innovative ways began at Johns Hopkins 20 years go

    “By the time he left,” Margraff said, “we said, ‘God, he’s so creative,
    he’d be a great offensive coach.’ I’m the dumbest guy in America. I had
    one of the greatest offensive football minds of all time coaching on


  46. 46 TommyLawlor said at 9:50 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    Yeah, that was funny.

  47. 47 GreenBleedin said at 10:13 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    This nugget came from the old article Tommy recommended.

    “Nine years older than Kelly and then in his 16th of 21 seasons on JHU’s football staff, Babb convinced the young coordinator to trust statistics over instincts.”

    Trust statistics over instincts…. Think he will trade Foles for a shot at a running QB?

  48. 48 Neil said at 12:34 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    I think that’s a pretty unusual way (to us) to phrase,

    “Trust what you’ve documented happen rather than what you just feel is going to happen when you are making a playcall.”

    They never talk about “passing yards”, etc., only tendencies.

  49. 49 Maggie said at 7:18 PM on January 18th, 2014:


  50. 50 CTAZPA said at 10:15 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    It’s tempting to think that we went from four wins to ten wins in the first year, so next year we can bump it a little more to twelve. The odds are against it. We had so much go right this year: unprecedented good injury luck, bad opponent injury luck, excellent turnover ratio, fabulous offensive Red Zone performance and a weak NFC East. We don’t know what part of that is repeatable. We’re all hoping that sports science and Duce Staley’s ball carrying lessons carry over to 2014.

    One thing that doesn’t worry me is the first place schedule. Whenever a team has a sudden rise or a precipitous drop we read that the schedule made a difference. It’s not that big an impact!

    Here’s next year’s NFC East schedule:
    NFC East rivals – 6 games
    NFC West (SEA, SF, AZ, StL) – 4 games
    AFC South (IND, HOU, TENN, JACK) – 4 games
    All NFC East teams play all 14 of these games. No sane person could discern a bias against the first place Eagles based on home and away pairings.

    NFC North/South – TWO GAMES based on 2013 STANDINGS
    Eagles – CAR, GB
    Dallas – Saints, CHI
    NYG – ATL, DET
    Washington – TB, Minn

    That’s it. To me, Washington is a good bet to play two teams with an easier record. The rest is a crap shoot. Carolina is a season removed from four wins. Are they that bad? This year’s good? Atlanta had monstrous injuries throughout the season. Would you really be THAT excited to have them instead of the Panthers? Should we be pining for the Saints? I admit that GB seems like the best bet to be the North winner next year, but who knows if Detroit finally turns all that talent into a top team. If we guessed at the combined records of each team’s opponents, I wouldn’t imagine there would be a large difference amongst the first through third.

    We’ve got a lot of obstacles to overcome to become a top NFC team, but the first place schedule isn’t one to spend a lot of time worrying about.

  51. 51 shah8 said at 12:10 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Atlanta has a serious cap issue, exacerbated by Ryan’s recent contract. The cap issue is hitting the defense side of the field more right now.

    Min can field a good team next year, provided that they have a QB and can replace probably leaving old defensive line talent.

    Tampa *should* field a very good team, if they have someone better than Glennon at QB. I think Was is not really getting the easy end of it, nobody in the NFC East is getting anyone incompetent. Just teams with good talent but mismanaged.

  52. 52 CTAZPA said at 12:29 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    You agree with me that the first place schedule won’t a big factor.

    Here’s an article that suggests ATL isn’t in cap difficulty:

    I agree with you that Washington’s opponents have hidden potential, but I still think they have likeliest the easiest draw… unless MINN comes to their senses and installs Joe Webb at QB.

  53. 53 shah8 said at 12:53 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Even if Joe Webb plays QB, he’ll still be a relatively scattershot QB, like Tannehill or Kaepernick last year and early this year. He will be spending much of the earlier part of the season getting acclimated, and I suspect that the current coaching regime would not let the system be easy–Joe Webb is old for a talent, and he’d have to be brought even faster up to speed. Webb, however is a free agent, and I don’t think he’s a free agent who’s going to have a tremendous difficulty finding a new team, whether that be at QB or WR.

    Now, that cap space of $20M isn’t that large of a room to play with, and much of it will be eaten by incoming rookie class. More of it will have to be spent chasing people to fill holes that they just can’t leave, like upgrades on the OL and maybe a pass rusher. Band-aids.

    As far as first place schedules? Well, it doesn’t really impact things much–only a couple of teams change to more difficulty. What does change year to year is the difficulty of the conference matchups. NFC West is far more of a hard conference than the AFC West, and we played the bulk of the AFC West when we were still getting systems down. We would have probably been able to beat SD if it was later in the season. KC, dunno. I think with Vick, think not with Foles (pass rush, big CBs), but defense would have been much better against the likes of Alex Smith. As it stands, however, absent things like injuries, meltdowns, and various other things that can happen to teams, all four of the NFC West will probably cream us, absent a turnover ratio in our favor. Every one of them will have extreme talent on defense, all of it well coached, and all will have competent or better offenses. The AFC South isn’t going to be too much easier. Ind and Tex should have good seasons (I presume Bridgewater will put offense back on track, given skill position talent still available), and Tenn/Jax will play hard. This is going to be far, far, far from the schedule we just had. We faced just four sound talent/coached defenses all of last year–Den, KC, Ari, NO. Out of seventeen games. On top of that, we played a number of teams with dysfunctional offenses, Dal, GB, NYG, Was, Min, TB. Not only do we face a hard conference, we probably will have conference rivals getting their acts together and who are more familiar with the Chip Kelly offense.

  54. 54 mksp said at 2:00 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    I’m not ready to call AZ or STL “well coached.”

    AZ is going to be looking for blood next year, for sure. Can’t wait for that game.

  55. 55 shah8 said at 2:06 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    I don’t think Jeff Fisher is a good coach, but I do think his staff has done a good job on defense. The sleazeball nature of Fisher rears his head on offense, as usual with having Schottenheimer as OC. Brian is an incompetent, who gets extra shakes like Kyle Shanahan, and who indubitably was hired to scratch someone’s back in the web of networks in the NFL.

    I think Ari has good coaching from top to bottom.

  56. 56 mksp said at 2:23 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Just think Bruce Arians is a blowhard.

    Their QB situation next year should be interesting.

  57. 57 Maggie said at 7:22 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Being an excellent HC and being a blowhard are not mutually exclusive.. Actually I just think Arians made some mistakes his first year, like Chip Kelly! Remember?

  58. 58 CTAZPA said at 2:54 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    What?!? I can’t believe you just wrote Joe Webb and scattershot in the same sentence. Prediction: MINN re-signs Webb and he has the typical 4th-year QB maturation into dominance (Only it happens in his fifth year). He’s 27. Like Michael Vick, Webb will hold onto his physical skills far into his 30’s.

    btw, in DVOA, NYG and TB are both rated higher defensively than KC, NO or DEN. I’m not saying your wrong that we only faced four sound defenses, just that the dopes at Football Outsiders would have a hard time comprehending what you know about football.

  59. 59 shah8 said at 3:29 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Brandon Weeden was 29 going onto 30. Age matters. The lack of experience at passing matters. Normal passes weren’t automatic for Webb, and that showed most in the playoff game, vis á vis Kyle Orton. On the other hand, Webb would have made more passing plays than Kyle Orton. It’s a balance, and ideally, you want a QB that does both the routine stuff and the playmaking stuff in proportionate quantities relative to the game situation.

    We saw NYG’s skill, we took apart TB’s bad coaching wrt to spread concepts.

  60. 60 Corry said at 10:30 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    I could see the team treading water and winning another 10 games or taking a step back. The roster should continue to churn while we try to get more of the “Chip Kelly” type of player and continue to adjust the roster. I’m really eager to see where the team goes in the next few years.

  61. 61 A Roy said at 11:00 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    I don’t agree that 10 wins next year would be a step back. They will play a first place schedule rather than a last, and while some may disagree, I believe that is important. The schedule shows 5 teams from this year’s playoffs. Do we really expect SF, SEA, CAR, GB and IND to be less formidable next year? Also, you cannot expect both Wash and NY to be the train wrecks they were this year. And StL looks to be on the rise.

    They need to go 7-3 in the 10 games above to have any shot at an 11-5 season. (Assumption: 3-1 vs AFC-S and 1-1 vs DAL.) It will take a better team than what the Eagles fielded this year to get the same record, much less improve it.

  62. 62 Corry said at 11:57 AM on January 18th, 2014:

    I didn’t say it was a step back. I said treading water and winning 10 games again OR taking a step back.

  63. 63 A Roy said at 1:08 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Okay, although I think 10-6 would mean we improved and didn’t simply tread water.

  64. 64 ICDogg said at 7:34 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Yeah, it really depends. If you’re playing well and still getting beat by elite teams playing better, it’s one thing… if you’re just eking out wins over crappy teams it’s another.

  65. 65 austinfan said at 12:02 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    The key is simply to understand that 10-6 is a bit of a fluke, that against a tougher schedule they might have been 7-9 or 8-8 and proceed with that in mind – you’re still rebuilding this team, it’s not time yet for the one move to put you over the top – rather you need to deepen the talent base throughout the roster. Seattle is a good example, it took Carroll four years to build a deep team that could withstand injuries and gamble on a Harvin deal (and survive losing the gamble).

    That means just say no to over 30 FAs other than cheap one year patches, say no to trading up for a savior, say no to drafting for need rather than BPA, and say yes to continuing to try and bring in 90 guys to camp who have a legitimate shot at starting in the NFL down the road, instead of lots of veteran scrubs who’ll look good in practice and on the bench but have zip upside.

    When you reach the point where the back of the bench are legitimate NFL talents, then you go for quality, not quantity. But I think this team is still one more good off season away – I can easily name a dozen bench guys who could be upgraded this off season. D Johnson, Vandervelde, Square, Matthews, Anderson, etc. – guys you don’t want starting in case of injuries (which even with Chip’s sport science are inevitable). If you have to play your 4th WR or 4th S, you want them to at least be adequate, not glaring weaknesses.

    The other key is don’t assume you’ll stay healthy, especially the OL, as Jimmy K showed before the season, there aren’t a lot of 34 year old starting OL in the NFL other than at center. Which means with Mathis at age 33, and Peters and Herremans 32, Eagles need to rebuild the OL NOW. Don’t wait until you’re facing 2012 all over again.

  66. 66 shah8 said at 12:18 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Sea has a number of underperforming contracts. Clemmons, Zach Miller, Sidney Rice. Ultimately, it’s just that the team drafts well and coaches well. And they don’t sign people like Demetrius Bell.

  67. 67 Maggie said at 7:30 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    At the time, Demetrus (sp) Bell, Nnamdi and Rogers-Cromartie were considered very good FAs by MANY FOOTBALL PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE NFL.

  68. 68 ICDogg said at 7:32 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Yep (though DRC was not a FA when we got him)

  69. 69 A Roy said at 1:07 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Still need two decent BPA drafts…

  70. 70 Weapon Y said at 12:03 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    What do you think about going all in to get Jadeveon Clowney? He’s the closest thing to a sure thing in this draft. Instead of worrying about trying to guess who is going to be a stud defensive player in this draft, the Eagles could just get a guy we know is going to be a feared player. I wouldnt give up as much as the Redskins did for RG3, but Id consider something similar to what the Falcons gave up for Julio Jones. If they can also get a guy like Ward or Byrd at safety through free agency, that might be enough to propel the Eagles through a playoff run.

  71. 71 scratcherk said at 12:10 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Would he project as 3-4 DE or OLB?

  72. 72 Weapon Y said at 12:30 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Probably OLB in most formations, but possibly a few looks as a DE in 3 and 4 man fronts in certain situations. Very similar to the role Trent Cole had last season.

  73. 73 Neil said at 12:20 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    If he had immaculate character, he would probably be too expensive. From 22 up to 1-3, that would probably take our 1, 2 and next year’s 1. Just not wise to invest so many resources in one pair of knees. However, there are concerns about his passion for the game, further slanting the equation toward no.

  74. 74 Weapon Y said at 12:29 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    I understand the argument against doing it, and I’m somewhat torn myself. Randy Moss is one example of a low character guy who fell in the draft and had a freakishly good rookie year. I just can’t see any of the other OLBs being in the same class as Clay Matthews or Aldon Smith. I can with Clowney.

  75. 75 Neil said at 12:41 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    If Clowney somehow managed to fall to 10-12 and his character checked out, I think you might consider it. It’s hard for me to imagine him getting out of the top 5.

  76. 76 scratcherk said at 12:11 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    I haven’t seen Byrd play much but he looks tiny. Does his play live up to billing?

  77. 77 Erik Richardson said at 12:35 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Ok, I know this is slightly off topic. I have a question about DRC. He’s a FA this off-season. He took said “Prove It” one year deal with the Broncos. He went out and played at a high level all season into the playoffs. What we wished he’d done last season for us. I think he is an upgrade over Williams & Fletcher. He can be had. I would always fear a revert to poorer playing ways after he gets paid. He’s young, he’s weird, quirky,(can run step for step with DeSean) talented still, young still…

  78. 78 Insomniac said at 12:37 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Did he learn how to tackle in Denver?

  79. 79 shah8 said at 12:59 PM on January 18th, 2014:


  80. 80 Erik Richardson said at 6:08 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    He’s having an above average year for Denver. he has to make some tackles. lol

  81. 81 NinjaP said at 2:04 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    No thanks, something has to be said about the eagles letting him walk even though DRC’s best season in the NFL was under Billy Davis at Arizona.

  82. 82 Dominik said at 2:09 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    DRC showed effort in Denver. He didn’t show any effort here in Philly. Even though we have a new regime, he will get a longterm contract and we off all people should know how pathetic DRC is if he’s not mentally there 100 %.

    The fans would hate it, too. That’s not a reason per se to not make a move, but in this case, it is, imho.

  83. 83 livingonapear said at 2:27 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Too much bad blood left over. All it would take is one bad game and the wheels would be off the wagon. I actually like Fletcher quite a bit, and if we could make a run at Verner, that would be much better.

  84. 84 Erik Richardson said at 6:07 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    This was my greatest concern over him possibly returning. Bad blood. I too felt at times he visibly didn’t give effort and lacked discipline. But, he wasn’t even the biggest problem. But, if you’re going to look at the best available CB’s on the market, DRC is in the top 3/4.

    I respect everyone who says no, no way, FOH to it.

  85. 85 Weapon Y said at 3:35 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    With all due respect, Hell no.

  86. 86 ICDogg said at 7:27 PM on January 18th, 2014:

    Let me think about this for a minute…