Oh Good Lord, where to start with this team. Lets not dwell on who is going or who is gone. Lets deal with who is here.
So who is left?
Lets start with the QB situation. Little known fact, Chip Kelly coached me last year and even at the age of 42 I still went 4-0 and threw for more yards than Tony Romo. Sadly, I was not resigned as Chip Kelly found a 4 foot 1 man mowing his lawn and thought he might be a better QB in the NFL. In all seriousness, we have Sam Bradford, who if upright is a pretty good QB, and if not, is an expensive cap figure, then Mark Sanchez who despite having two playoff runs, has little respect, then Tim Tebow, who has none. For some reason I get the mental picture of Chip Kelly and Tim Tebow holding the Super Bowl trophy then fiding off into the sunset and leaving football to go explore Mars. I’m actually ok if Sanchez starts the year, but what do I know?
The Eagles are without Jeremy Maclin, but drafted Nelson Agholor to take his spot, last years rookie Jordan Matthews caught 8 TDs. Plus Riley Cooper is still there, and if he returns to 2013, that’s another weapon. Miles Austin is on the team as well, for another ex-Cowboy. Zach Ertz should be better than he played, kinda scary considering he had 58 catches, but only 3 TDs. The running game is done. DeMarco Murray is a pounding back who is PISSED,plus he has Ryan Matthews to spell him, something that might be better for all since Ryan Matthers is a solid running back, but goes down as often as Sam Bradford in a roller derby. Don’t forget Darren Sproles, no one on third down will, unless they are betting on the Eagles. The Eagles have it all – as long as Murray stays healthy and pissed, Ryan Matthews stays healthy, and Sproles stays, well, Sproles.
The Offensive Line is the trouble. Formerly one of the better lines, now they are starting getting old and slowing down. Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson are building blocks- who will be looking for contracts soon, but Jason Peters and Evan Mathis are hitting year 11 and starting to slide. Right Guard is a problem spot. There is some depth here, since so many people went down in recent years.
Defense is always going to be a problem for a Chip Kelly team. They have attacked this in two ways. One, they got DeMarco Murray away from the Cowboys- so that makes 2 games easier, and that run defense is solid – 15th in the NFL. The Eagles run a 3-4, and the 3 part is DONE, both starting at least the last 32 games when Bennie Logan was drafted. The 4 part . . not so much. Trent Cole is gone, leaving a gap, Marcus Smith is here, but played about as well as a blind man in a windstorm, Help is coming in Kirk Alonzo, who should step into a starting role quickly, and DeMeco Ryans can play if he’s all the way back from injury. This unit is going to determine if the Eagles can beat anyone good.
The secondary, to be honest, sucked last year. I don’t mean had issues, I don’t mean didn’t play up to par, I mean Vanderbilt playing Oregon on senior day bad. Thankfully Chip Kelly dropped a bomb on it and blew it up. Malcolm Jenkins is the only one saved, like when Lorne Michaels pulled Jon Lovitz out of the SNL dumpster fire when he took over the show. Much like Lovitz, Jenkins is more appreciated when he’s gone then when he’s there. Coming in are Byron Maxwell to a HUGE money deal, Walter Thurmond and EJ Biggers plus a trio of draft picks. Brandon Boykins is still here at Nickel, a job he’s good at, but he’s not able to go play-in and play-out.
The defensive secondary has me worried. Maxwell is good, but 25 Million good? I’m going to go 4-2 in the division. I’ll give them a 2-2 record vs the NFC South, since all 4 of those teams have the passing game to do some damage, and the running game to keep them honest. and yes, I’m including Tampa Bay since the Eagles won’t see Winston until Thanksgiving.
I will go 3-1 vs the AFC East, since they play New England on the Road, and get Buffalo at home. Bonus games vs Arizona and Detroit should be interesting. I’ll give them a 1-1 here, since they do play Detroit on the road.
10-6 should get them into the playoffs, where they will scare EVERYONE. They might not lose after Dec 6th, when they play the Pats on the road. This is the same record as last year, but if the secondary comes together, then its going to be a much scarier 10-6 come January than last year.
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