I received some love and some…not-so-much-love…from Eagles fans in regards to how I referenced them in my draft review posted earlier this year by our brothers at Draft Diamonds.
After reflecting on my comments and maturing a bit I wanted to send this sentiment out to my fellow Eagles fans I may have offended…oh well-suck it up, go stuff your face with a cheesesteak and read on because you know I was right.
Head coach Chip Kelly enters his second year at the helm of this Eagles roster. This is also his second year working with “What if Napoleon Dynamite was a surfer?” look-a-like QB Nick Foles. With the” departure” (courtesy of Chip Kelly) of speedy WR DeSean Jackson the Eagles went out and drafted a couple of receivers in Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff who they hope can fill that void. Jeremy Maclin also returns from his season long ACL injury and they still possess one of the most talented, shifty backs in the NFL in LeSean “Shady” McCoy.
The Eagles enter this season with a few questions: 1. Will Nick Foles come back to earth after an exceptional 27 TD, 2 INT season? 2. Is Jeremy Maclin healthy and ready to be a #1 receiver? 3. Will this defense improve under Bill Davis, especially on 3rd down? 4. Will we finally understand a word of what Chip Kelly says during his press conferences?
I think the answers to all of those questions are yes. Foles may be able to go 27 TD’s again but there’s no way he can keep his INT’s to 2 all year. In the first preseason game he matched that. He seems to get happy feet when defenders get too close and his mechanics go to the wayside.
With that in mind and the possible 4 game loss of talented right tackle Lane Johnson, 25 and 15 may be more realistic. Maclin seems to be moving well but it’ll take a little time for him to establish that chemistry with Foles. Once he does, he’ll be the go to guy. The defense is still an issue but I think they can improve on their 28th ranking from last year. They’ve improved their secondary with the addition of safety Malcom Jenkins and the CB play should also improve with another camp and season in this defense.
The key will be the pass rush and the LB play. Mychal Kendricks is an extremely talented young linebacker and should really shine this year. Connor Barwin should continue his solid play and the dual motor of this defense in LB/DE Trent Cole and LB DeMeco Ryans should continue to lead this defense in the right direction. The 3-4 scheme assignments should be better understood this year and thus improve the 3rd down percentage. And hey…watch enough King of the Hill and you understand exactly what Boomhauer says so Chip should sound clear as a bell to us by mid-season.
With the improvement of Washington this year it should be challenging for the Birds but I do see another division win in the future. Fly Eagles Fly.
Record Prediction: 10-6
This article was written By Jesse Peel Twitter: @JPSportsRuckus