Eagles season looks promising

Mark D'Agostino

There is an air of excitement regarding the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2013-2014 campaign.  The Eagles made a big splash in the offseason by hiring former University of Oregon coach, Chip Kelly, as the new head coach.  Kelly brings a very fast and up-tempo offense into the NFL, where speed has become ever so important.  He inherits a solid group of skill players to work with, including DeSean Jackson, LeSean “Shady” McCoy, and Jason Avant.

McCoy is looking to return to all pro form this season after missing four games last season due to injury.  Staying healthy will be key for McCoy, though, when healthy, he is one of the NFL’s best backs, who is able to shift directions in a blink of an eye.  The fans can only hope Chip uses Shady more than Andy Reid did during his tenure, because Shady is the best player on the offensive side of the ball.  With Jeremy Maclin gone for the season with a torn ACL, DeSean Jackson headlines the wide receiving corp.  Jackson was once a big time playmaker for this team, but has had back to back subpar seasons.  Jackson has not lost his talent though, and he looks to thrive in Chip’s fast pace offense.  Jason Avant remains a solid receiver in the slot with good hands and good football IQ.  Riley Cooper will take the place of Maclin on the outside, trying to overcome a rough offseason. Brent Celek and James Casey will both being seeing action at tight end in the passing game as well.

Billy Davis, not to be confused with the father of golf star Mike Davis, is the new defensive coordinator.  The defense is young and inexperienced, especially in the secondary.  The Eagles will be switching to a 3-4 scheme this year and will be looking for big contributions from newly acquired Connor Barwin and veteran Trent Cole at the outside linebacker spots.

Mike Vick won the starting job over Nick Foles during the preseason.  He is the team’s leader and how well he plays will determine the success of this season.  He was brilliant in 2010, but the team is now three seasons removed from that year.  Hopefully, Chip Kelly can help bring Vick back to that dynamic dual-threat quarterback that he once was early in his career with Atlanta.  Protecting the ball and staying away from injury will be crucial for Vick.  The offensive line is finally healthy, which will help decrease the amount of hits he will take in the pocket.  Vick needs to make better decisions with the football and needs to secure the ball better when running.

The Chip Kelly offense will be high flying and dynamic this season.  Mike Vick is due for a breakout year, though it is doubtful if he can stay healthy as he has played a full sixteen games only once in his career.  The defense is still suspect.  There are a lot of unproven guys out there who will be playing a significant amount of snaps.  With that being said, the defense isn’t short on talent, so if it all comes together, it could be decent by the end of the year.  Realistically, the Eagles will win as many as six to ten games.  They will be competitive, but don’t expect to see a playoff berth in Chip’s first season at the helm.