Wednesday, August 7, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - Philadelphia Eagles

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES                                                

Head Coach: Chip Kelly

2012 Record: 4-12-0 (4th in NFC East)

New Players: WR Arrelious Benn; RB Felix Jones; S Patrick Chung; TE James Casey; S Kenny Phillips; CB Cary Williams; LB Connor Barwin; CB Bradley Fletcher;  DL Isaac Sopoaga.

Gone Elsewhere: CB Nnamdi Asomugha; CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie; DT Cullen Jenkins; OL Demetress Bell.

Offense: The big question for the Eagles entering the 2013 season is whether Michael Vick (2,362 passing yards with 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions along with 332 rushing yards) or Nick Foles (1,699 yards, six TD, five INT) will be the starting quarterback.
Eagle QBs Michael Vick (7) and Nick Foles
When healthy and on his game, Vick is among the best in the game. But he has not been the same since the 2010 season when he showed his old form following a two-year suspension/prison term.
Foles showed he can do the job when Vick was on the sidelines in 2012, but he doesn't have the flash and speed that Vick can display when he's running the offense.
New Head Coach Chip Kelly
LeSean McCoy is the main cog in the offense despite missing four games last season. McCoy led the team with 840 yards rushing and also caught 54 passes for 373 yards and totaled five touchdowns.
Bryce Brown (564 yards and four TD) is the backup. Felix Jones (402 yards and three TD) comes over from Dallas and will add depth this season.
The wide receiving corps has DeSean Jackson (45 catches for 700 yards and two TD), Jason Avant (53, 648 yards), Riley Cooper (23, 248, three TD) and tight ends Brent Celek (57, 684, one TD), James Casey (34, 330, three TD with Houston) and Clay Harbor.
Unfortunately, projected starting receiver Jeremy Maclin and free agent signee Arrelious Benn were lost for the season with injuries in training camp.
The offensive line has center Jason Kelce, guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans and tackles Jason Peters and rookie Lance Johnson, the team's top draft pick from Oklahoma.

Defense: The Eagles finished in the middle of the pack on defense last year, giving up 343 yards a game, but had just 13 takeaways, including only eight interceptions.
The line in the 3-4 set will have nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and ends Cedric Thornton and Fletcher Cox, who along with backup DL/LB Brandon Graham, led the team with 5 1/2 sacks a year ago.
The linebackers are Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans, Trent Cole and Connor Barwin, who comes over from Houston.
The secondary has been overhauled as gone are Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and in at the corner spots in 2013 are Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. The safeties are Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung, who both were signed as free agents in the off-season. Backup safety Kurt Coleman had two interceptions last year.

OUTLOOK: Will it be Vick or Foles calling the signals when the season opens next month?
Only new Head Coach Chip Kelly knows the answer after he takes over for the fired Andy Reid, who wound up in Kansas City for the new season.
No matter who the starting QB is, one thing that has to change is turnovers. The Eagles were the worst team in the NFL last year (along with the Kansas City Chiefs) on turnovers, giving the ball away 37 times that resulted in a whopping minus-24 for the season.
As long as running back LeSean McCoy returns to form he showed in season's past, that will be a huge plus for the team as well as DeSean Jackson, who missed five games in 2012 as well.
Philadelphia scored just 280 points all season, which was 29th in the league. Better pass protection is a must for the Eagles as well, as they gave up 48 sacks last year.
The defense gave up too many points (444) last season and that must improve. The team only had 30 quarterback sacks and just the 13 takeaways.
With a revamped defense and questions at QB for the new season, along with a whole new system that Kelly brings in as an offensive minded coach, the Eagles have a lot of work ahead of them in the NFC East, which may be the best overall division in the NFL.
Expect nothing better than 6-10 from this team in 2013 as they learn a new system and look to soar higher in the future.

2013 SCHEDULE

Sept. 9- at Washington
Sept. 15- vs. San Diego
Sept. 19- vs. Kansas City
Sept. 29- at Denver
Oct. 6- at NY Giants
Oct. 13- at Tampa Bay
Oct. 20- vs. Dallas
Oct. 27- vs. NY Giants
Nov. 3- at Oakland
Nov. 10- at Green Bay
Nov. 17- vs. Washington
Nov. 24- BYE WEEK
Dec. 1- vs. Arizona
Dec. 8- vs. Detroit
Dec. 15- at Minnesota
Dec. 22- vs. Chicago
Dec. 29- at Dallas

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