Sunday, August 18, 2013

Least Of The East? The Philadephia Eagles

(2012 was a tough year, 2013 might not be much better for the Eagles. Photo: Johnathan Newton/Washington Post)
As we get closer to the season, it's time to take a look at the NFC East. In this case more or less, IIWII is going to look at why each team could be the worst team of the division. Yes, non-Redskin fans, that includes the Redskins.

But to start this off, we'll look at the team most likely to be the cellar dweller of the NFCE when the season ends: The Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles are starting over. For the past thirteen years, the Eagles have had Andy Reid at the helm of the franchise. Well, Andy and his multiple playoff runs that lead to one Super Bowl appearance and nothing much else is gone. He's not the only one, as the team decided to scrap the high salaried veteran corners Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie.

The Eagles made an interesting move in signing Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. Kelly has an amazing offensive scheme but many have wondered if the high tempo, quick paced scheme could succeed at the NFL level.

(Cooper's first mistake was the Chesney concert)
The Eagles have already had some early struggles during camp. They have lost three players already to ACL tears in WR Jeremy Maclin, WR Arrelious Benn and LB Jason Phillips. Plus, they also have issues with backup WR Riley Cooper as he said a racial slur on camera during a Kenny Chesney concert.

So here's 5 questions I have about the Eagles heading into the season.

1. Can Chip Kelly Succeed as a coach in the NFL?
As a Redskins fan I can tell you first hand that I've seen a college coach come into the NFL with no NFL coaching experience and a unique and awesome scheme at the collegiate level fail miserably at the NFL level. Maybe you want to blame Dan Snyder and the front office for that but Spurrier didn't put in the time and effort to make adjustments and succeed in the NFL. Maybe Kelly will, but I don't like his odds.

(Can Vick win the job and stay healthy for a full season? Image via.)
2. Who's the Quarterback?
Teams who don't have a starter set by the middle of pre-season generally isn't a good sign. Right now it's a toss up on whether it'll be Michael Vick or Nick Foles. Now some people will tell you that this is a strategy to make the Redskins prepare for both quarterbacks and they're probably right. But I'm not sure the Eagles know who the starter will be week one and that could be significantly troubling since there are different styles of quarterback on this roster.

3. Conversion to the 3-4.
Again, as a Redskins fan I know the difficulties of switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme. There are a lot of growing pains in the process of trying to figure out who can play in the scheme and who can't. Most likely the Eagles will have to draft a few defensive players next year who will fit the scheme. This is usually a 1-2 year process.

4. Dedication to the Run.
The Reid Eagles had plenty of talented running backs over the years, but Reid could never dedicate himself to the run. This resulted in a lot of passing plays. While there was success by being a pass first team, it also made the Eagles susceptible to pass rush and INTs. Can Chip Kelly have more dedication to the run especially when he talent in the backfield like LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown.

5. Time of Possession.
Chip Kelly's scheme is a no huddle, quick paced scheme designed to wear down opposing defenses. The problem however, is that the Eagles could have a quick three and out and then their defense will get worn down by the opposing offense. Are the Eagles prepared for this event and could running the ball more help to limit this?

I think 2013 will be a rough year for the Eagles. New coach, new schemes and a lot of season ending injuries will require a lot of hard work and luck to overcome. The good news is that the Eagles will have a high draft pick and continue to build their roster for future years.

Win Prediction: 6

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