We're all excited to see what Chip Kelly will bring to Philadelphia, to see what he can do with one of the most athletic O-lines in the league, and to see how he plans to utilize all of the explosive talent the Eagles have at the skill positions. LeSean McCoy is a top 5 NFL running back, and Bryce Brown (ball security excluded) really started to break out when Shady went down with injury. Felix Jones has never lived up to his draft position (22nd overall) due to injury problems, but as a third running back behind LeSean and Bryce Brown, how dangerous can he be? And of course, what is Chip going to do about the quarterback situation? Michael Vick has been one of the most exciting players in the league ever since being drafted first overall in 2001 to the Falcons, but we all witnessed him struggle his way through last season before surrendering the starting job to Nick Foles, who showed glimpses but didn't perform much better than Vick had.
We've all watched Chip load up on athletic and versatile tight ends, but what exactly does he plan on doing with them? James Casey was underutilized in Houston, can Chip carve out a niche for him to excel in Philly? Where does Celek fit in with the drafting of Ertz? We all have our speculations, but let me share with you my predictions:
1) Michael Vick will start in Week 1.
Before you jump on me for this, let me state that I fully understand the sentiment for starting Foles or even Barkley instead. Vick is old and only getting older, this could very easily be his last hurrah. He's lost a step or two, he continues to struggle with ball security, he still somehow doesn't know what sliding is. It's frustrating to watch him try and make spectacular plays every time a play breaks down only to see him fail or even worse force a turnover, I'm well aware. But last year wasn't really fair for Vick. The O-line was dismantled, they had problems picking up blitzes and recognizing coverages all year. Yes, Vick is partly to blame for that, but it's not all on him. Vick's strength has never been the mental aspect of the game, we knew that when we signed him. He is at his best with a quick explosive offensive, and with the talent at RB and WR and now TE, compounded with the anticipation of excellent line play this season, Vick could surprise us all with another season like 2010 (a season where he was a legitimate MVP candidate, remember). So I don't think Chip Kelly will dismiss Vick just because he isn't the future, Chip Kelly wants to win and Vick very well may be the best option. Another reason I'm favoring Vick for the starting job is the up-tempo offense Kelly plans on using. Vick is experienced and actually prefers a fast paced offense, whereas it may overwhelm the likes of Foles and Barkley. Andy Reid never should have had Vick throwing the ball more than McCoy runs the ball, and Chip Kelly won't make the same mistake.
2) Expect to see a lot of 2 TE and 2 RB formations
You may think the first prediction is obvious considering the tight-end pickups, but I thought I should mention it anyway. They can both block, one can block and one can leak out and catch a quick pass, both can release and run routes, etc. My point is, the possibilities are endless with the versatility of our TE's. Now onto the bolder prediction, the 2 RB sets. I think Chip will try to utilize some wishbone formation because of the explosiveness of our #2 and #3 RB's.
Let me create a little scenario: It's week 1, it's the second quarter, and LeSean has been running the ball well, carving up the defense with his exceptionally quick lateral cuts as he has done his whole career in Philly. So, Chip decides to utilize Shady's success and run a misdirection fake to Shady, then pitch it outside to Bryce Brown. Bryce was able to bust some long runs as the featured back last year because of his raw talent, if LeSean can draw 3-5 defenders a couple steps over with the fake (entirely possible considering how dangerous he is with the ball), Bryce will have plenty of room to work. And oh yeah, don't forget that Felix Jones is standing on the sideline just waiting for his chance to show he is still a dangerous halfback.
3) The no huddle
Yes, Chip has already confirmed he plans to run an up-tempo offense. But what does this mean for Vick (or if my #1 is wrong, for Foles or Barkley)? It means more trust in the quarterback, so being a vocal leader is imperative. We've all been frustrated at times with Andy Reid's inability to manage the clock effectively; I don't think this will be a problem with Chip. The no-huddle will benefit the Eagles' strengths, which is something Andy would never admit. Reid stuck to his ideals and played a pass first game with a run first team, Chip won't be so stubborn. Don't get me wrong, I love Andy Reid for all the success he brought to Philadelphia, but there comes a time when you need to rework your strategy and he felt he was too big for that (no fat joke intended).
4) The Eagles will be able to secure a .500+ record this season
This doesn't apply solely to the offense, but I believe the offense will have a larger role in the Eagles potential success than the defense. I know, the NFC East is tough, but the Eagles are a resilient bunch. They won't back down from adversity, Chip has restored confidence in the Eagles' faithful, and he will in his players as well. His system works. Yes, this is the NFL not the NCAA, but football is football. And Chip Kelly knows football.
Thanks for taking your time to read a random nobody's drivel on the internet, feel free to ask questions if I haven't explained my viewpoint well enough. Oh, and please know that I'm more than willing to have a discussion on why I'm wrong, I just like sharing my opinions and where better than the internet. This is my first attempt at publishing anything like this, so any advice/comments would also be appreciated.