Everyone knows the story of the 2012 Eagles by now. The team was horrible and head coach Andy Reid was fired. Incredibly successful college coach Chip Kelly was brought in to revitalize and morph the team into a Super Bowl contender again.
A new coaching staff meant a new era in Philadelphia, and with a new era comes personnel changes. The Eagles made a number of signings in free agency along with adding some rookies from the 2013 draft class. They have also traded for a couple of players.
So how does the Eagles roster look now with all the changes that Chip and Howie Roseman have made?
Before even looking at specific personnel, the Eagles schemes have obviously changed. On defense, it's much closer to a 3-4 than the 4-3 with the fan favorite wide 9 alignment. With that change, there are differnet positions on the defense (OLB, NT, 3-4 DE). On offense, there is no more true fullback position. Instead, the Eagles are going heavier at tight end: it's listed twice on their depth chart.
2012: Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards
Judgement: Better. In the limited time we've seen Chip Kelly's offense, it looks very QB friendly. Michael Vick looked downright lethal in the first two preseason games. The personnel are the same but the coaching could help improve the players.
2012: LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Dion Lewis, Chris Polk
Judgement: Better. Shady McCoy is still Shady. Bryce Brown needs to prove he can stop fumbling but still he has good ability. Maybe carrying a weighted ball around with him in the off-season will help Bryce. Lewis is gone, but Polk looks better than his 2012 form. He's lost weight and gained speed. Chip loves to run the ball and will get these guys plenty of touches.
2012: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson
Judgement: Worse. Losing Jeremy Maclin to season ending injury hurts. Damaris Johnson could look improve upon his rookie season. Jeff Maehl is probably just a guy.
2012: Brent Celek, Clay Harbor
Judgement: Better. As you can see, this position is valued more in Chip Kelly's offense. Celek is still a good starter and the Eagles added Casey who can line up in a number of positions. Ertz has WR skills at TE and Igwenagu offers blocking.
Judgement: Better. Jason Peters is back, which is huge. Herremans is now playing RG and rookie Lane Johnson has flashed in the preseason. Allen Barbe and Matt Tobin look like capable backups at OT. Dennis Kelly performed held his own at OT last year after struggling at OG. Julian Vandervelde is a question mark behind Kelce at C, but did beat out Dallas Reynolds for a job.
Judgement: It's hard to compare because of the scheme change, but I'll say the Eagles 2013 DL isn't bad. Cedric Thornton is a solid player and Fletcher Cox could be a very good player. Vinny Curry has looked dominant in preseason as a backup.
Judgement: Also hard to compare because of the scheme change. Connor Barwin is the Eagles best OLB but there are question marks about Cole and Graham in coverage despite their pass rushing ability. The ILBs look about even since there hasn't been too much change there.
Judgement: Even. It's possible that the starting CBs are better, and Boykin looks improved from last year. But the depth at CB is absolutely horrible right now.
Judgement: Even. Patrick Chung should be an improvement but the rest of the secondary might not be any good.
2012: Alex Henery, Chas Henry, Jon Dorenbos
Judgement: Better! Donnie Jones is a legit punter. Henery has been booming kickoffs into the opponent's endzone for touchbacks.
Special Teams Coverage
Last year's ST unit was bad and Chip has put an emphasis on special teams this year. I'd be surprised if they're not improved.
The Eagles look better in 5 of these areas, even at 2, and worse at 1. Defensive line and linebacker are the big question marks with the scheme change.
On paper, it may look like the Eagles have improved in some areas but the defense is far from a sure thing yet. The offense figures to have real potential under Chip Kelly, but it's essential they have good QB play.
How many wins do you think the Eagles will have this season?