While we enjoy this lovely respite from Eagles news / you slap your face raw 7 days after reading non-sense articles about how much potential the Eagles have or how much they will fall flat on their face. I felt like doing a write up of some thoughts that I have about the offseason up to this point. Feel free to comment with some additives and lets spark up some chatter:
1) Chip Kelly seems vastly improved as a coach. He's more situated because this time last year he was meeting the players, getting a feel for their personalities, the players had to feel him out and get to know him as a coach, all the while implementing his new playbook and orchestrating the team to flow how he wants it to. Chip seems like the king of guy who learns by doing and I feel like he will improve on coaching on the sidelines in year 2.
2) The WR Corps seems like a good SOLID unit. This time last year we had Jackson, Maclin, Cooper, Avant, Johnson, and Benn as our guaranteed starters. Looking back on that does anybody else see how vastly improved we are now? Think about it: aside from Maclin and Jackson, Avant was never a viable option for the outside WR 1 or 2 position and he was aging, Cooper was a big ole question mark, and Johnson has always had the air of potential but can never seem to soak it all in, and Benn was supposed to be a solid supporting cast to give Avant a run for his money....look how that turned out.
Now, a year later, Jackson and Avant are out, Mr. Cooper had a breakout season so we now know we can rely on him, Maclin and Benn are back and ready to compete looking better than ever, Matthews looks like a feasible option for a future #2 WR/slot player, Huff looks like a diligent hard worker from the reports that I've read, and we now have a better supporting cast with: Momah, Cunningham, Maehl (who got into some games last year), Will Murphy, Quron Pratt, and Kadron Boone. I think we are much improved at this position and it looks to be an excellent position to watch in training camp to see who takes that 4th-5th-6th spot. Personally I'm hoping for BJ Cunningham - Loved him at MSU he has size, talent, and playmaking ability to be something decent in the NFL.
3) The offense will be improved. We're going to have most - to all of our starters back and having had a year under the tutelage of Chip Kelly everyone should feel a lot more comfortable and be doing a lot less thinking and just reacting. Even though we didn't see many miscues often last season, they happened. Learning option routes was something new for the WR's so it's good that we are returning a solid group of vets like Cooper, Johnson, Ertz, Celek, and Maclin (even though he didn't play) to be able to teach the rookies and the new guys how Chip wants things to be done.
The Offensive line will have much more cohesion after returning all 5 starters. Johnson will definitely be a bit more comfortable in the offense and after having a full season to adjust to the speed of the NFL he should play a lot better and faster. I think they will pave a nice way for Shady and Sproles to shit-juke (as in defenders shit themselves trying to tackle them and they get juked) their way into open field.
4) The defense will be more solid, not necessarily better but more solid at playmaking. This time last year everyone was adjust to the new coaching staff and the defensive change of scheme so you can imagine that was hard. The cast of characters didn't change much but it took time for everyone to buy in but they eventually did and that was evident as the season went on. Now we return the entire starting defense plus 1 new starter in Malcolm Jenkins, the same coaching staff, the same defensive scheme, and success to build off of. Trent Cole should be improved after having a year to stand up and rush the passer and drop back in coverage a bit, Bennie Logan should be a decent starter at the NT position after adding some weight this offseason, and I think Cox and Thornton will be a bit better as well.
5) I don't expect Marcus Smith to start anywhere this season, barring an injury to Cole or Barwin. I feel like the coaching staff will rotate him in throughout the season to acclimate him to the defense, his position, and the speed of the NFL. I think Smith can definitely turn into something good for this team. I was one of the people that did the face palm when he got drafted but after I did my homework on him, I felt at ease. He does everything that Connor Barwin does and is good at it. I think he's a good pass rusher (not excellent) but good enough to make an impact. I really expect Smith, Thornton, and even Kendricks to get to the QB more often this season. The staff definitely found some success with blitzing Kendricks at times and Thornton knows he has to be more than a run stuffing lineman so I look for him to improve too.
6) Gee golly wilikers Mark Sanchez sucks as advertised. Still recovering or not, can we exile him? Like they did on the Dark Knight and make him walk the plank of frozen water...because that would make me smile.
7) I still stand by my tossing of my keyboard and repeated shoutings of "What in the Fuck" when we drafted Matt Barkley...I don't see anything special about him now and didn't in college. It's not to say he can't improve I just don't see it happening anytime soon. Who wins the backup #2 job? Beats me...G.J. Kinne anyone? Is Kevin Kolb still up for the challenge? I think Kelly is in a good position with his QB's. IF Foles fails and doesn't do well / better than last year than we don't pay him yet and hive him another year to prove it while we draft (most likely) Marcus Mariotta. I'm not saying that to start the mobile QB debate bullshit but he's an accurate passer who ran Chip Kelly's system....who also happens to be a Duck. If Foles does succeed then it's simple, PAY THAT MAN! And Kelly gets his QB for the next 1,000 years.
8) I'm not worried about Foles. I like him as our starting QB. He's calm under pressure, mature with the media and about his hype, and poised as a leader on and off the field. He has accurate vision and touch, he can sling it if need be, he can escape the pocket and still make throws, and the kid can RUN! Seriously who the hell thought he was going to run that much last year? If you did then you deserve a cookie...go on get one and I'll wait. Can he do it all again is what everyone wants to know and I don't know. I would like to think so but I have tapered my expectations to be more realistic in that he will have a few more ups and downs this year than last. I expect a few more INT's but roughly the same amount of TD's maybe more and probably a lower passer rating. With that sad I'm not expecting a major drop off, I think he will still be one of the top 10 QB's in the league.
9) The division is definitely winnable. With the Cowboys still trying to figure out how Jerry Jones is alive and making decisions, the Redskins having to sweat their name change and deal with a new coaching staff, and the Giants having to keep their same awful defense...I think we can pull it out. I'm not saying it's going to be easy but we definitely have the best TEAM out of the division.
10) We actually have team cohesion. When was the last time we had that? I feel like Kelly is really bringing in high character guys on both sides of the ball to create a team atmosphere and for everyone to care about the teams success and not just their own stats. From back in the day it seemed like our team always had ME guys like Owens, Samuels, and Babin coupled with low talent-team guys like Jean-Gilles, Baskett, LJ Smith, Nick Cole, Macho Harris, and Eldra Buckley. But now we have a team full of team oriented talented players which feels great and promising.
That's all, I've written enough. I'll write another after training camp.