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The Linc - Where do the Eagles go from here?

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 1/8/2014.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

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Let's get to the links...

Adjusting to the 3-4 - Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
As we talk about ways to improve the defense, we have to remember that this was an odd year. The 3-4 system was new to most of these guys. Connor Barwin had played in the 3-4 in Houston. Same for DeMeco Ryans, but remember that was a 1-gap system. Mychal Kendricks played some 3-4 in college. Moving to Bill Davis 2-gap version of the 3-4 was essentially new to the entire front seven. Playing in the 3-4 is vastly different than the 4-3, especially for the DL. As a rookie, Fletcher Cox was taught to attack gaps. If blockers got to him, his job was to shed the block and get to his gap. There were times when he had to take on double teams, but that kind of thing wasn’t a regular occurrence. Cox finished the year with 5.5 sacks, 5 TFLs and a FF. He made his share of plays. This season Cox had 3 sacks and 1 TFL. Cox didn’t get worse. He had to adjust to a new role.

Offseason thoughts: Riley Cooper and roster construction - Brent Cohen, EaglesRewind
The offseason has officially begun (for the Eagles), and that means its time to look at the roster from a higher level. You can get a basic breakdown from most of the Eagles beats; I’ve just got a few thoughts to add. The biggest point to make is: Don’t forget about the team’s strength. Too often, fans focus entirely on team weaknesses and forget that nothing in sports is static. Remember back to the Andy Reid peak. Those teams were built upon the strength of the DEFENSE. Over time, the defensive roster was allowed to atrophy while the focus was on the offense. Fixing weaknesses is obviously vital, but the first priority, in my opinion, should be ensuring your team’s strength remains a strength. This year, the team’s success was built upon a great offense. However, there’s no guarantee that the offense will remain at that level. Personally, I still think they’re still missing a "weapon" at WR.

What's next for the Eagles? - Les Bowen, Daily News
Yep, that really happened. The Eagles won 10 games and went to the playoffs in Chip Kelly's first season, setting franchise records for points, net yards, touchdowns, passing yards and fewest turnovers. Had they covered a late-game kickoff better last Saturday, they might be preparing for another playoff game this week. But they didn't, and they aren't. So, what now?

Eagles' Kelly suprisingly adaptable in debut NFL season - Rich Hofmann, Daily News
AS WE ALL begin to reflect on the last 12 months in the life of the Philadelphia Eagles Football Club, it becomes more and more clear that there is a book in there, somewhere. And if someone feels like writing it, about the arrival of a new coach with a revolutionary reputation, about the instant turnaround that he wrought, this would be the best title: Chip Kelly, Narrative Assassin.

To be a starter, Brandon Graham will have to go - Reuben Frank, CSN Philly
It’s been four years now of Brandon Graham waiting for his chance, four years waiting for his turn, four years hearing about how the Eagles should have drafted Earl Thomas instead, and he’s starting to embrace the reality that if his chance does come, it probably won’t come in Philadelphia. Graham, the Eagles’ first-round pick in 2010, finished his fourth year in the NFL with a sack in the Eagles’ playoff loss to the Saints, and on Monday, just as he’s done every year, he mulled his future once the dust had settled.

All-22: Why the Run Defense Faltered - Sheil Kapadia, Birds 24/7
The Saints entered the postseason with the reputation as one of the league’s more pass-happy teams. That figured to be even more the case Saturday, considering they were without their leading rusher in Pierre Thomas. The Eagles, meanwhile, had the fifth-best run defense in the NFL since Week 10 and had shown vulnerabilities against the pass. All week, the question was whether the Eagles could handle Brees. No one paid much attention to the Saints’ running game. But on the first play Saturday night, Payton provided a twist.

Touchdowns Instead of Field Goals - ChipWagon
Looking back on the 2013 season, one of the most exciting aspects was Chip Kelly and Nick Foles' ability to transform this Philadelphia Eagles offense from a lackluster red zone team to a very good one. No question this is the part of Nick Foles' 2013 that will be positioned heavily in his campaign to be the next franchise QB of the Philadelphia Eagles. In almost all types of football, the team that scores TDs instead of Field Goals is generally the team that wins. The Eagles went 3-5 in the red zone against the Saints on Saturday and unfortunately it wasn't quite enough. Rob Ryan's strategy against our red zone offense was to rush only 3 and drop 8. A strategy that worked just well enough to allow the Saints to pull out of Philly with a win.

FA-To-Be, Vick Reflects On Time In Philly - Bo Wulf,
If this is it for Michael Vick as a Philadelphia Eagle, what a long, strange trip it's been. From lightning-rod signing to No. 2 quarterback to resurgent superstar to quarterback competition victor to supportive, consummate-teammate backup, Vick has played many roles for the Eagles since joining the team in the summer of 2009. "It's hard to sum up my time here," Vick said. "Everything has been so surreal and has happened so abruptly. The thing I do know is that I really appreciate the fans, I appreciate this organization, I appreciate the relationships and the teammates that I've been able to endure in this locker room. There are a lot of guys that I will always remember forever, I will always keep in contact with, and like I said, they're my brothers.

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