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Giants-Eagles Final Score: 10 things learned from Philadelphia's victory over New York

Final thoughts on the Eagles final game.

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles finished the season at 10-6 after beating the New York Giants by a final score of 34-26 in the meaningless finale.

Here are 10 things to be learned from this game. There is a lot to discuss, and it's the final edition of this post for 2014, so let's get right to it. Since no one really games much about the game itself, I'll try to mix in a long-term focus in this post.

1) The season is over

Starting off with the most obvious. The Eagles are 10-6 but they didn't qualify for the playoffs so the season is over. It went by really, really fast. It was fun, it was painful, and it was everything in-between. The Eagles won't play a regular season game again for about another 250 days or so. It's going to be a long wait. In the meantime, some things you need to know:

The Eagles will draft at pick No. 20.

The Eagles will play the following teams in 2015.

This is what the 2015 NFL playoff schedule looks like.

2) The Eagles need an answer at quarterback

This has only been written, what, a billion times this year? Against the Giants, Mark Sanchez once again showed he is nothing more than a backup in the NFL. He turned the ball over, had a number of fortunate dropped interceptions, and missed wide open receivers. Sanchez wasted the potential of Kelly's offense before our very eyes.

Nick Foles may or may not be the answer at quarterback. Coming off a down year, it's hard to be Uberly optimistic, but the truth is they're likely stuck with Foles due to a lack of other options. That doesn't mean the Eagles should ignore the position completely. It's actually quite clear that quarterback has been a huge issue for the Eagles since Donovan McNabb was traded away.

Since 2011, the Eagles lead the NFL in turnovers with 130. In the Chip Kelly era alone, the Eagles have turned the ball over 55 times. 41 of those were from a quarterback, which comes out to 74.5%. Find a quarterback is much, much easier said than done... but it needs to be done. The Eagles can't afford to put all of their eggs in one basket with Foles and merely hope that things work out. They need to hedge their bet to some extent. Whether that means taking a flyer on a reclamation project or using a draft pick where appropriate, something has to be done. Failing to address the position entirely would be a huge gamble.

Howie Roseman has a lot of work to do this offseason.

3) Chip Kelly is great

Chip Kelly might not be perfect (who is?), but he's damn good. This Eagles team set a franchise record for points scored with well below average play from the quarterback position for most of the season. That's an incredible accomplishment. Imagine if they didn't lead the league in turnovers and their red zone offense was even merely average instead of horrible?

4) Eagles secondary is bad

Also: water is wet. Yeah, it's apparent the Eagles need upgrades here. Cary Williams has a high salary cap figure and might not be back. Bradley Fletcher will be a free agent. Nate Allen will be a free agent, but could he return on an inexpensive deal again? Who knows. Malcolm Jenkins struggled against New York but he was easily the least worst of the defensive backs.

Brandon Boykin looked pretty good against the Giants. It seems clear to this point that the Eagles have no intention of using him on the outside, which continues to be curious. Maybe he would fail there, sure, but they should at least try, right? Maybe the Eagles coaching staff will surprise everybody in 2015 and allow him to compete for an outside job. Or maybe not.

Nolan Carroll II looked OK. Probably not as bad as Fletcher, but not incredibly better. Carroll II could feasibly be one of the starters on the outside next season.

Jaylen Watkins played relatively well with respect to the fact it was his NFL debut. He battled hard and had a great pass breakup on a ball that was in Odell Beckham Jr.'s hands. Watkins was later burned by Beckham Jr. after falling down, so he clearly has some work to do. It could have been worse. Watkins won't be guaranteed a corner spot by any means but perhaps he can compete for a starting job in 2015.

5) Don't expect Bill Davis to be fired

No inside information here. I just don't expect Davis to be canned despite a disappointing finish to the season. I know a lot of fans want the head of Billy D served on a silver platter but I don't think the team is going to give up on him. While he is far from flawless, I think the real downfall of this defense was personnel rather than coaching. People will point to the fact he didn't give Bradley Fletcher help, but it's not always that simple. He can't always give Fletcher help because that's not how their defense works. Also, you may have noticed he DID give some of his defensive backs help against New York and they were still beaten anyway.

On a side note: defensive line coach (and assistant head coach) Jerry Azzinaro seems to have more of an influence over the defense than people realize. Davis has the title of defensive coordinator and calls the plays, and I can't speak to the exact level of power Azzinaro has, but I get the sense it's far from insignificant.

One more thing: Rex Ryan isn't coming to Philadelphia. He's already stated multiple times he's not going to take a defensive coordinator job. It's not happening.

6) Jordan Matthews headlines the 2014 NFL Draft class

The Eagles rookie class hasn't exactly been a huge success. Marcus Smith II hasn't really played, Josh Huff has showed potential but has made a lot of costly mistakes, Jaylen Watkins couldn't get active until Week 17, Taylor Hart spent the whole season inactive, Ed Reynolds II spent the whole season on the practice squad, and Beau Allen largely served as a very situational backup player (which is fine), but... second round pick Jordan Matthews was really everything that was advertised. He had a great season as far as rookie standards go: 67 receptions for 872 yards (14.1 average) and eight touchdowns is quality stuff. JMatt should be a fixture in the slot for years to come.

As for the other picks, let's see what they do in Year 2. Sometimes it takes players a full offseason for things to click. This class didn't offer much immediate impact and that can't be undone. But that doesn't mean all hope for it is lost.

And let's not forget the contributions of undrafted rookie free agents such as Cody Parkey, who broke an NFL record, and Trey Burton, who scored a touchdown on a blocked punt.

7) Trent Cole may have played his last game as an Eagle

That's kind of hard to believe. Cole has been around since 2005 and I can't ever recall a play he's taken off in that 10-year stretch. The guy plays harder than anyone and he's tough as nails. He's only missed a handful of games due to injury since arriving in Philadelphia. Cole deserves your respect.

8) Odell Beckham Jr. is a problem

He's really, really good. He's going to be a tough cover for years to come. He also doesn't seem to be shy to get involved in taunting and such, so that will make things even more fun.

Another side note: I wrote about this in the recap, but I can't get over how ridiculous it was that he wasn't penalized for taking his helmet off while arguing for a flag that wasn't called. It's not even a subjective penalty; it's an automatic rule violation. But hey, maybe OBJ has already secretly earned his own set of rules.

9) Unsung heroes: James Casey earns his paycheck, Bennie Logan is good

Heading into the 2014 offseason, a number of fans thought the James Casey signing was a huge disappointment and he was going to be released. It was easy to see why some thought this way: he didn't play a lot of offensive snaps due to his relatively high cap number. What I think people didn't account for is the fact he's really good on special teams. And no, you can't just get anyone to play special teams as well as he's played. He led the team in ST tackles in 2013 and he's third this year, plus he's blocked two punts in 2014.  He's also caught two touchdowns on three receptions. Casey is due $4 million in 2015 but no guaranteed money. I wonder if the Eagles will extend him this offseason.

Remember when people thought Bennie Logan was too small to play nose tackle following the Saints game last year? That narrative turned out to be complete BS. Logan has had a real solid season in the middle. He stuffed a couple runs against New York.

Logan is a real solid guy to root for. He's consistently involved in the Eagles weekly Community Monday program where he spends time giving back to the community. Logan doesn't get enough love so I figured I'd fit it in here.

Plus, there's always this.


Despite a disappointing finish to the season for the Birds, it's been a great year for BGN due to your continued support. I truly appreciate your readership, and I hope you can equally appreciate everything we do at the site. BGN wouldn't be where it is today with you, the reader, so give yourself a pat on the back and know that you're part of the life-force that drives this awesome community. There's a very long offseason ahead but we'll get through it together, so don't go anywhere. It should be a really interesting one.

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