Philadelphia, for now, is dormant, lying in wait for football to start back up. With the Phillies struggling to win, the Sixers barely hanging on against the Celtics, and the Flyers knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Philadelphia sports fans will be looking forward to the new football season.
With a little more than a few weeks after the draft, the Philadelphia Eagles appear to be having a successful offseason thus far. With a solid draft class, key contract restructurings, and necessary free agent signings, the Eagles are shaping up to bounce back from the roller coaster of last season.
Here are nine bold predictions in what I think the Eagles will do over the course of this upcoming season.
By this point, everyone knows the NFL is a passing league. With so many accolades being attributed to quarterbacks last year, LeSean McCoy was still able to still be the best running back, statistically.
On 273 rushing attempts, McCoy recorded 1,309 yards, 17 touchdowns, and only losing one fumble. Along with 17 rushing touch downs, Shady was able to collect three receiving touch downs. McCoy was even able to beat Eagles legend Steve Van Buren’s single season touchdown record.
Without Ronnie Brown returning, McCoy will secure more carries, with a few going to Dion Lewis, and another small amount going to Chris Polk should he make the team. As long as McCoy remains healthy, he can be much better than the phenomenal performance he gave last season.
LeSean’s career is beginning to take off. With his extreme explosiveness, astounding agility, and breakneck-speed, McCoy’s career is sky-rocketing forward. McCoy has been deemed a possible flop, but with his rate of production each game of last season, I see McCoy getting better and better with every passing season.
Almost every Eagles fan remembers the horror of trying to watch Vince Young try to get a victory. No Eagles fan probably wants to feel that way ever again. This is why finding a solid backup is a smart idea.
As recently as two months ago, former Raider quarterback, Trent Edwards was signed to a one year deal. As of a month ago, Mike Kafka was moved up to the second string. Apparently, there’s now an on-going position battle for the second and third string. So what does this mean? This means that the Eagles staff may find Vick, as well as Kafka and Edwards, to be expendable. With impending injuries, fans are scared about Vick being carted off for the last time. This is why I believe in Nick Foles.
Nick Foles had a fairly good junior season with Arizona. Foles completed 387 passes out of 560 attempts, with a 69.1 passing percentage, throwing for 4334 yards, and throwing 28 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. With a quarterback rating of 145.6, Foles did better than Vick’s 84.9 quarterback rating. With Vick’s injury, the comparison is a bit ludicrous, but I still think Foles had a very solid final season with Arizona. By the end of camp, either Kafka or Edwards will be cut.
When Michael Vick got hit in the second play of the Cardinals game last season, I knew that spelt the beginning of the end for the Eagles that season.
In 2010, Vick threw for 3,018 yards, 21 touchdowns, and had a quarterback rating of 100.2. Last season, Vick was able to throw for 3,303 yards, but only threw 18 touchdown passes, with a quarterback rating of 84.9. Vick had a lot of struggles playing last year too, as well as some re-occurring injury problems. This season should be different.
With the loss of Jason Peters and addition of Demetress Bell, the resignings of Evan Mathis and King Dunlap, and with the extended preseason, due to no lock out, Vick shall have a lot of time to become familiar with his offensive line, and hopefully stay healthy throughout the entire season. And with an army of receivers at his disposal, his passing numbers should increase.
Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson combined for 9 of the Eagles 22 passing touchdowns.
As previously mentioned, as long as Vick stays healthy, the team will play much better. With the returning roster of receivers from last year, and some small editions post-NFL Draft, the Eagles will have a picture perfect receiving corps, just as long as each receiver preforms to the best of their abilities.
The Eagles previously potent offense was only able to rack up a measly 22 passing touchdowns last year. The Eagles had been stable with the offensive line, but Vick, Young, and Kafka weren’t able to execute within the red zone. With the addition of the Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt, the Eagles might have a chance to play better within the red zone. The team shouldn’t just rely on one rookie; however, I think the team will be able to successfully get more touchdowns than they did last year.
I believe Vick will record at least eight more touchdowns than they did last year, and Jackson's production may go up now that his contract situation has been resolved.
From left to right: #62 Jason Kelsey, #69 Evan Mathis, #71 Jason Peters.
Jason Peters is arguably the best Tackle in the National Football League. With Peters sustaining his Achilles injury (and subsequent re-injury), the Eagles had to find a solid replacement. Former Bills tackle Demetress Bell appears to be a solid fill-in, and with the re-signing of King Dunlap, the Eagles have multiple options to go with.
Yes, the Eagles have to deal with the setback of losing their best lineman, but they can overcome this. With returning studs Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis, along with up and coming stars Danny Watkins and Jason Kelce, the Eagles are set for linemen.
With this amazing set of linemen, the Vick has better protection, to get the ball into the end zone. After struggling heavily in the red zone, the Eagles offensive line will help lead the team to victories.
Last year, the Eagles defensive line was one of the best in the league. Jason Babin recorded 18 sacks, Trent Cole had 11, and Cullen Jenkins, with Mike Patterson, recorded a combined eight sacks. Along with the back-up linemen, that’s a total of 44 sacks. This is no small feat, and I believe the line will function even better this season.
Brandon Graham was out most of last year, which limited his play, and his growth as a player. With him back, as well as potent run-stopper Derek Landri, along with the combination of draft additions Vinny Curry and Fletcher Cox, the Eagles have brought major depth to an already excellent squad of linemen.
The Eagles defensive linemen were fearsome last season. With incredible speed, strength, and a great amount of depth, the Eagles defensive line could have opposing quarterbacks shaking in their pads.
The Eagles were in desperate need of better linebackers. It’s been quite a long time since the Eagles had a solid linebacker corps.
Last season, the middle linebacker position was filled by inexperienced rookie, Casey Matthews, who was ultimately replaced by Jamar Chaney. Chaney wasn’t able to have a solid rest of the season in the middle, so the team did a bit of shopping. The Eagles recently have taken a step in the right direction by acquiring two-time Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans from the Houston Texans.
Again, with the passing of the draft, the Eagles were able to add yet another stellar addition to their defense. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks, out of Cal, was a steal in the second round. He ran a 4.47 in the 40, has a near 40-inch vertical leap, and has a 127 inch broad jump. This kid is absolutely talented, and will complement the 4-3 defense nicely.
Just before the draft, the Eagles were able to trade away Asante Samuel. With no Samuel, Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie gets to play as the second corner in, what will most likely be, a solid man-coverage system. DRC is a very good cornerback who’ll flourish alongside Nnamdi Asomugha.
The Eagles might have possibly picked up another sleeper pick in Brandon Boykin, out of the University of Georgia. Boykin is another great athlete, and will contribute quickly to this new defensive scheme. Curtis Marsh may also have his year to show off what he could bring to the team, after getting pushed behind DRC.
Safeties Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, and Jaiquawn Jarrett also have a chance to flourish as well. Nate Allen showed prominent signs of improvement, where Coleman stayed more consistent than any other safety in the last two years.
With the brand new scheme being implemented, I believe the Eagles defense will play so much better than the way they played last year.
With all these predictions, I think the Eagles could easily take the NFC East. The Cowboys had a fairly good draft, but will most likely crack under pressure like they have over the last few years. The Redskins and Giants both had mediocre draft classes, especially with Washington wasting a 4th rounder pick on Kirk Cousins.
The Eagles have depth, and will be on a roll entering the next year, after closing out the season with a four game win streak. With new weapons, on both offense and defense, the Eagles will be a deadly threat, and will win the NFC East.