7 Things That Must Change for Philadelphia Eagles in 2013

Bryn Swartz@eaglescentralSenior Writer IIIFebruary 7, 2013

7 Things That Must Change for Philadelphia Eagles in 2013

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    The job of new head coach Chip Kelly will be to turn the Philadelphia Eagles from a losing franchise in 2012 to the winning team that they were throughout all of the 2000s.

    But Kelly's squad has a tremendous amount of holes, as the Eagles lost 11 of their final 12 games last season after a 3-1 start.

    Kelly has seven months to figure out what he wants to do with the Eagles in 2013. There's really only a few positions on the team where the starter for next year is etched in stone. Everything else is a work in progress.

    Here are seven suggestions for the Eagles heading into 2013.

1. More Balanced Offense

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    One of the biggest criticisms of Andy Reid during his tenure as the Eagles head coach was his inability to effectively balance the play-calling. 

    He loved to throw the football despite having a pair of Pro Bowl running backs in Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy. 

    New coach Chip Kelly is well-known for running the football 65 percent of the time while at the University of Oregon. That's something that needs to continue in the NFL.

    The Eagles likely will not have a solid quarterback in 2013, whether it's Nick Foles, Michael Vick or a rookie draft pick. They need to take advantage of the skill set of LeSean McCoy, who will be just 25 years old in July, and Bryce Brown, barely 21 years old. 

2. Increased Screen Passes

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    The missing ingredient in the Eagles offense during the 2012 season was screen passes, largely because the Eagles lost left tackle Jason Peters for the season with a torn Achilles back in March.

    Peters is expected to return for the start of the 2013 season. Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans will also both return, giving the Eagles one of the better offensive lines in the game.

    With offensive genius Chip Kelly and two speedy running backs in LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, there's no excuse for the screen to be missing from the Eagles offense for another season. 

3. Fewer Turnovers on Offense

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    It's worth nothing that turnovers were the death of the Eagles offense in 2012. They coughed up the football 37 times, including a ridiculous 22 lost fumbles. 

    Things better change for the Eagles in 2013. Veteran quarterback Michael Vick is expected to be released during the offseason, but it's unknown whether Nick Foles or a rookie will be the starter in 2013. For what it's worth, Foles threw just five interceptions in 265 pass attempts, a 1.9 interception rate.

    But LeSean McCoy uncharacteristically fumbled four times and rookie Bryce Brown lost all four of his fumbles. 

    Chip Kelly needs to figure out a way to maximize the offense for the Eagles next season without so many turnovers. That could be the key to winning for Philly.

4. More Turnovers on Defense

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    It sounds so simple, doesn't it? To win football games, you need to force turnovers, and that's something the Eagles were absolutely horrible at in 2012.

    As a defense, the Eagles surrendered 33 touchdown passes and intercepted just eight passes. They also suffered through eight consecutive games without an interception. 

    That's completely unacceptable. Thankfully, the Eagles won't have defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who left for the Arizona Cardinals

    Whoever their new defensive coordinator is will have the responsibility of rebuilding the defense, mainly the secondary, which needs four new starters. 

5. Better Red-Zone Play-Calling

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    The Eagles had one of the worst red-zone offenses in the National Football League last season, largely a combination of turnovers by Michael Vick and poor play-calling from Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. 

    This year, Vick (likely), Reid and Mornhinweg won't be around. Instead, the Eagles have offensive genius Chip Kelly and likely a quarterback from this year's draft.

    Kelly is one of the most creative offensive minds in the sport, but he doesn't need to get creative on his red-zone play-calling. A physical receiver and a healthy dose of power running by LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown will really help the Eagles score as many red-zone touchdowns as possible. 

6. Maximize Limited Talent

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    One of the biggest praises for new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is his ability to maximize the talent he has on his roster. At Oregon, he never had one of the best players in the nation, yet his teams always found a way to rank among the highest-scoring teams in the nation.

    With the Eagles, Kelly will have talent at most offensive positions. LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown are two very good running backs. DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Brent Celek are reliable receiving targets. And Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans make up four-fifths of a very good offensive line.

    The big question on this team is quarterback, where Kelly will need to maximize the talent of whoever he has running the show. 

7. Winning Attitude

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    There's no other way to say it. The attitude on the Eagles absolutely sucked last season. This team quit when they trailed. They couldn't hold a lead. They weren't physical. They lacked discipline. And they didn't seem to care whether they won or lost.

    That needs to completely change in 2013. Kelly seems like a pretty good fit to turn the Eagles around based on his winning success in college.

    We'll see what happens though. Attitude is everything for a team, and if the Eagles stay positive despite their likely struggles next season, the future outlook will be bright.