7 Philadelphia Eagles Players on the Hot Seat Following 1-3 Start
Any thrill or excitement following the Philadelphia Eagles' Week 1 victory is gone.
The offense has stalled, and the defense is on pace to set records for futility. Chip Kelly's job security is not in question because he signed a five-year deal, and he inherited a team lacking talent at key positions.
But it's time for some of the 53 players on the Eagles roster to start looking over their shoulders if they don't improve their performance. The defense brought in six new starters from a year ago, and it's an even worse unit than the 2012 group.
That means everyone is on the hot seat. With the exception of a select few, like LeSean McCoy and Fletcher Cox, every player better turn it up a notch for the rest of 2013. The following seven are in a position in which they may not be back in 2014 should their poor play continue.
You could make a case that, based on his numbers, Michael Vick is having a really good 2013.
His yards per attempt (9.2) is a personal all-time high and is second-best in the league this season. He's thrown five touchdowns and rushed for two more, meaning he's on pace to account for nearly 30 touchdowns in 2013.
And he's done all this with an offensive line that rates as arguably the worst pass-blocking unit in the game.
But he's not winning games. Unfortunately, it's the same old Vick. At 33 years old, he's still the same quarterback. He can't (or won't) slide. He holds the football too long. And there's almost no way he stays healthy for all 16 games.
Chip Kelly needs a new, younger quarterback to run his offense in 2014. It could be Marcus Mariota or Johnny Manziel or Tajh Boyd or Teddy Bridgewater or even a different player. But it's doubtful it's Vick unless the Philadelphia Eagles make the playoffs, and Vick stays healthy for all 16 games.
There's no reason for the Philadelphia Eagles to bring Riley Cooper back in 2014. This is the final year of his rookie contract, and he's very limited as a player.
Cooper is completely overmatched as a No. 2 receiver. He doesn't outmuscle opposing defensive backs for jump balls. He is a great blocker, but that's not reason enough to sign him after this year. His days are over, and if the Eagles had anyone to take his spot now, he would be demoted.
After years of providing quality play on the offensive line, Todd Herremans is beginning to show his age. To be fair, he's again transitioning to a new position (right guard) after undergoing surgery due to last year's foot injury.
But Herremans is nearly 31 years old and in his ninth NFL season. His skills have really slipped. For the first three games of the season, he looked really old and sluggish. He gave up two sacks and nine quarterback hurries and was also flagged for a penalty.
Herremans played much better against the Denver Broncos. He rated well both as a pass-blocker and run-blocker, per metrics compiled by Pro Football Focus (subscription required). And he gets another favorable matchup this coming week when he plays a New York Giants team that has shown almost no pass-rushing production this season.
That bodes well for Herremans. But his contract suggests he may be on his way out anyway. He's due to make $4.2 million in 2014 and $5.2 million in both 2015 and 2016. That's a lot of money for a lineman whose athleticism and skills are declining.
Isaac Sopoaga has appeared in 113 snaps in four games, an average of nearly 30 snaps per contest. If you didn't watch closely, it's easy to think he has yet to step on the field.
The Philadelphia Eagles are paying $3.75 million to Sopoaga to be their nose tackle, and he hasn't provided the slightest impact this season. Sopoaga is virtually nonexistent as a pass-rusher, and he's part of a run defense that ranks 26th in the NFL in yards allowed.
The team will assuredly work Bennie Logan in midway through the season, and by the time 2014 rolls around, there's no way Sopoaga will still be around. He may not latch on with any NFL team.
Like Isaac Sopoaga, DeMeco Ryans is another overpaid veteran who doesn't have too many years left. Ryans is pushing 30 years old, and he's making $6.6 million this year. That's a lot of money to pay an aging inside linebacker who has clearly lost a step.
Ryans is due to make $6.8 million in 2014 and $6.8 million in 2015, and the Philadelphia Eagles can get out of that contract without having to pay a dime in penalties. Ryans leads the Eagles with 27 tackles, but he's also missed on four attempted tackles. He is slow in pass coverage (102.3 passer rating allowed) and he's no threat to get to the quarterback as a pass-rusher.
In all seriousness, the Philadelphia Eagles may not bring back a single safety next season except for Earl Wolff.
Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman have contracts set to expire after 2013. It's difficult to envision a scenario in which either returns. Both have been thrust into starting roles time after time, and it's obvious they're not starting-caliber players. Allen isn't the player the Eagles thought he was when they selected him in the second round, and Coleman is exactly what they thought—a seventh-round pick who shouldn't be starting.
Colt Anderson is a terrific special teams player, but his contract expires as well, and coaches rarely bring back players just for their special teams skills. Meanwhile, Patrick Chung has been a colossal bust after coming on board this offseason as a free agent. He's simply not talented enough to play regularly, and the Eagles can get out of his contract for a penalty of just $1 million.
Alex Henery's struggles this year are extremely frustrating. He was a fourth-round pick (2011), which is about as high as any non-Oakland team would ever pick a kicker.
That's what makes his recent misses so disappointing.
Henery has missed from 45, 46 and 47 yards in the last three weeks. True, those are longer field goals, but they need to be made. Henery's three missed field goals tie him for the league lead in 2013. If he continues his poor kicking, the Philadelphia Eagles have no choice but to bring in kickers to compete for the job.