Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Character Problem

The focus will be on the head coaching search for a while. We’ll follow the rapid movements like a cat does a flashlight until a leader is chosen. Then the attention will go back to the roster.

When it does, we’ll be reminded that the assembled talent not only went 4-12, but did so in large part as a result of a lack of effort.

“If guys cared, if they focused their attention on something other than what’s going on around them…It’s all about focus and dedication and commitment, and until you get guys who are willing to better themselves week in and week out, and want to win, you’re not going to win,” said Michael Vick. “I just haven’t played with guys like that, and it’s unfortunate for coach that things turned out the way they are and they could have been a lot better, and this locker room could have dictated that.”

It’s not as if they didn’t have anything to play for. Besides their own livelihoods they had their coach, who was fighting for his job while dealing with a personal tragedy. Yet the team looked anything but motivated.

“I’m not going to tell a grown man anything twice,” said Vick, who called a players only meeting that did little to cure the malaise. “The reason I ended up incarcerated was because people told me the same thing over and over again and I didn’t listen. I feel like if you don’t learn on the first go-around then you’re just disregarding it, so you deal with the consequences.”

There will be definitely be consequences. Howie Roseman said that the turnover on a roster is normally 15-18 players —  the “normally” suggesting that there could be even more this season. The personnel moves in the coming weeks and months (and really, years) will be in the name of getting the team’s soul back. It was sold for a Lombardi that was never delivered.

“We have to get back to having a core group of guys that are Eagles, that bleed green, that are passionate about this city, that are passionate about playing here and really genuinely care,” said Roseman. “When you bring in players from other places, you think that maybe they are good fits but you don’t know until they’re here and it effects the chemistry. Part of that is because we were so close for so long and we were desperately trying to win a championship and you’ve got to do it the right way. There is no sacrifice for doing things the right way…We’ve learned some very hard and true lessons.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles are set to interview Chip Kelly.

Would he be a fit for the team? A couple players weigh in.

Here’s an updated list of Eagles coaching candidates.

Andy Reid meets with the Chiefs while one assistant gets scratched off the list.

Sheil gives you the 2013 essentials when it comes to the Eagles.

Howie Roseman offers a hint at the QB plan.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Dan Graziano offers his opinion on Kelly and the debate over whether he would tailor his offense to fit personnel:

People are quick to assume that the style a coach employs at the college level would be the same style he’d try to implement in the pros. And it’s possible that some coaches are like that. But I submit to you that the successful ones are not, and that if Kelly has appeal to the Eagles or any other NFL teams, it’s in part because he’s viewed as an offensive innovator — the kind of guy who would look at his NFL roster and design an offense based on the abilities of the players at his disposal. If he’s not that kind of guy, then they shouldn’t hire him, because there’s no way to be sure he’ll always have the sort of personnel he needs to run the offense he wants to run.

I think Kelly’s probably a smart enough coach to know he’s not going to succeed in the NFL simply by transplanting his Oregon offense there. And if he did come to Philadelphia and decide he liked Nick Foles, I think you could be fairly confident he’d find a way to put Foles in a position to succeed, even if it didn’t look like what Kelly is doing right now at Oregon.

Mel Kiper named Fletcher Cox to his All-Rookie Team (via Dave Spadaro):

“As he got more comfortable, the first-rounder out of Mississippi State became a lot more disruptive. He finished the season with 4.5 sacks over the final seven games and should be a fixture for the Eagles going forward. Cox has a chance to become a Pro Bowl-level interior lineman.”

COMING UP

Plenty more coming on the coaching front. Keep checking in.

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