Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Effects Of Long-Term Thinking

Win the day.

It was Chip Kelly’s motto at Oregon, and it’s a slogan Eagles players can expect to hear quite a bit in the coming months.

The idea is not unique to Kelly. Scan the country, and you’ll find football coaches at various levels use different words to say the same thing.

Take care of the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves.

Focus on getting better today, and you’ll see long-term results.

Kelly, Howie Roseman and the Eagles are in the process of striking a delicate balance. They’re focused on laying the foundation for a winning program, and they’d like to be competitive in 2013. As we’ve seen in the past, dramatic turnarounds, even for teams coming off of 4-12 seasons, are possible.

Then again, the Eagles know they’re not especially close to fielding a Super Bowl-caliber roster. In the past, they thought they were a player or two away. They went for it, reaching on draft picks and making questionable decisions that ultimately led to last year’s disaster.

And so, Kelly and Roseman are fully aware that there are still holes on the roster, even though all of the team’s major offseason moves have been made.

“When you look at the draft, it’s a long-term investment for your football team,” Roseman said. “If you start trying to predict who’s going to be on your team a year, two, three years from now, you’re going to make mistakes, and we understand that.”

If you’re wondering why the Eagles didn’t make more of an effort to address their secondary early in the draft, Roseman’s answer provides the explanation.

They added cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher in free agency, to go along with safeties Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips. They spent a fifth-round pick on safety Earl Wolff and added corner Jordan Poyer in the seventh. But if you’re looking for a guaranteed above-average starter in the group, you’re going to have some trouble.

“I don’t know,” Kelly said, when asked if he thought they had enough talent in the secondary. “But we’re bound by the rules we have, so it’s not like I can say, ‘Hey, let’s go grab that guy.’ He’s probably under contract. We’re going to go with the guys we have.

“We used free agency, I thought we did a really good job in our approach to that. I thought we did a good job in the draft, and now we have to get on the field and coach them up and go play.”

The Eagles wanted to stay away from bad free-agent contracts that they might regret in the future. And they didn’t want to reach to fill needs in the draft. They ended up with a total of eight picks, made their evaluations and stuck to their board.

But they realize there’s plenty of work to be done in the coming months and in future offseasons.

“We’re coming off a very disappointing year and we’re trying to get pointed in the right direction,” Roseman said. “No matter what happens, there is no time to rest on it. There’s always a way to try and improve the team and improve all areas of this organization and try and get better. Hopefully that is getting the ship in the right direction and we’ll look back at some point and continue to get better.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

T-Mac provides an inside look at Michael Vick’s offseason training, including a bout with a ninja stick.

The Eagles checked out free-agent defensive end/linebacker Trevor Scott.

Some weekend reading, including one national writer calling the Eagles the league’s “biggest mystery.”

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie re-married to Philadelphia resident Tina Lai, according to an Inquirer report:

Lai will have no official role in the Eagles organization. Lurie’s wedding was attended by family and close friends.

“I am happy and excited as Tina and I begin our lives together,” Lurie said in a statement.

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com makes an interesting Vick comparison:

I think Vick can be similar to Jeff Garcia from 2006. That offense needed a strong run game. The passing attack was a mixture of efficient and explosive.  Garcia was a fiery leader that the other players fed off. Vick has a stronger arm and is more mobile than Garcia, but Jeff was an expert at the WCO while Vick will be learning Kelly’s offense. Vick should have a good OL and he will have the best set of skill players he ever worked with.

COMING UP

We’ll have fresh content all week long, leading up to the rookie camp that begins Friday.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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