What They’re Saying About the Eagles
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com takes a look at how the offense will change depending on who the quarterback is. He seems very high on Nick Foles:
Foles’ superior arm strength, velocity and zip are a byproduct not of pure arm talent but of his solid mechanics. Additionally, superb accuracy and touch are the result of his ability to keep his eyes and feet connected in the pocket.
For most young quarterbacks, the speed of the game is overwhelming, and that can create hesitancy at the tops of drops. However, Foles rarely displayed “happy feet” in the pocket last season; his decisiveness led to timely throws within the progression.
ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano lists one offseason regret for each team. Here’s what he’s got for the Eagles:
Spend some money on the secondary. The Eagles were the only NFC East team that had cap room to burn. Even though they needed to improve all four starting positions in the secondary, they chose to go the economical route, bringing in uninspiring cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams and safety Patrick Chung. Former Giant Kenny Phillips is a premium talent at safety, but they got him inexpensively as well, and the reason is a chronic knee problem that could keep him from ever playing for them. New coach Chip Kelly was looking for physical cornerbacks with the ability to tackle, which is fine, and I can understand that the Eagles felt burned by the way the Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie moves of two years ago worked out. But the moves at defensive back feel like half-measures, and you get the feeling they’ll be looking to upgrade the same spots next year. This was a team that should have at least looked into trading for Darrelle Revis, though it would have been hard to justify giving up the No. 4 overall pick in the draft for him.
Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com names the eight left tackles with the toughest assignments. He’s got Jason Peters at No. 5:
Peters missed last year with an injury, and he returns to a team with a desire to have an up-tempo offense. One of the Eagles’ linemen told me the pace will be tough on the linemen who are not in great shape. Peters might be in for a rude awakening. In division, he has six games against DeMarcus Ware, Jason Pierre-Paul and Brian Orakpo. Outside the division, he faces Von Miller, Clay Matthews, Jared Allen and Julius Peppers. There are big differences with the quarterbacks in Philadelphia. If Michael Vick is under center, no one knows where he will attempt to escape, and he has been sacked 272 times in his career or once every 12 attempts.
Marc Sessler of NFL.com ranks all the teams’ backup QB situations. He’s got the Eagles at No. 6:
Foles, yet another Reid pupil, showed growth last season and has a chance to start in Philly if Vick stumbles.
Sessler also says the Eagles have the fifth-deepest backfield in the league:
Gregg Rosenthal likes the Eagles’ backfield more than I do, but nobody’s debating McCoy’s value. He’s arguably a top-five back and should enjoy a bounce-back season in Chip Kelly’s run-heavy attack. Brown’s four fumbles in four starts were an issue, but he was explosive when he wanted to be. Add Jones to the mix, and all three runners should see work in 2013.
Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld looks at the best- and worst-case scenarios for Michael Vick:
Best Case: Chip Kelly does what Andy Reid, Jim Mora and Dan Reeves couldn’t: Unlock Vick’s full potential. Even as a 33 year old who’s lost a step or two, Vick is a revelation in Kelly’s spread-option attack, showing Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick how it’s done as he cruises to a top-five fantasy finish.
Worst Case: Vick looks old, stubborn and turnover prone in training camp, giving Kelly no choice but to go with the lead-footed Nick Foles at quarterback. The Eagles save $4 million by cutting Vick loose before Week 1.
Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk has the Eagles 26th in his preseason power rankings:
With Reid gone, Chip Kelly inherits a roster that’s lately looked better on paper than on the field. But let’s look on the bright side. Can you imagine Kelly’s fast-paced offense with the Eagles’ skill-position players? And let’s consider the Eagles’ division. The NFC East doesn’t have one team that stands above the rest. Every one of the clubs seems capable of playing that role in a given week, but in recent years, this division has been contested all the way until the end.
Of course, if the Eagles are to be competitive down the stretch, they must improve on their surprisingly poor recent form.