Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Reason For Optimism?

kelly_jackson940

We’ve spent much of this week dissecting what’s gone wrong with the Eagles since their Week 1 win over the Redskins.

Confusion on defense. An inconsistent passing attack. Special teams miscues.

Those factors have led to a 1-3 record. But the truth is that around 7:45 p.m. Sunday evening, there’s at least a chance the Eagles could find themselves in a tie for first place in the NFC East.

“I talked to our team about that on Tuesday because I had people tell me… I think it’s if Dallas loses and we win, we are in first place, and I was fired up,” Chip Kelly said sarcastically. “I called the league office and I wanted to find out when we get the trophy and when the trophy presentation would be.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in first place in the first week of October. What matters is, are you in first place after December 29?”

And he’s right, of course. The man who preaches “win the day” is not going to get caught looking ahead. But the same thinking doesn’t apply to the fan base, the majority of which is looking for relevancy in 2013.

After a 4-12 campaign in 2012, an eventful offseason and an entertaining summer, the paying customers would welcome some meaningful games in December. In about 10 days, we’ll know if that’s looking like a possibility. But based on early returns, it seems the tough part of the schedule is in the rear-view mirror.

According to Football Outsiders’ numbers, the Eagles have had the second-toughest schedule in the NFL so far. But more importantly, they have the softest schedule the rest of the way. The teams they’ve lost to have a combined 10-2 record. Of the remaining teams on their schedule, only two – the Lions and Bears – have winning records.

Of course, fans in New York, Tampa and other cities are probably thinking: We have the Eagles coming up on our schedule. Maybe we can get on track.

It’ll be up to Kelly’s crew to prove it’s more middle-of-the-pack than bottom-feeder in  Year 1 of his program.

“Honestly I don’t think you should be looking at anything else,” Kelly said, when asked about ways to measure progress other than victories and defeats. “That’s what we all get graded on at the end of the day is wins and losses. I think we as a group understand our plan and the process of how you win and how you lose and what contributes to that, and that’s what this deal is all about.

“But at the end of the day, if you’re not winning enough games, you’re not going to be here very long, and if you are winning games, you’re going to be around. …The bottom line is, as Coach [Bill] Parcells said a long time ago ‑ I’m not the one that came up with it, and he did, but he’s extremely right:  You are what your record says you are, so we need to go change that.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Michael Vick says anyone who thinks he’s holding on to the ball too long doesn’t know football.

Vick tells McManus that tight end Zach Ertz is destined for greatness.

Kelly says he’s not listening to the USC “banter.”

An All-22 look at the state of the Eagles’ defense.

No hype, but lots at stake Sunday afternoon, writes T-Mac.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com looks at the Eagles’ decision to stick with a two-gap 3-4:

What does have me confused is that Kelly and Davis talked about the difficulty of the transition from the Wide-9 to a 2-gap 3-4. They knew going in that would be a really difficult transition. They talked about finding a happy medium, so that the players could start to get adjusted to the new system, but also would be used in a way that would give them a chance to be successful this year.

That’s not happening right now. So a talented player like Curry sits. Graham plays minimal snaps. And Isaac Sopoaga is on the field, accomplishing virtually nothing.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 25th in his power rankings:

So much for that offense setting the league on fire. It’s hard to do when the defense is so bad.

COMING UP

Plenty more to get you ready for Eagles-Giants.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Around the Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.