Welcome to the 2014 season.
The NFL doesn’t stop, it just enters different phases. After Seattle’s dismantling of the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, the scene shifts from the big stage to behind the scenes. The Combine is coming up in a couple weeks. Free agency, believe it or not, is just over a month away. The offseason program begins in 78 days.
The Eagles, like the rest of the teams across the league, will spend their days trying to close the gap between themselves and the Seahawks in hopes that this time next year it’s green and white confetti falling from the sky, not blue and green. They have some work to do.
Howie Roseman, Chip Kelly and Co. need to decide just how aggressive they should be in their immediate pursuit. It’s tempting to look at Seattle’s insanely gifted defensive unit and conclude that several marquee additions are needed if you have any hopes of pulling close to even. But management has made it abundantly clear that chasing down high-priced free agents is not their preferred route. There is no question that the 2011 offseason is still top-of-mind.
We got another reminder of that this week when Jeffrey Lurie joined the Dan Le Batard show and was asked: What was the dumbest money you ever spent?
“On a lesser scale, it might have been a few years ago with us and free agency. All these high-priced, famous guys, and very few played to their potential. It just wasn’t the way to go and it was all just poor money spent.”
The hosts egged him on, trying to get him to name Nnamdi Asomugha directly.
“Great guy, not a productive player that year,” said the owner.
It’s important to learn from your mistakes, and that’s what the Eagles are trying to do. There is also such a thing as over-correcting, where you are so intent on avoiding a similar fate that you get hurt by pushing things too far in the other direction. This is something the Eagles need to be conscious of. They can’t avoid all big-name, big-money players simply because they struck out on a handful of guys a couple years ago.
If they are looking at Seattle as a model (and they are), they know that the Seahawks share the same principles as it pertains to developing your roster and culture through the draft. But they took some shots as well. They signed free agents Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to help solidify the defense; coughed up three picks to obtain Percy Harvin, then gave him a six-year, $67 million deal, a move that produced little fruit until he racked up 137 all-purpose yards — including an 87-yard kickoff return — in the Super Bowl.
Where to pounce and where to hold back? Who to chase down and who to avoid? What moves will take them to the next level? These are questions the Eagles will grapple with over the coming weeks and months as the pursuit of their first Lombardi trophy continues.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Kelly finishes fourth in Coach of the Year voting.
Lurie talks Super Bowl, quarterbacks and more.
Will the Eagles roll out the same starting five offensive linemen next year? Sheil and I discuss.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jeff McLane caught up with Jimmy Johnson, who knows a little something about making the transition from college to the pros.
“I like Chip’s approach,” said Johnson, who was in New York last week promoting Fox’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII. “For instance, when we came in the league, we played a [defensive] coverage. Phil Simms told Bill Parcells when we played the Giants, ‘Hey, they’re playing that college coverage.’ And Parcells said, ‘You better learn that college coverage because these guys know what they’re doing.’
“It was Cover 2. Now everybody in the league plays Cover 2. Hey, it was successful for us in college, so I said it will be successful for us here. And I think Chip Kelly is taking the same approach.”
Adam Schefter on who may be interested in Michael Vick‘s services.
Two teams likely to have some level of interest in Eagles free-agent-to-be QB Michael Vick: Buccaneers and Jets.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 2, 2014
Sheil will offer some Super Bowl observations with an Eagles slant.