Preseason games are over. The final cuts have been made. Finally, the Phillies won’t be the only sport to watch in this town.
We are less than a week to the start of Eagles season. With the NFL back, Sundays aren’t about relaxing to prepare for the work week or hanging out with your best friends anymore: They’re about getting infuriated enough to throw your shoe through your TV when the Eagles manage to screw things up again. Aren’t you excited?
The biggest thing to know about the Eagles in 2013 is their new coach is from college, and he’s installed an unconventional offense. It could fail! The Eagles could be worse! But there is some room for hope: The Eagles were 4-12 last year and were only a few points away from 0-16, so it would be hard to be much worse. And new Eagles coach Chip Kelly is going to run the ball, something Birds fans have wanted for about a decade. The Eagles rushed 127 times to 99 passes in the preseason. Kelly has brought his breakneck-pace offense from the University of Oregon to South Philly. It should be fun to watch for a season regardless of the results.
The Eagles also have a defense.
Philly Mag already has an incredibly interesting Eagles blog, Birds 24/7. They’ve been doing great analysis all preseason. It’s probably the blog I read most besides that one that makes fun of newspaper comic strips. It is also a site where the post “Practice Squad Tracker: Eagles Bring Back Remington” approaches 100 comments. I’m pretty sure Eagles fans have more to say about Isaac Remington signing to the practice squad than Remington does himself.
This is a guide to the season for the fan who just wants to watch a couple of games and is less interested in discussing a backup linebacker’s release. Enjoy!
Eagles fans understand how things have worked for quite a while now: The team will give the city quite a bit of hope early in the year. As the weather gets cooler and fans get more excited, Philadelphians will finally put on shirts—Eagles jerseys, specifically. Then the team will rip your heart out: It might be in the Super Bowl, it might be in the NFC Championship, it might be with a 1-11 finish after a 3-1 start like last season. But it will happen.
An added bonus of being an Eagles fan the past few years is this: If the team comes up in conversation, there is a chance someone will flip out about Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation. Unfortunately, there’s really no defense for this; your options in this situation are to feel sheepish and awkward or not care. That you’ve undoubtedly rooted for other people who have done bad things—a drug cheat and a guy arrested for beating his wife two years prior did help the Phillies to a World Series victory—isn’t going to help. Your only way out of it is to deal with being yelled at by some animal lover, or pretend you’ve never heard of such a thing (“Michael Vick did what?”). Anyway, Vick’s starting, so you have to deal with it again.
It’s no surprise that Vick won the quarterback competition; he is the only real experienced QB on the roster. He’ll undoubtedly get hurt. But before that, maybe he can put up another 6-touchdown performance in the opener against Washington like he did three years ago.
The Eagles still have LeSean McCoy, who is returning from an injury. Here’s what he did in preseason.
Awesome, right? After years of being in the pass-happy Andy Reid offense, the Eagles new read-option scheme is run-first. If he runs like that every play, I see no reason McCoy shouldn’t set the NFL record for rushing yards this year. Of course, if he runs for 20 yards every play, the Eagles will go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl. Probably not very likely. Still, McCoy should be in for a great season
Hey, while we’re at it, McCoy is being sued by a woman for assault, and also he told his followers to harass his kid’s mother on Twitter.
The Eagles also have Bryce Brown (promising runner, can’t stop fumbling) and Chris Polk (who has never touched the ball in a regular-season NFL game).
There are some Eagles fans who do not like DeSean Jackson.
They are wrong.
DeSean Jackson has a Twitter account with questionable spelling and grammar. Whatever. He hasn’t been great the last two seasons. Eh. Jackson is small and fast but is more of a big-play threat than a possession receiver. If the big plays are taken away, he can sometimes seem to disappear. Meh.
He also seems to enjoy taunting the Dallas Cowboys.
Taunting is usually only okay when it’s joking around with a friend in a pickup game. But football is different: The players turn their brains to mush playing the game, so maybe we ought to cut them a little slack and let them celebrate and taunt how they want to. If there’s one thing that Eagles fans should be into, it’s taunting the Dallas Cowboys. The Dallas Cowboys symbolize everything that is wrong with the world, and one time Jackson did a backwards plunge into the end zone against them. There should be a statue of that play. At the top of City Hall.
Also, DeSean Jackson made this tweet:
Big shout to the View whoopi goldbird and barbara Walters!! Had a great time !! http://plixi.com/p/74520932
— Desean Jackson (@DeseanJackson10) February 3, 2011
Hey, while we’re at it, the No. 2 receiver is the guy who said the n-word at a Kenny Chesney concert over the summer. If you want to see his billboard—still up last I checked!—it’s at 10th and Callowhill.
There’s also Jason Avant, who seems to have been an Eagle since 1992, and fellow holdover Damaris Johnson. He’ll return kicks. The fifth receiver is Jeff Maehl. Wikipedia informs me he “has two half-sleeve tattoos on both his arms.”
As Birds 24/7 has documented, the Eagles now have a play where four tight ends play at the same time. So look for Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey and Emil Igwenagu on the field all at once!
Even hardcore Eagles fans know there’s really only one defensive player you need to know: The defensive back to blame when the opposing team burns the Eagles for a touchdown. Venerable stat website Football Outsiders rated the Eagles the worst pass defense in the league last season. The team now has an almost-entirely new secondary as a result. One of the new cornerbacks — replacing Nnamdi Asomugha, a big-time signing who turned into one of the biggest disappointments in recent Eagles memory — is Cary Williams, fresh off a Super Bowl victory with the Baltimore Ravens.
In the offseason, Williams missed voluntary workouts because of dental work, his daughter’s recital and because he wanted to check the construction of a new house. Specifically, he was picking out sconces. After being criticized for his absences, he told the media, “Fans, I love you all, but please.”
Whether he knew it or not, Cary Williams pretty much hit every button to troll Eagles fans and draw radio host and columnist ire this offseason. It was amazing. I can’t remember a guy who managed to anger Eagles fans before even playing a game. He’s my favorite player. Think how much fun it will be when he’s burnt for his first touchdown!
Yes, the long snapper is still this guy:
So we’re set for the season. I’m thinking 6-10.