Twitter Mailbag: Who Has Pro Bowl Promise Under Chip?
Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.
From @heemy224: who do you believe has the best shot at becoming a pro bowler in this chip offense. Shady? Djack? the qb whoeverthtwillb? other?
Oregon averaged 537 yards and 53 points a game under Chip Kelly last season. If he can get this offense humming anywhere close to the way he did while with the Ducks, the Eagles will be well-represented at the Pro Bowl. This isn’t college, of course, and there is likely to be some real growing pains while players get acclimated to this system.
LeSean McCoy appears best set-up for an All-Pro campaign. Oregon ran the ball 53 times a game last season, and early indications are that Kelly will continue to rely heavily on the ground game. According to the team’s stats, Kenjon Barner rushed for 1,849 yards with 21 touchdowns in 13 games last season. That’s with De’Anthony Thomas receiving 92 carries and Byron Marshall 87.
DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are both capable of big seasons, though it should be noted that the wealth was spread around in the passing game at Oregon. Thomas led the way with 45 catches for 445 yards and five scores in 2012. There were a total of nine Duck players who caught 19-plus passes.
Remember that Kelly is big on the tight end position. It’s possible that one member of the tight-end trio posts big numbers.
From @JeBradSus: How much did special teams contribute to the Eagles struggles last year and do we have reason to expect improvement?
Special teams crushed the Eagles last season, no question. They were dead last in the punt game, mediocre to sub-mediocre across the board, and finished 24th as a unit, according to Football Outsiders.
The Eagles are hopeful that either Donnie Jones or Brad Wing can provide an upgrade at the punter position, and it seems like Jackson — who returned just one punt last season — will be utilized more this year. New special teams coach Dave Fipp has a solid resume. While serving as an assistant special teams coach in Miami in 2011 and 2012, the Dolphins’ units ranked second and fourth in the NFL, respectively.
Kelly definitely recognizes the value of strong special teams play. We’ll see what kind of improvements they can make in Year One.
From @BCKapler17: with all the issues we’ve had historically stopping the run the past few years, why switch to a 3-4? We aren’t ‘stacked’ at LB.
A lot of the moves are being made with the big picture in mind. Kelly prefers the 3-4 (in part because he believes having more linebackers on the roster helps with special teams, actually) and the Eagles eventually want to bring in personnel so they can run that defense effectively.
But you are circling around an important point: fact is, the Eagles don’t have the ideal personnel now. Kelly and the coaching staff have been adamant that they will tailor their schemes to match the strengths of their players, and the strengths of several of their players appear best suited for a 4-3. The conclusion to draw, then, is that we can anticipate a healthy dose of 4-3 looks in the first year — more than we’ll probably see going forward.
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