Eagles Wake-Up Call: Five Thoughts On the Schedule
We went game-by-game last night, but here are five overall thoughts on the Eagles schedule.
1. It seems like the Birds caught some breaks this year. For example, in Week 9 they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. The Eagles have a bye the previous week, while Dallas faces the Seahawks. They go to Foxboro in Week 13 to take on the Patriots. The Eagles play on Thanksgiving the previous week and get some extra rest, while New England plays at Denver on Sunday night.
Is there anywhere that the Eagles got jobbed? Not really. They face the Cowboys at home in Week 2 on a short week, but that’s the second game of the season. Washington gets extra rest before the Week 4 matchup (it plays on Thursday night the previous week). And the same goes for the Cardinals in Week 15.
But overall, those seem like minor issues. The Eagles don’t take on a single opponent that is coming off of a bye.
2. It’s pretty amazing that they have six games (five in primetime, one on Thanksgiving) in front of a national audience.
Who are the major draws on this team that people want to see. DeMarco Murray? Anyone else?
I think this speaks to how Chip Kelly is viewed. Not everyone likes him, but he’s a fascinating story and a key figure league-wide. The Eagles’ style is also entertaining, particularly to audiences that don’t get to see them on a weekly basis. The tempo, the big plays, some of the unconventional methods, etc.
There really haven’t been a lot of boring games involving the Eagles over the past two years.
3. I think this fan base is going to have a strong opinion of Byron Maxwell early on and certainly by the end of the season. Look at the wide receivers the Eagles have to match up against.
They get Odell Beckham Jr. (twice), Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones and Dez Bryant (twice). Those are the heavy hitters. I didn’t even mention the DeSean Jackson/Pierre Garcon combo or the Mike Evans/Vincent Jackson pairing.
Maxwell will see a lot of Jones and Bryant in the first two weeks. The Eagles will find out what they have in a hurry.
4. According to the Eagles’ media relations department, the team will travel 6,820 miles to away games after traveling 17,530 miles during the 2014 season. They had trips to Arizona, Houston and San Francisco last year. This time around, the Eagles only have five flights, and four of them are in the Eastern time zone. Three of the team’s final four games are at the Linc, and the Eagles don’t have to get on a plane after the Dec. 6 game at Foxboro. That’s gotta be good for #sportscience, right?
5. The game I’m most looking forward to? Probably Week 13 against the defending Super Bowl champs. The biggest dud? The Week 10 matchup vs. the Dolphins doesn’t do much for me. Best trip for a fan? There aren’t a lot of great options. Spending a weekend in Atlanta could be fun, especially since you get to watch all the other NFL games on Sunday.
And of course, even though it is only April 22, we have to predict a record, right? I’ll go 11-5 while noting that this is likely to change roughly 97 times or so between now and Week 1.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Game-by-game notes on the 2015 Eagles schedule.
“I think [Chip] is a mess.” What they’re saying about the Birds.
Eagles draft buzz from yesterday: “His peers don’t believe for a minute he’ll watch someone else draft Mariota without a fight.”
What if Jameis Winston drops? T-Mac offers some thoughts.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz on UCLA’s Shaq Thompson:
He is 6-0, 228. That’s the same size as Landon Collins, the star SS from ‘Bama. They have similar builds, but different games. Collins is a downhill thumper. He loves to punish runners and receivers. Thompson is an athlete. He can hit and be physical, but is more agile, which should make him more effective in coverage.
Maybe Chip Kelly thinks Thompson could be an ILB if he adds 15 or so pounds. He has a slightly bigger frame and more length than Mychal Kendricks, but not by much.
Mike Sielski of the Inquirer talks to former Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff about Tim Tebow:
Sparano had introduced the Wildcat formation into the Miami Dolphins’ offense during his tenure as their head coach. But over time, his reluctance to use Tebow led to what one member of the coaching staff described at the time as a “deep disconnect” between them. Even a visit from Urban Meyer, Tebow’s old coach at the University of Florida, didn’t spark any strategic brainstorming sessions among the Jets’ coaches – a strange bit of stubbornness from a team that finished 30th in the league in total offense.
“He came out and talked, but it really wasn’t received very well by the offensive group,” Westhoff said. “It just wasn’t. It was awkward. I’m not criticizing, but I think it’s a shame because I think the person least responsible for the inconsistency – and I’m trying to be kind – was Tim Tebow.”
Get your schedule predictions in now. We’ll return to draft prep. Eight days away.