2014 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES FOOTBALL PREVIEW
July 8, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
2014 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES PREVIEW
HEAD COACH: CHIP KELLY
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: PAT SHUMUR
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: MIKE DAWSON
TOTAL OFFENSE: 417.2
DEFENSE PPG: 23.9
TOTAL DEFENSE: 394.0
TO MARGIN: +12
As good as Philadelphia’s offense was in 2013, their defense was at times, just as bad. So let’s start with the good news. The Eagles under Chip Kelly love to score quick and often. Some believe they may be able to take it up a notch in 2014 with another year with Coach Kelly. Losing WR/KR DeSean Jackson will be a tough one to replace. Jackson caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine TD’s but was released. What makes this loss even more difficult is Jackson went to division rival Washington. (Mark down two dates, September 21st and December 20th). Coach Kelly believes their ability to create match-up problems for opposing defenses will still be the key with or without Jackson.
QB Nick Foles took over for Michael Vick about half way through the season and played nearly mistake free throwing 27 TD’s and had only two interceptions. It doesn’t appear Foles fits the system but he doesn’t make bad decisions and he also doesn’t turn the ball over. Foles also completed 64% of his passes. The one area of concern will be his ability to avoid being sacked. Former Jets QB Mark Sanchez is looking for a second chance in Philadelphia and 2nd year man Matt Barkley is currently the third-string.
With Jackson gone, the receiving corps belongs to Jeremy Macklin, Riley Cooper, rookies Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) and Josh Huff (Oregon). Macklin is returning after suffering a torn ACL that forced him to miss all of last season. Cooper had his best season with 47 receptions and eight TD’s. Veteran TE Brent Celek returns and will be backed up by Zach Ertz. Both figure to be a big part of the passing attack.
LeSean McCoy returns as one of the elite running backs in the NFL. McCoy rushed for 1,607 yards and nine TD’s while catching 52 balls out of the backfield for 539 yards and two scores. McCoy will be joined by former Saints RB Darren Sproles. Sproles will spell McCoy (314 carries in 2013) and will at times join McCoy in the same backfield.
The offensive line returns intact with LT Jason Peters, RT Lane Johnson, LG Evan Mathis, RG Todd Herremans and C Jason Keice. Peters has become one of the best in the NFL at his position, Keice is a solid performer at center and Mathis is an emerging star. Depth is a concern on the offensive line.
The Eagles defense finished 29th in the NFL last season and they didn’t do enough in the off-season to make them better. The biggest issue for the defense is actually the Eagles offense. Philadelphia tries to score so fast, the defense doesn’t have much time to rest and they spend too much time on the field. The two biggest additions to the defense is former Saints DB Malcolm Jenkins and 1st round draft selection DE Marcus Smith (Louisville). The three-man front consists of DE Cedric Thornton, DT Bennie Logan and DE Fletcher Cox. All three are solid but not dominating. Back-up DE Vinny Logan has the ability to rush the QB but doesn’t get enough reps.
LB Marcus Smith joins an average linebacker unit that didn’t do much in 2013. Smith isn’t expected to start right away but he will get every chance when he learns the system. Trent Cole didn’t play well after moving from DE. DeMarco Ryans will bring leadership and energy to the defense and Mychal Kendricks has good enough speed to make plays sideline-to-sideline. The secondary gave up 289.8 yards passing per game last season which ranked 32nd in the NFL. Adding Malcolm Jenkins will help. Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Cary Williams, Brandon Boykin, Nolan Carroll and Bradley Fletcher will fight for starting spots in training camp.
There is no question the offense will score points even without Jackson. Adding Sproles will help and the continued development of Foles will be a plus. The secondary is the weakness on this team and they didn’t get much stronger in that area. Philadelphia can win this division with their offense but can they be a team that can go past the first round of the playoffs? There are some QB’s on the schedule that will tear that secondary apart.
Big-Time ‘Backer: The Eagles' selection of Marcus Smithin the first round (26th overall) marked the highest the team has taken a linebacker since selecting two-time All-Pro and 13-year NFL veteran Jerry Robinson 21st overall in 1979.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced their 2014 regular season schedule.
“We are all looking forward to this season and getting the schedule finalized today makes it all the more exciting for all of us and the fans. We have six scheduled nationally televised games this season and of those, two are on Sunday night and two are on Monday night. And for the sixth time in franchise history the Eagles will be playing on Thanksgiving – this time in Dallas. We even finish the season with three NFC East rivals in a row,” said Jeffrey Lurie Chairman and CEO of the Philadelphia Eagles. “I can’t wait.”
The Eagles kick off their 2014 regular season at a newly-renovated Lincoln Financial Field for the first time since 2010 as the team plays host to Jacksonville on September 7. Philadelphia then travels to Indianapolis in Week 2 in the first of two Monday Night Football matchups during the season, before returning home to kick off their division slate of games as they square off against the Washington Redskins (Sunday, September 21).
In Week 4, the Eagles get their first look at Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, September 28). Following a trip to the west coast, Philadelphia returns home for two weeks, as they host the St. Louis Rams (Sunday, October 5) before facing off against the New York Giants (Sunday, October 12) on Sunday Night Football.
Following the bye in Week 7, the Birds will hit the road for back-to-back weeks, traveling to Arizona (Sunday, October 26) and Houston (Sunday, November 2). The Eagles will return to primetime in the ensuing week as they welcome the Carolina Panthers to Lincoln Financial Field for a Monday night matchup on November 10.
For the sixth time in franchise history and the first time since 2008, the Eagles will take part in the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day festivities as the team travels to Dallas in a nationally-televised division showdown. The following week, Philadelphia will host the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
Philadelphia will finish the season with three-consecutive games against their NFC East rivals, squaring off at home against Dallas (Sunday, December 14) before hitting the road for the final two contests of the season at Washington (Saturday, December 20) and at the New York Giants (Sunday, December 28).