(Updated) Philadelphia Eagles 2013 Outlook: Nowhere To Go But Up
By: Melissa Jacobs and Kim O'Hara | Posted: May 16, 2013
Welcome to TFG's 2013 Outlook series. We'll be taking a quick glance back at the 2012 season before focusing on what factors will impact each team's chances for success in 2013. Check back regularly to read about your favorite team. Up next: the Philadelphia Eagles.
Originally published 2-11-13. Updated 5-16-2013.
2012 record: 4-12, tied for second-worst in the NFL and the worst in former head coach Andy Reid's 14-year tenure with the organization.
Key Losses: Reid was sent packing immediately after the Eagles closed out the 2012 season. His coaching staff was terminated as well. The new regime released former Dream Team cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. They also allowed defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins to become a free agent.
Important Additions: Oregon head coach Chip Kelly first announced that he would stay among the NCAA ranks before changing his mind and accepting an offer from the Eagles. His team lost just seven regular season games in his four years as head coach with the Ducks and though Kelly was named Coach of the Year in 2010, Oregon fell to Cam Newton and Auburn in the 2010 National Championship. His trademark is speedy, dynamic, efficient offenses and only time will tell whether Kelly's affinity for two point conversions will translate to the NFL. New offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur finished 5-11 as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, but he could very well collaborate favorably with Kelly. Depending on how deeply Kelly wishes to be involved in the offensive infrastructure, Shurmur could become little more than a figurehead. Bill Davis will serve as defensive coordinator, having worked with Shurmur in Cleveland as the linebackers coach in 2011 and 2012. Philly.com broke down the rest of Kelly's hires (he's brought portions of his Oregon staff across the country). The Eagles have elected to retain embattled quarterback Michael Vick for the 2013 season. He will compete with second year quarterback Nick Foles for the starting role, but and Kelly has brought former Duck Dennis Dixon into the mix. Other notable pickups: Linebacker Connor Barwin from Houston. Defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga from San Francisco. Running back Felix Jones from Dallas. The Eagles drafted Lane Johnson, the offensive lineman they coveted, with the fourth overall pick. They also craftily traded up to grab quarterback Matt Barkley in the fourth, and selected tight end Zach Ertz in the second.
Why Philadelphia has hope for 2013: New coach, new offense. Not surprisingly, Kelly, whose Oregon Ducks averaged about 95 points a game, has emphasized the offense early into his tenure. The selection of Johnson gives the Eagles an athletic offensive line, which will be even more so if Jason Peters can return from his Achilles injury. The speed of Kelly’s offense could rejuvenate for Michael Vick, which would lead to a fascinating season. The signing of Felix Jones also gives the Eagles a stacked backfield. Ertz and Brent Celek give the Eagles a potent two-tight end option that could frustrate opposing defenses. The team also imporved its defensive line with Barwin a candidate as a fierce dark horse contender.
Why Philadelphia may be doomed for 2013: Defensive struggles. In 2012, the Eagles secondary surrendered an NFL-worst 33 touchdowns against just eight interceptions (only Kansas City and Dallas recorded fewer interceptions with seven apiece). And despite a few free agent signings (Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams) to replace Asomugha and Rodgers Cromartie, this group remains more of a question mark than last year. The Eagles pass rush must undergo massive improvement to compete in a pass-happy NFC East. If Philadelphia's offensive line fails to improve after last year's parade of replacements surrendered 48 sacks, the quarterback may not get hit as per Kelly's philosophy, but he will spend a lot of time throwing away the football in 2013. And about that quarterback, Nick Foles, after a hot start to his rookie campaign, slowly chugged into later weeks as a middle-of-the-road player. Vick is a complete question mark and there’s no reason to believe he will look like 2010’s version.
Circle This Game: Washington Redskins (Week 1). Assuming quarterback Robert Griffin III returns to full strength after ACL and LCL surgical repair, the Redskins' offense will be the best test for Kelly's new team. Kelly should feel comfortable game-planning for the brand of offense Washington is bound to bring to the table.
Current odds to win Super Bowl XLVIII, according to Bovada: 34-1
Projected 2013 Record: 7-9