By Mike Lucas
Featured Columnist

The Philadelphia Eagles finished the 2012 NFL season with a 4-12 record. The teams poor performance resulted in long time head coach Andy Reid’s firing.

Philadelphia is now entering the Chip Kelly era, as Kelly heads over to the city of brotherly love after leaving his head coaching gig at the University of Oregon.

The Eagles have had an extremely busy offseason. Philadelphia let a number of players walk away during free agency, including defensive backs Nnamadi Asomugha and Dominic Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive linemen Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson.

The Eagles also brought in a lot of new players this offseason, including defensive backs Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Kenny Phillips, and Patrick Chung, defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga, outside linebacker Connor Barwin, tight end James Casey and wide receiver Arrelious Benn.

The Eagles have high hopes for Chip Kelly in his first year at the helm.

Here is the Philadelphia Eagles 2013-2014 NFL season preview.


The first and most important thing Chip Kelly needs to do is figure out who will be his starting quarterback for Week 1 of the regular season.

Michael Vick was named the starter for the first preseason game, but that doesn’t mean anything. The QB battle is between Mike Vick, Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley.

Kelly ran an uptempo style offense at Oregon, and Vick best fits that style of play. Compared to his 2011 season, LeSean McCoy had a disappointing 2012, rushing for only 840 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games (1,309 yards, 17 TDs in 2011).

When healthy, McCoy is one of the better backs in the league. McCoy’s backup, Bryce Brown, had a solid rookie season last year, rushing for 564 yards and four touchdowns. McCoy and Brown form one of the best running back tandems in the NFL.

Before the injuries, the Eagles were poised to have one of the better receiving cores in the league. However, losing Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn for the season due to torn ACLs really hurts this unit. These injuries are forcing Riley Cooper to step up and be a major factor in the Eagles passing game this year, and he’s an unproven commodity in the NFL so far.

Luckily for Philly, they have one of the more versatile tight end units in the league. Brent Celek is a good receiving tight end, rookie TE Zach Ertz has great hands and can be used in the deep passing game, and newly acquired tight end James Casey can play in the backfield or line up in the slot and be effective as a receiver.

Philadelphia’s offensive line was awful in 2012, giving up 48 sacks. The Eagles drafted Lane Johnson with the fourth overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, and he’ll immediately help this unit out.

It will be interesting to see how this group adapts to Chip Kelly’s uptempo style of offense.


Last season, the Eagles defense finished ninth in the league against the pass and 23rd in the league against the run.

The Eagles are switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense in 2013. Philadelphia only recorded 30 sacks last season, which was one of the lowest totals in the league.

The addition of Isaac Sopoaga to the defensive line should really help strengthen the Eagles run defense. Sopoaga is a mammoth-sized human being that will play the nose tackle in the 3-4. Youngsters Cedric Thornton and Fletcher Cox are slated to start at the defensive end spots. Their development will be key for the Eagles defense in 2013.

By moving to a 3-4, pass-rushing specialist Trent Cole moves back into an outside linebacker position. Cole has played on the defensive line his whole career, so it’ll be interesting to see how he plays in coverage.

DeMeco Ryans, the Eagles leading tackler in 2012, returns to the team and will play one of the middle linebacker spots and Mychal Kendricks will play the other.

Connor Barwin is slotted to start at the other outside linebacker spot. Barwin will need to find his 2011 form (11.5 sacks) and not play like he did in 2012 (three sacks) for him to live up to the big contract he signed.

The Eagles replaced both of their starting cornerbacks from last year with two smaller name guys in Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher. Williams is coming off a Super Bowl win with the Ravens and Fletcher is a lesser -known guy who has been decent at best throughout his career.

Nate Allen is slated to start at the strong safety position and Patrick Chung is slated to start at free safety. Philly’s pass defense was decent in 2012, and the team hopes that it can continue that success even though most of the names are new.

2013 Prediction: 5-11

Kelly may have a lot of great offensive ideas, but he doesn’t have the right quarterback to run his system properly. Vick can scramble, but he can’t stay healthy and Foles and Barkley don’t seem to be the answer in Philly just yet.

Kelly will end up being a good NFL coach, but he’ll need more time to get his system in place.

Wins: San Diego, Dallas, New York (Giants), @Oakland, Detroit

Losses: @Washington, Kansas City, @Denver, @New York (Giants), @Tampa Bay, @Green Bay, Washington, Arizona, @Minnesota, Chicago, @Dallas


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