My Evaluation Of The Eagles Offensive PersonnelBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, General News, News Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
The Eagles offense was one of the most explosive in the National Football League in 2013 and they’ll look to improve in 2014. They must get better and I think they will because Chip Kelly will make adjustments going into the season and have a better idea how teams will try to defend them.
They will first evaluate their offensive roster then try to upgrade it through free agency and the draft. Here’s a look at how I see their offensive personnel.
QB: Nick Foles, Michael Vick, Matt Barkley, G.J. Kinne
Foles had Pro Bowl year and it was one for the record books. The third-round pick threw seven touchdown passes against the Raiders to tie a NFL record. He completed 203 of 317 throws with 27 of them going for touchdowns and only two for interceptions. His quarterback rating was an astonishing 119.2, which is the third highest ever for an NFL quarterback. Still the Eagles have another year to decide if he’s their franchise quarterback.
With another year any where near as productive as 2013, he will be the team’s franchise quarterback with a big contract. The second-year quarterback from Arizona must continue to grow and be ready to take his game to another level in the playoffs.
Michael Vick will be playing for another team in 2014. If for some reason he were to decide he wants to stay with the Eagles as a backup, I think he should be kept around, but I think he’s going to get the chance to start elsewhere.
I don’t feel good about the backup quarterbacks. Barkley hasn’t proven anything and neither has Kinne. I would like to see them acquire a couple of quality veteran backups and I would want one of them to be able to run. The key to the quarterbacks is their ability to make good decisions.
To me, Barkley is a west coast offense quarterback, who doesn’t seem to fit here. I wouldn’t even want to imagine seeing Foles go down and having only Barkley and Kinne to hand the ball to. That’s what you call a nightmare.
RB: LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Matthew Tucker
This is one of the strongest and deepest positions on the team. McCoy led the league in rushing with 1607 yards on 314 carriers which turned out to be a 5.1 yard per game average. He’s the most accomplished player on the football team. McCoy is in his prime and definitely the guy they’re going ride for the next three or four years.
Brown had a disappointing year, but he wound up making maybe scoring the biggest touchdown of the season against Dallas. It secured the NFC East title and put the Eagles in the playoffs. Polk showed promise and he seems to be a smart, versatile player, which is exactly what you want in a backup.
If they were to make any changes here I would want to see them get a big back in the 240-250 range. The only place where they had problems running was in short yardage. I want a guy who can overpower a tackler for one or two yards if necessary.
WR: DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Jeff Maehl, Brad Smith, Damaris Johnson,
The Eagles wide receivers had a big year in 2013 with both Jackson and Cooper having career years. Still I would like to see them get bigger and faster.
Jackson wants his contract restructured so he can get more guaranteed money. The Birds should restructure the deal give him a bonus out of the money he’s going to make in 2014 and let it help their salary-cap situation. He had the best season of his career catching 82 passes for 1332 yards and nine touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Jackson had too many times where he disappeared when covered man-to-man by the opposing team’s best cornerback. He needs to be challenged to run more precise routes to get open against a defender, who has the speed to run with him.
They’ve got to make a decision on whether to bring back Cooper and/or Maclin. I think they should bring both of them back because they’ll be able get each of them cheap. Cooper isn’t as valuable elsewhere because of his chemistry with Foles and the N-word controversy. He knows the guys here. They know him and have forgiven him, but elsewhere he might not be as welcome. Maclin is coming off a ACL, so he has to prove he can still get it done.
The Birds are going to need to make a tough decision about Avant. He’s a tremendous leader for everybody on the team, but especially Foles. Avant is closer to Foles than anybody on the team and he has built strength and confidence in the young quarterback from their relationship. They need to get faster at this position because Avant is as slow as molasses, but he’s an outstanding blocker. This team values blocking from their receivers more than anyone else in the league.
I think he’ll be back because Kelly appreciates what he brings to the football team. He provides leadership for the entire team, but especially Foles and Jackson.
I would say good-bye to Johnson, who was probably the biggest disappointment of the season. He did nothing in the passing game or as a returner. They need to replace him with a productive player.
Smith didn’t do much as a receiver, but he’s a good, smart tough experienced guy to have around. He’s a very good special teams player. Smith can play the wide receiver position and he could be an emergency quarterback.
Maehl must improve to keep his job.
I would like to see them get another big wide receiver with speed. The Birds must get bigger and faster.
TE: Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey, Emil Igwenagu
Celek had a down year as a pass catcher in 2013, but he did a tremendous job as a run blocker. Ertz was great target in the red zone and he showed us why he was such high-draft pick.
The veteran will try to continue to shine for Kelly in the run blocking and passing game. He’s likely to keep his starting job because of his blocking and the Eagles are a running team.
Ertz has everything you would want as a pass-catchin tight end, cut he must learn to block as a tight end to take over as the starter. He needs to get in the weight room to get stronger. I could see him being the Birds third-leading receiver next year.
I could see them trying to replace Casey with someone bigger and faster, who could challenge for the starting position.
OL: Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Allen Barbre, Dennis Kelly, Julian Vandervele, Matt Tobin
During the regular season, this was the best offensive line in football. They helped McCoy lead the league in rushing and they gave Foles the time to put together a Pro Bowl season, but for some reason, they didn’t get it done int he playoff game against the Saints.
More than any other area of the football team, I was disappointed that this group didn’t take over the game. This is something to keep an eye on because for the next three or four years, the Niners, Seahawks, Panthers and Saints will be standing in the Birds path to the playoffs. This line must play better in the playoffs next year or somebody must go.
I take my hat to the season Peters had why recovering from two Achilles tendon injuries. He didn’t have as good of a year as he had in the past, so he should be even better next season.
Mathis emerged as one of the best guards in the league and he did a great job in both the run and the pass game. He’s a very good athlete to be playing guard with great strength and body control.
Kelce is emerging as one of the best centers in the league. He’s very smart and athletic, which allows the Eagles to get him out in space on screens and sweeps. Kelce has been an outstanding leader for the offensive line and this football team.
Herermans rebounded from a bad year in 2012 to have a good year in 2013. I think he just got healthier.
This was a good start for Johnson, but I want to see that big jump in 2014. I like the consistency Johnson showed throughout season and he didn’t have any catastrophic games, where he was jumping offsides every play or getting beaten play after play. The youngster had a consistent season which is impressive for a rookie. He’s got all the tools to be a great player at the position and should be there for 10 years or so.
They need to improve their backups to the point where they wouldn’t mind starting them. Barbre has proven he can play, but I would like to see get some youngsters in line to step in.
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