Eagles’ Take Off Already Has Setbacks In First Year Under Chip Kelly
The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t even reached their first preseason game under first-year head coach Chip Kelly and already two players have gone down with torn ACL injuries, including star wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. That is certainly not the way that Kelly envisioned starting his NFL coaching career, especially considering the way that he wants to play offense and the pieces he needs to do it. Kelly has not declared who his starting quarterback will be but the online sportsbook experts agree it should be Michael Vick. That means Kelly’s success will be tied to the same quarterback that cost Andy Reid his job in Philadelphia a year ago, which should be cause for concern.
Vick was absolutely awful last season, but he is still Kelly’s best option ahead of Nick Foles and Matt Barkley. The potential is still there if Vick can cut down on the turnovers and make better decisions, and the hope is that Kelly’s high-tempo offense will force him to react rather than over thinking things. Vick will still have some quality weapons in DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Brent Celek, and rookie tight end Zach Ertz which should help as well. The offensive line will benefit from the return of left tackle Jason Peters and guard Todd Herremans after injuries ravaged that group a year ago. Running back LeSean McCoy is still one of the most dangerous big-play threats in the game and he has the ability to both run the ball and make plays in the passing game, so don’t overlook the sports betting impact he will have on this offense.
The defense will be transitioning from the 4-3 to the 3-4 under new coordinator Bill Davis, but it’s hard to imagine things being any worse after giving up a franchise-record 33 touchdown passes a year ago. Philadelphia said goodbye to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha in the offseason, bringing in Cary Williams from the Baltimore Ravens and signing Patrick Chung to play safety. The Eagles also feel they hit big with the addition of Connor Barwin at outside linebacker, where he and Brandon Graham will be the primary pass rushers. Philadelphia has the defensive line personnel to run the 3-4 including nose tackle Isaas Sopoaga and ends Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton, but there isn’t much depth there so injuries will be a concern.
The Eagles have one of the league’s most accurate kickers in Alex Henery and a quality punter in Donnie Jones to go with one of the best long snappers in the NFL in Jon Dorenbos. Philadelphia will likely have some new auditions to challenge Brandon Boykin and Riley Cooper in the return game as they look for a spark.
There has been a lot of talk about whether or not Kelly’s way of doing things will work at the NFL level, and that has sparked a ton of online sports betting debate about how much they can improve. Injuries have already provided a setback in camp, and while Kelly definitely has his team focused, there is no guarantee that the veterans will take kindly to his way of coaching. Factor in Vick at quarterback, limited depth at key spots, a tough NFC East division, and the fact that Kelly has never coached in the NFL, and it’s hard to expect much more than a moderate improvement in 2013.
2013 PROJECTION: 6-10; 4th in the NFC East