In all my time on this earth of following Philadelphia sports, Chip Kelly has captured the fan base locally and nationally more so than any one I can remember. With each move the scrutiny or defending reaches higher levels.
So earlier in 2015 when he won a power struggle with Howie Roseman and essentially pushed Roseman to be in charge of equipment, the questions began. What will Chip do? Can he talent evaluate? Can he coach and still play gm? And any other question people could think of.
One of the first moves he made was trading Shady McCoy to Buffalo for Kiko Alonso. (Luckily for Shady, as he put it, he could be a man now. He doesnt have to get a lot of sleep and he can go out. He doesnt have to do Chip’s sports science. Unfortunately Shady hasn’t looked at his stats in that he didn’t miss any games due to injury under Chip’s sports science. It took all of a couple weeks for Shady to hurt the hamstring. Shady is still butt hurt and his continued comments show it. Have fun going out in Buffalo.) He cut Todd Herremans and Trent Cole, who acted like professionals.
He brought in Demarco Murray and Ryan Matthews. He signed Walter Thurmond and Byron Maxwell. He traded Nick Foles for Sam Bradford. He cut Evan Mathis and Brandon Boykin.
I have been asked many times if I like what Chip has done or how the Birds will be? The only answer I can give is this. Lets compare the 2014 team to the 2015 team.
2014 Quarterbacks- Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez
2015 Quarterbacks- Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez
Verdict- I was a Foles guy. I believe he is not here because he did not see the field or the reads as Chip saw them. If Bradford stays healthy it should be an upgrade. So this is high risk/high reward
2014 Running Backs- Shady McCoy, Darren Sproles, Chris Polk
2015 Running Backs- Demarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, Darren Sproles
Verdict- 2015 running backs
2014 Wide Receivers- Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Riley Cooper, Brad Smith
2015 Wide Receivers- Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, Riley Cooper, Miles Austin
Verdict- Maclin tough to replace but 2015 is deeper. Im high on this receiving core but I will take the conservative approach and say push
2014 Tight Ends- Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton
2015 Tight Ends, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton
Verdict- I expect Ertz to take a step forward but again I will go conservative and say push
2014 OLine- Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson
2015 OLine- Jason Peters, Alan Barbre, Jason Kelce, Andrew Gardner, Lane Johnson
Verdict- the 2014 line missed time due to injuries. The Eagles are high on Gardner and Barbre and Mathis garnered very little interest after being released. However, I will say the 2014 was better
2014 Dline- Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton
2015 Dline- Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton
Verdict- I think this is the most underrated unit in the entire NFL. Another year this unit will be better. Add Vinny Curry to the rotation, a guy who would start on many other teams.
2014 Linebackers- Connor Barwin, Mychael Kendricks, Demeco Ryans, Trent Cole
2015 Linebackers- Connor Barwin, Mychal Kendricks, Kiko Alonso, Brandon Graham
Verdict- Kiko Alonso pushes this unit over the top and add Demeco Ryans to this years core for depth
2014 Corners- Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams, Nolan Carroll, Brandon Boykin
2015 Corners- Byron Maxwell, Nolan Carroll, Eric Rowe, EJ Biggers
2014 Safeties- Malcolm Jenkins and Nate Allen
2015 Safeties- Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond
Verdict- You tell me if Thurmond is better than Nate Allen
Still in tact is the special teams unit that was one of the best in the game.
They finished 3rd in offense last year averaging just shy of 30 points per game. They also led the league in turnovers with 36
They finished 22 in scoring defense giving up close to 26 point per game. They took the ball away 28 times which was tied for 6th.
Injuries and depth are the biggest concerns stated by everyone. Name me one team in this league who isn’t afraid of injuries. So, I cant say for certain that this team will win more than 10 games. But I believe on paper as it stands now this team is better than last years.