Philadelphia Eagles: 2014 Final Report Card
In the two seasons Chip Kelly has been the man at the controls of the Philadelphia Eagles roster, the team has finished with 10 wins.
How the team reached those wins in 2013 and 2014 explains two different teams in two different seasons with a collapse leading to this season’s meltdown and missing the playoffs by falling to 1-3 in their final four games and missed the playoffs. Sure, Dallas had something to do with that, Playing Washington did as well. Now, Kelly must prove he can win with his offensive scheme in a league of 32 teams that are forced to make changes on the fly to combat “chic” passing schemes that only work if perfected early on.
The 2015 off-season is more about trying to figure out went wrong than trying to discover what was right. Sure, injuries are going to be blamed on reversal of fortune, but in all fairness, 31 other teams suffered injuries as well. Those that made adjustments did better and made the playoffs. Those that could not get out of their own way suffered and stayed home for the holidays.
Here is a final report card of the Eagles season. Some information obtained came from Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com.
Everything was going according to plan. The Eagles were moving the ball, Nick Foles looked like he was the real deal. The line looked good, and then BAM! Foles gets hurt and things got a little murky. OK, a lot murky. This was Mark Sanchez’s change to be the hero, to show he could make the right throws and call the right plays and hopefully lead to another starting job in the NFL.
It all fell apart.
The Eagles scored 30 or more points in eight of their first 12 games. They didn't get to 30 in the three consecutive losses that knocked them out of the playoffs. They turned the ball over 35 times, including a league-high 26 turnovers from their quarterbacks. It's hard to win that way.
The team must figure out how to keep LeSean McCoy on the roster and use Darren Sproles more. The team may lose Jeremy Maclin to free agency.
GRADE – C+
As Sheridan said in his grade for the Eagles defense, it's hard to give an “F” to a defense that shut out the New York Giants, the first shutout by the Eagles since 1996. For a while, it appeared the defense was improving steadily. Then came the collapse. The secondary couldn't cover anyone. The front seven stopped getting pressure on quarterbacks. It was hard to watch.
The scheme might need some retooling and there is a need to look at potential secondary depth in free agency. Can someone like a PJ Williams or does a Landon Collins fall far enough so the team can trade up in the draft?
Look for the Eagles will shop the market and seek someone like Kareem Jackson from Houston or Rahim Moore from the Broncos.
GRADE – D
If the season stopped after Week 13, Kelly would have gotten an “A” and a Coach of the Year vote. The final four games destroyed the team and questioned whether teams were figuring out Kelly and his offense. As he wrote in his report, Sheridan said the best moment of the seasons was the Eagles ran off the field in Dallas in Week 13, they were 9-3 and had just claimed control of the NFC East race. Kelly appeared to have staked his claim as best coach in the division. Sanchez had earned the trust of his coaching staff for running Kelly’s uptempo offense as efficiently as it has been run in Philadelphia. It was impossible to predict the Eagles would lose their next three games and drop out of the playoff picture.
The worst moment was in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field in Week 16, the Eagles were driving toward what would have been a game-winning field goal attempt by Cody Parkey.
Then Sanchez threw a ball low and behind Maclin. Washington cornerback Bashaud Breeland made a diving interception. The Redskins were the team kicking the game-winning field goal, and the Eagles had lost three in a row. A day later, Dallas beat Indianapolis to clinch the NFC East title and eliminate the Eagles from the postseason.
Kelly will be tested again in his third season.
OVERALL GRADE: C