For the second time in as many years, the Eagles postseason hopes were ended in week 16 by the Redskins. Which means that even though there’s still one game remaining in the season, its time to do our season wrap-up, because for all intents and purposes, this season is over. Obviously it was a disappointing one, and the Eagles will either finish 6-10 or 7-9. In this article, I’ll take a look at why the season went so poorly, and also what needs to happen in the offseason to make sure we don’t get a similar season next year.
First and foremost, I just want to say 100% that Chip Kelley will be back for his 4th season. Sorry to those of you who dislike him. And while I obviously can’t actually 100% guarantee this, it simply makes no sense to fire him. Let’s go off the assumption that the Eagles lose to the Giants, that will give Chip a 26-22 record in his first 3 seasons. Not great, but its not bad either. It’s a winning record, and there’s also been a playoff berth, so in all, while its not been great, it also could have been much, much worse. Give Chip one more year, one more free agency and draft, and if he still can’t do anything with this team, then it’ll be time to look into replacements. As for other major coaching positions, I would love to see both Billy Davis and Pat Shurmur go. They certainly aren’t the worst OC/DC duo in the league, but they just aren’t good. Fans have disliked Davis for years, and while his scheme isn’t necessarily a bad one, his unwillingness to make changes is causing problems. The issue is possible replacements. It’s hard to tell who would even be willing to accept that job, let alone who would be a good fit. One idea is Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine, however, it looks like the Browns intend to keep him. As for OC, I’ve honestly never been a fan of Pat Shurmur, even during his first stint with the Eagles. Although I would have no problem with him being the Eagles QB coach, as he had serious success with both Donovan McNabb and Nick Foles. Again, an issue becomes replacing him, as its tough to tell who would be willing to accept these positions.
Why did this season go so badly? There honestly isn’t one single reason. First off, remember that this is a rebuilding year. The team was wayyyy overhyped during the offseason, but in reality, I think many people expected it to go like this. It’s going to take time for this team to gel (that doesn’t happen in one season) and injuries have also played a major role. There is also blame to be put on all the coaches, and even the players. There are a ton of different reasons this season didn’t go well, and there more then I could possibly cover. So I’ll leave it down to three things. A lack of team unification, some bad coaching, and honestly poor O-line play. All of these can be fixed with relative ease.
Let’s move on to players. Once again, right out of the gate, Sam Bradford should, and probably will be back. I see so many people hate on Sam Bradford and I find it just ridiculous. He is easily the best QB we’ve had since McNabb. Yes, you read the correctly. Obviously his season wasn’t a mind blowing, Nick Foles 27-2 type season. But here’s an interesting stat, Bradford is the most accurate QB in the NFL under pressure. He’s 14th in overall accuracy as well, and yes that includes drops. That’s good. As the season has progressed, he has made some truly spectacular throws, and will come very close to McNabb’s single season passing yard record of 3,916 yards (he’s currently at 3,405). And he also missed 2 games. He’s had to deal with constant drops, and an O-line that gives him little time to allow plays to develop. If you’re not sure why that matters, think back to how many times you’ve seen the Eagles make 4-5 yard throws on something like 3rd and 8. That has happened so often because the O-line isn’t allowing the play to extent. Not Bradford’s fault. I haven’t seen a single decent reason why Bradford shouldn’t be back, and that’s because there isn’t one. As for the long list of other players, Murray will probably be back (again, play affected by serious O-line issues) and I really would like to see Nolan Carroll, Walter Thurmond, Cedric Thornton and Seyi Ajirotutu return. While I would also love to see Curry back, I see him leaving for both more pay and more play time. Two players who could be let go are Jason Peters and Brent Celek. Both are fan favorite’s, however both are also aging, and will count for a large hit against the cap. That being said, I really would love to have Celek back.
Overall, I wouldn’t expect any huge offseason changes like last years. I think that Chip Kelly has a base for the team that he wants, and now he can build off of it with out any huge overhauls. I would expect a calmer offseason, and next year, a good season. But then again, it’s Chip Kelly, so we never know.