When Chip Kelly walked off the chartered jet at Philadelphia International, he was met by a group of fans and media. The hype machine started and has not stopped. The media highlighted everything from his staff hires, heart monitors, custom smoothies for players and soundtracks to practice. After fourteen years of same, the city finally has a new and different face running the team. The success of the Philadelphia Eagles will depend not on Chip Kelly but on the man down the sideline running the defense.
The hiring of Billy Davis will serve to make or break the start of the new Eagles era. The Kelly offense wants to run a play every 17 seconds. This may be tempered by the influence of Pat Shurmer, but why even bring Kelly in if they want to field a watered-down version of his offense. This speed must give Davis some sleepless nights. What happens in the absence of a first down?
Davis must have his crew in peak shape. Trent Cole and other veterans must be able to adapt to new roles. Rookies like Benny Logan, Earl Wolff, and Jordan Poyer will need to contribute. Second-year men like Brandon Boykin will need to step up their game. It remains to be seen if Carey Williams or Bradley Fletcher can keep their levels of performance. The safety situation is still up in the air and Davis would do well to avoid the mistakes of the last few years. Kenny Phillips is already dealing with knee issues. Wolf may be the fresh blood needed in the backfield.
The debacle of last year is fresh in the minds of fans. It was painful watching the opposition drive their offense up and down the field, scoring almost at will. Davis has a large task ahead of him. If he is successful, and he certainly can be, the defense can be a strong contributor to the season success, providing the needed backbone to support the new and innovative offense.
Matt Shaner is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for RantSports.com.
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