Cautiously optimistic is the perfect term to describe the new era of Philadelphia Eagles football.
A new high powered offense paired together with a hybrid defense has at the very least created chatter about a new season in the City of Brotherly Love. But, do these young, inexperienced Eagles with a totally new offense, defense and coaching staff really stand a chance?
Only four coaches in the team’s history have been able to produce winning teams in their first season. In order for Philadelphia to turn things around, this will be the first hurdle that coach Chip Kelly will need to clear.
This season, the Eagles play seven teams that finished last season with a .500 or below record. That’s not saying much being that they ended in the same category, at 4-12, but it does show hope. The offensive line, which was a major part of their problem in 2012, is healthy once again and has added new pieces which will help to solidify the spread offense and protect whichever quarterback is at the helm.
In addition, only five teams in the NFL returned to the playoffs in 2012 after beging there in 2011, and only two of those were in the NFC. That shows a lot of flux in the league from one year to the next, which is a good sign for an Eagles team trying to recover and rebuild.
The division will be extremely important to Philadelphia’s reclaiming a playoff spot, but seems to be a place where the Eagles can find success. The New York Giants had been a playoff mainstay over the past years until missing out and losing the division to the Washington Redskins last season.
Washington has lots of upside, however, the health of Robert Griffin III will have a lot to do with its possible success in the upcoming year and remains a question mark. Finally, the roller coaster that is the Dallas Cowboys continues to show more questions than answers, which could leave the door wide open for Philadelphia to make a run and retake a division that it once controlled.
Only time will tell if the young team can make the transition to becoming an NFC mainstay, but look for the Eagles to make large improvements in 2013 and return to the playoffs, reestablishing themselves as a top NFL team.