5 Areas Philadelphia Eagles Must Improve Upon During Training Camp
5 Areas to Improve for Philadelphia Eagles
After a 4-12 season, you would think choosing only five things for the Philadelphia Eagles to improve upon would be mighty generous. But the truth of the matter is that the Eagles have already done a lot, albeit on paper, to improve their franchise.
They started with the hiring of Chip Kelly to replace Andy Reid as head coach. Reid did wonderful things for this city, but it was time to make a change. A high-octane, fast-paced offense like Kelly’s will bring excitement back to Lincoln Financial Field, if nothing else.
They followed that up by using a top-five pick in the draft to select offensive tackle Lane Johnson, hoping they have landed an anchor on the line for the next decade.
The Eagles also made what appears to be a lot of smart personnel moves during the offseason. Cutting Nnamdi Asomugha and letting Domonique Rodgers Cromartie leave via free agency was the best thing for all parties involved as it appeared that it was never going to work out in Philadelphia for these two. They also made a lot of sensible signings including Connor Barwin to be a specialist pass rusher in the 3-4 and Cary Williams to lead the new-look secondary.
Even with everything the Eagles have done this offseason, 4-12 doesn’t automatically fix itself when the season starts. The quest to get better begins now that training camp has started, and if the Eagles want to improve upon last year’s horrible season and try to return to the postseason, here are the five areas the team needs to improve most.
1. Offensive Line
The offensive line was a complete mess last year. Jason Peters returns from injury and will pair with Lane Johnson to hold down the tackle positions, but Evan Mathis still, remains a question mark at guard. Chip Kelly needs a fast offensive line to help orchestrate this rushing attack and they also have to do a better job in pass protection (fifth in NFL with 48 sacks allowed).
2. Pressure on the Quarterback
Not only did the Eagles give up sacks, but they couldn’t get any on their own (t-25th in the NFL). Moving to a 3-4 will hopefully allow for Trent Cole to take on a DeMarcus Ware-esque role as a stand-up pass rusher. The presence of an experienced Connor Barwin will also help put pressure on opposing QBs.
3. Protecting the Football
The Eagles really struggled with the turnover bug last season. They tied for the league lead with 37 giveaways last season, including 22 lost fumbles. Turnovers led to easy scoring opportunities for opponents, which led to the Birds giving up 27.8 points per game. If Michael Vick is going to be the starting quarterback once again, he has to do a much better job of holding on to the football.
4. Forcing Turnovers
The Eagles struggled at putting pressure on opponent’s QBs and protecting their own. The Eagles tied for fewest takeaways in the league with only 13, leading to a -24 turnover differential. The defense was lazy and full of holes all last year, and they need to create easy scoring opportunities by forcing turnovers if they are going to succeed.
5. Red Zone Offense
The Eagles left a lot of points on the field last year because they did not have the ability to get in the end zone when they got inside opponents' 20-yard line. Their red-zone touchdown percentage ranked 28th in the NFL at 44 percent largely because of turnovers and partly because of a lack of creative play is calling. Too many times you would see two runs up the middle for no gain and a play action pass thrown out of the end zone inside the five-yard line. The Eagles need to be more efficient overall, especially in the red zone.