NFL Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Players Who Will Shine in Week 1

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Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Players Who Will Shine in Week 1

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

In the NFL, a team’s success is often times based on the performance of the stars which are given the spotlight to lead the team. On a young roster such as that of the Philadelphia Eagles, the production of those select few have an even greater effect on each game and on the outcome of the season as a whole. Under new head coach Chip Kelly, the pressure is on in Philadelphia and the expectations are high due to the introduction of the new and innovative spread offense.

Most eyes will be focused on the output of the offensive players who are fit to succeed in Kelly’s offense. The success that Philadelphia is able to build behind its stars will build confidence, and be infectious in a locker room starving for a leader. The focus will also be on protecting the ball and moving it as quickly as possible down the field. Percentages would say that the more plays Philadelphia can run, the greater the chance for continued success, which is just what Kelly is hoping for.

On the opposite side of the ball, more questions remain than possible answers. With the matchup against one of the league’s most intriguing, up and coming young quarterbacks in Robert Griffin III, the Eagles’ defense will have their hands full. Look for their success to hinge upon young players stepping up and coming into their own. Only time will tell if they are able to grow together and build a contender, but Week 1 against the Washington Redskins will be a great test to see just how far they’ve come this preseason.

Overall, the performance of these players will determine not only Week 1, but how far the Eagles can go in 2013.

Bob Francis is a Philadelphia Eagles contributor for Follow him on Twitter @rfrancisjr, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google


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5. Michael Vick

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

After being named the starter, Michael Vick did not seem like the same quarterback in his final appearance of the preseason. His preparation during the offseason, along with the addition of a stronger offensive line, would dictate that he is ready to lead the potent Chip Kelly offense in Philadelphia. Look for Vick to soar from the beginning both in throwing the ball and eating up chunks of yards with his legs. His mobility always causes problems for opposing defenses, but finding the happy medium between staying in the pocket and moving when necessary will be a key to his success. His health is often in question, but playing with reservations has never been a part of his character, so don’t assume to see that now.

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4. DeSean Jackson

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Always a deep option, DeSean Jackson has added multiple threats to his arsenal, learning each of the routes and positions in the Eagles' new offense. Being one-dimensional has made him an easy cover at times in the past, but with Chip Kelly innovating the playbook and finding new ways to use each of his offensive weapons, Jackson is primed for a big season. Don’t expect for him to wait to enter the spotlight. He’ll use the Monday Night Football stage against the Washington Redskins to begin a season that could end up being his best yet.

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3. LeSean McCoy

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Having put himself in the conversation as one of the premier running backs in the NFL, LeSean McCoy surrounds himself with larger than life expectations. In a new run-first offense, he should see a greater amount of touches which will amount to greater production. His cutback ability is built for the type of offense now in place in Philadelphia, so look for him to explode, taking advantage of every aspect of the game. His dual threat ability, catching the ball as well as running, will continue to cause matchup problems week in and week out, beginning with the Redskins.

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2. Mychal Kendricks

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On the defensive side of the ball, second-year player Mychal Kendricks has really come into his own. He has become a leader for a young and inexperienced defense. Moving to inside linebacker in the new 3-4 setup in Philadelphia has worked wonders for his comfort and it definitely shows in his play. Kendricks' ability to sniff out the ball and make tackles anywhere on the field will help the questionable Eagles defense to control one of the up and coming stars of the NFL in Robert Griffin III. Look for Kendricks to cover ground sideline-to-sideline all night and be the most visible defender on the field.

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1. Fletcher Cox

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Fletcher Cox has solidified himself as the premier rusher on the Philadelphia Eagles' roster. After just one season, he has become a real threat to any quarterback hiding behind the offensive line. Cox had a strong preseason, leaving off where he finished last season and creating large expectations for his output this season. For the Eagles to be successful on defense, he’ll need to help a mediocre secondary by putting pressure on the quarterback and forcing unnecessary errors. His sack total should pile up throughout the season, beginning on Monday Night Football in Washington.