10 Reasons For Philadelphia Eagles’ Turnaround
10 Reasons For The Philadelphia Eagles' Turnaround
In a year in which many so-called experts predicted them to finish dead last in the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles are in first place in the division. They have been by far the most consistent team in their weak division on both sides of the ball.
The offense is deadly. The defense has started to come around. All this has led to a team that was supposed to be "re-building", competing in Chip Kelly's first season as head coach. Teams like the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys who were expected to be in playoff contention have been disastrous on both sides of the ball.
The Cowboys' defense has been a sieve in particular. The Giants, with a team of veteran coaches and players, have already been eliminated. There isn't much to say about the Washington Redskins. They have been an outright disaster pretty much since Week 1. Coach Mike Shanahan is all but fired, and there are more questions than answers about Robert Griffin III right now.
All this leaves the Eagles as the last team standing with the least issues. Each and every player has bought into Kelly's system and would run into a brick wall for him.
Kelly's offensive concepts have worked to perfection. With three weeks left in the season, the Eagles are a game up on the Cowboys, and if they win their remaining two games and the Cowboys slip up once, the Eagles will actually clinch the division and a playoff berth before their Week 17 divisional tilt.
The Eagles playing meaningful December football is certainly a nice change. Let's take a look at 10 of the biggest factors for the Eagles' turnaround.
10. Riley Cooper's Improvement
Riley Cooper has really come on as a secondary receiver opposite DeSean Jackson. He has had a breakout season and has especially thrived as a deep threat with Nick Foles as quarterback. Cooper is a huge factor in the Eagles' offensive success.
9. Excellent Depth At Running Back
The Philadelphia Eagles feature perhaps the best running back depth in the league. Everyone knows about all-world talent LeSean McCoy, but they have two other backs who are dangerous in their own right in Bryce Brown and Chris Polk. These three will be a handful for opposing teams for years to come.
8. Nick Foles' Emergence As Franchise Quarterback
Nick Foles has taken the biggest leap of any player from Year 1 to Year 2. He looks like a totally different player. Perhaps it is Chip Kelly's system or maturity and growth in the young man, but he is dominating. He reminds me of Joe Flacco in his physical stature and mental makeup. If this kid keeps playing at this level, there is no telling how far this team can go.
7. Chip Kelly's Brilliance As A Rookie Head Coach
Chip Kelly has done an unreal job in his first season as a head coach in the NFL. He has adapted beautifully to the pro game and gotten the job done with a pure pocket passer in Nick Foles. Kelly seems to have the pro game down to a science. The scary thing is that he will only get better as a coach from here.
6. Improved Secondary
The Philadelphia Eagles' secondary was torched week after week last year. This year, they are playing with high effort and are doing their jobs. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher have provided veteran leadership in the back end, and it has made all the difference in the world for the Eagles' defense.
5. DeSean Jackson's Breakout Season
DeSean Jackson already has over 1,000 yards receiving on the season and could possibly break the franchise receiving record set by Mike Quick. His outstanding play has taken this offense to the next level.
4. Demeco Ryan's Leadership Skills
Demeco Ryans is the unquestioned leader of the defense. His solid, steady play and calming influence has helped transform this defense into a more-than-respectable unit.
3. Improvement Of Eagles' Defense
The Eagles' defense has been outstanding for basically the last two months. The secondary is covering, the pass rushers are getting after it and they are stuffing the run. New acquisition Connor Barwin has been a godsend as a pass rusher and cover linebacker. If the defense keeps improving, the Eagles will have limitless potential.
2. LeSean McCoy Establishing Himself As Best Running Back In Football
LeSean McCoy is leading the league in rushing for good reason. He has been the most dynamic running back in football this season, and I am not sure it's close. His out-of-this-world change-of-direction skills and explosive downfield speed have left defenses in the dust. McCoy's monster season and the Eagles' improvement are no coincidences.
1. Dominant Young Defensive Line
The Eagles' young defensive line has perhaps been the biggest strength of the defense. Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton have been absolutely dominant. This defense should give a lot of its thanks to these two monsters along the defensive line for its major improvement this season.