By Bill Pivetz @BPiv_Sports on March 27, 2014
The Philadelphia Eagles went from last to first in just one season. Chip Kelly implemented an up-tempo offense which saw Riley Cooper and Nick Foles step up to give the Eagles the NFC East title. Here are five players who must step up in 2014 to keep the momentum going.
The Philadelphia Eagles signed Nolan Carroll after four years with the Miami Dolphins. He is another name on a long list of cornerbacks. He had three interceptions with Miami and will be asked to duplicate those numbers with the Eagles. He should take the starting job from Bradley Fletcher.
Alex Henery took over for David Akers and has been a good field goal kicker. Where Henery needs to improve is with his kickoffs. He fails to kick touchbacks, putting more pressure on the defense. In 2013, Henery kicked touchbacks just 40 percent of the time. It was at 37.19 percent in 2012. If he kicked a touchback, maybe they would have defeated the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs.
The Eagles' 2013 success can be attributed to LeSean McCoy's dominance in the running game. He had 314 carries for 1,607 yards and nine touchdowns. The next closest Eagles running back in carries was Bryce Brown with 75. The third-string back, Chris Polk, had 11. If the Eagles want to make it back to the playoffs, McCoy will need to drop to 275 carries and let Brown and Polk take a few carries.
Back to the cornerback position, Cary Williams recorded three picks, one sack and 12 passes defended. As the No. 1 cornerback, the Eagles need to stop opposing passing games. The team allowed 23 first downs per game, tied for second-most in the league.
The Eagles' defense was one of the worst in the league. They allowed 394.0 passing yards per game, which was the fourth-most in the league. Strong safety Nate Allen was a little disappointing for Eagles fans. He recorded just one sack and one interception. The Eagles were tied for 15th with 25 receiving touchdowns. Nate Allen and the rest of the defense will need to tighten up, especially with the offenses the Eagles play in 2014.
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