- Alex Hand
The Legion of Zoom
The Legion of Zoom once described the Philadelphia Eagles offense of 2010, when players such as DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and Michael Vick obliterated defenses with their speed and quickness. However, unlike the Andy Reid/Marty Mornhinweg offense that preferred smaller, faster players that some analysts would describe as finesse, there no longer appears to be any trace of that left in the City of Brotherly Love. For the 2015 season, a few writers have since dusted off ‘The Legion of Zoom’ nameplate in reference to the new Eagle run game consisting of DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, and Darren Sproles. However, there is plenty more cogs in this offense that allows this franchise to function, which will be exploited in the following.
It all starts up front, and this year’s Eagle offensive line is looking stout. Despite the loss of Todd Herremans and the questionable return of guard Evan Mathis, this frontline still consists of Jason Peters and Lane Johnson covering the outside, with pro-bowl Jason Kelce at center. Allen Barbre and Andrew Gardner are two primary backups that have shown greatness in the experience they have had in previous seasons and are both flexible in playing guard and tackle.
After a whirlwind of a trading session with the St. Louis Rams, the Eagles landed their new franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford. Currently, Bradford is still rehabilitating after tearing his ACL back in August, but is recovering right on schedule. In the case that Bradford is not 100% by week 1, Mark Sanchez will have had a full year under the Eagle offense and is likely to perform at a higher level than last season.
The wide receiver core might be the best that Philadelphia has had in a long time. Despite losing DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in consecutive seasons, the Birds offense has been replenished by Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor while also featuring players like Josh Huff and Riley Cooper. Undrafted rookie free agent Rasheed Bailey from division III Delaware Valley is also expected to make an impact, and Miles Austin helps usher in a veteran leadership role to the offense. The tight end room remains almost untouched sans James Casey. Featuring primary ends Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, and Trey Burton there have also been three undrafted rookies brought into compete: Andrew Gleichert, Eric Tomlinson, and Justin Dukes.
The Eagles might have lost LeSean McCoy, but that does not mean they lost any ounce of run game production. DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews are this year’s free agent additions to the offense that will thrive in the spread offense, whilst Darren Sproles looks to continue his success in Philadelphia.
The 2015 “Legion of Zoom” Eagles look to be the most talented under the Chip Kelly regime, and it is because all the cogs brought in are both perfect scheme and personality fits. Sam Bradford rejoins offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who helped him gain Offensive Rookie of the Year status, and will also return to his roots in running fast-paced offense at Oklahoma to hopefully turn out a stunning season for the Eagles. DeMarco Murray will also receive flashbacks to his college days as he is reunited with college teammate, quarterback, and roommate Bradford, and with Mathews and Sproles, Murray will no longer be forced to carry the ball as often as he did in Dallas. Both the receiving options and offensive line are deep, talented, and athletic, and in the words of starting cornerback Byron Maxwell, this franchise looks truly poised to make a run toward the Super Bowl.