- Alex Hand
That’s All Folks: Recapping the 2015 Philadelphia Eagles Season
Yes, I am aware that there is still one more game to go against the lowly New York Giants who could be seeing their own coaching change being made this upcoming off-season, but the fact of the matter is that with the loss against Washington, the Philadelphia Eagles’ season is over. There are no more playoffs hunts or post-season aspirations, and at this point, it is time to truly start looking at the draft. But before that, let us recap the team and look at some of the pending changes that will have to be made entering 2016.
Sam is the man. Sam Bradford’s first season with Philadelphia has been marred with dropped passes and an overall underperforming offense. In just one year under Chip Kelly and the offensive coaches, Bradford has shown that he is fully recovered from two ACL tears, can still throw accurate bullets, is not afraid to throw into tight windows, and does not get rattled after taking some crushing hits. The Eagles need to have him return to Philly for the long haul because, frankly, they do not have any better alternatives entering 2016.
The offensive line is not good and never was good. Halfway through the season Lane Johnson had even admitted that both he and Jason Kelce were overcompensating for the two new guards, Allen Barbre and Matt Tobin. Guard was an issue even when Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis were on the roster, let alone after their departures and lack of replacement through the draft. Now with the decline of Jason Peters, both tackle and guard will be areas of concern entering the 2016 NFL Draft and/or free agency.
DeMarco Murray will not be successful in the Eagles’ offense if it does not cater to his strengths. As you might read in other articles, Murray likes running north and south, under center, and in power formations; the Eagles do not run that type of offense. If Chip and the offensive coaches do not change their approach to the run game, they might as well cut Murray now and draft his replacement early because Ryan Mathews still did not complete a full 16-game season and Darren Sproles turns 33 this summer.
Bill Davis is gone. There are only so many times that a fan base can watch their team, who used to pride itself on their hard-hitting defense, now, get blown out to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, and Washington Redskins by a combined total of 128 points. If this was a no name defense, it would be one thing, but when there are Bonafide playmakers on the defensive side of the ball and the coordinator continually states that they could have called a better game each time the defense gets exploited, it is time for a change.
The front seven needs consistency as well as the ability to generate the pass rush. Quick throws by the quarterback are not always to blame as to why the Eagles rank 16th in sacks; the most of which stem from their 5-technique defensive end, Fletcher Cox with 7.5. Check out potential outside linebacker prospect Carl Nassib from Penn State – yes, that would be backup NY Giants QB Ryan Nassib’s brother.
This upcoming offseason places huge question marks on the team as Cox, Cedric Thornton, Nolan Carroll, E.J. Biggers, and Walter Thurmond are due to hit free agency this year. Cox has been voted to the Pro Bowl, has garnered the respect of his teammates and of those around the NFL for his prowess, and should expect to be given a healthy contract. Thornton’s odds of returning are bleak with the younger Taylor Hart waiting in the wings; Carroll might get cut due to Byron Maxwell’s contract, as well as the need to secure Thurmond’s position at safety. The Eagles are headed toward a potential financial crisis defensively, and will have to sweet talk some of their players into taking a lighter paycheck for the good of the team.
Whether Chip Kelly will return to be the Eagles head coach in 2016 is truly a toss up. The man has gone 10-6, 10-6, and now 6-9 in his three years here and has no post-season victories to speak of. However, there are two factors on his side as to how he might keep his job in Philly. First, owner Jeffery Laurie always gives his coaches copious opportunities to pull themselves out of the hole that they had dug; and secondly, there are no surefire options on the market as to whom Kelly’s replacement might be. Hugh Jackson – offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals – is the top ranked prospect and he has only served his current position for one season.
Right now, the Philadelphia Eagles are not a good football team, and the sports world is up in arms as to who to point fingers at and who should get the axe come black Monday after the game against the Giants.