photos by: www.usatoday.com (pictured from top to bottom: LeSean McCoy and Chip Kelly)
The Philadelphia Eagles came into the season with a ton of high expectations. A new and exciting head coach in the form of Chip Kelly arrived and combined his offensive genius with the unique abilities of electric players. Kelly, a former head coach at the University of Oregon, gained a reputation for having an extremely fast-paced offense. Kelly brought that same game plan to the Eagles’ organization. So far his style of offense and the defense of the Eagles have had their fair share of pros and cons.
The Eagles are 1-2 but their statistics don’t necessarily match up with the record that they have. Let’s dive right into the numbers that the Eagles have accumulated in the first three games of the season. We all know Michael Vick has gotten absolutely pummeled when dropping back to pass or scrambling throughout his stint as a quarterback for the Eagles and looking at the 10 sacks the Eagles have given up in three games, it’s safe to say that much has not changed. The point being is that the offensive line could do a tad bit more to give Vick some time back there and maybe, just maybe his decision-making can get better.
Despite a couple of interceptions in last night’s 26-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Vick has done a pretty good job of taking care of the pigskin. Those two picks were Vick’s first two interceptions of the season. His passer rating is great at 96.0. He is averaging a solid 254 passing yards per contest to go along with his 5 touchdown passes. Vick is showing shades of his vintage form but there is always room for improvement.
The running game that the Eagles possess looks really good. With Kelly coaching on the sidelines, Eagles fans expect the run game to be good and it looks like Kelly and his rushing attack are living up to the hype. With McCoy shifting and juking defenders out of their shoes and socks, the Eagles look very good when running the ball. McCoy has had a field day in all three games this season and his 131.7 rushing yards per game and 6.4 yards per carry average are testaments to his superstar ability. All McCoy needs is a skip, hop or a jump after he is handed the ball and he is taking off on defenders like he’s back in elementary school on the playground!
The return of Michael Vick’s legs has come as a surprise as well. We haven’t seen those bad boys moving like this in a while! Vick has two rushing touchdowns and is averaging a solid 61.0 yards per game at the quarterback position. Those Eagles can get down the field by running the ball with no problem.
Philadelphia’s receiving core needs to get a little more consistent. However, one receiver has been stepping it up big time! Guess who it is? If you guessed DeSean Jackson, you were absolutely correct. Jackson is making defensive backs look silly all over the field this year. Jackson averages 119.7 receiving yards per game, 18.9 yards per catch and has 19 receptions to go along with 7 catches of 20 yards or more.
Aside from Jackson, receiver Jason Avant and tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz are doing alright but need to get a little more involved. Although he is a running back, McCoy has been a nice asset to the passing game by accounting for two receiving touchdowns. It’s a major plus to have a running back to dump the ball off to in the flat. Overall, the Eagles’ receiving core has been solid but everybody must be consistent in order for the passing game to flourish.
Don’t think the defense is getting off of the hook. By no means, has it been bad but it must tighten up if Philadelphia wants to have a good year. The defense has ten sacks and players such as defensive end Fletcher Cox and linebacker Trent Cole have done a good job of tackling and getting to the quarterback. Linebackers Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans are the top two tacklers on the team and the linebacker core of the Eagles looks much better than last year. The weak spot on the defense is the secondary. The Eagles are giving up 340.3 passing yards per game to their opponents. Cornerbacks Cary Williams and Brandon Boykin must rally their troops and get this secondary in gear.
All in all, the Philadelphia Eagles are a solid team right now. 1-2 is a losing record but there are still 13 games left in the regular season. A lot of fun-filled action can occur in that time. The offense can continue its success while limiting turnovers in the process. Hopefully, their defense can work on that shaky secondary. The Eagles could be an interesting team to watch as the season goes on.