On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
19 Wins in two years go back to college Chip
18 Maclins-a-self tackling
17 Carmichaels-a-red zone threating
15 Van Burens-a-grouching
7 Vicks-a-turning over
FIVE PUKED IN THE SUPERBOWL!
2 Akers-a-game winning
And a safety in the first round.
H/T to @ohwowhmm, @prototyler and @log__off.
In my most recent post at Bleeding Green Nation I looked at possible draft trades for the Eagles. The genesis for the post was a very different idea, one that as I kept going turned out to be really bizarre and not worth a post there. But I give you here, my loyalest of readers, the leftovers and unused bits.
The Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl this year with a roster stocked with late round picks. Nine players who started at some point in the season were drafted by the Seahawks in the first three rounds. 17 players who started were drafted in the 4th round or later. That is in part due to there being more picks in rounds 4-7 (plus undrafted free agency) than there are picks in rounds 1-3, but the Seahawks picked up more than their fair share of players this way: Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Walter Thurmond, Brandon Browner, Byron Maxwell and Red Bryant were late picks or UDFA. With so many players on cheap contracts, the Seahawks were able to supplement their roster nicely with free agents. Some might see this as a blueprint to build a team. One way to go about setting the foundation based on this blueprint would be to trade back in the early rounds and pick up some extra late picks.
What if we took that to an extreme? What if we looked at the past three years and retroactively had the Eagles trade down and didn’t stop until their first pick was in the fourth round? What kind of team would you have?
The release of DeSean Jackson has been, unsurprisingly, massively unpopular. In the lead up to DeSean’s exit, there was also anger, at the writers who said that this day was coming. They’re professionals and it would be low class for them to gloat. I, on the other hand, have no such qualms or standards. It’s time for a lot of people to eat crow.
But first, John my friend, you are off the hook on a technicality.
Now let’s get down to business…
Age considers, youth ventures.
The 2013 Eagles season ended in disappointment, but that it ended in 2014 meant it was an overall success. There is a lot of reason for optimism for next season.
This is only Year One
I have a general rule that a person or a team or whatever must be good or bad for two seasons in a row before I can really say they are good or bad. Anyone can have a singular great season, and anyone can have an isolated terrible season, and this is magnified in the small sample size that is an NFL season. But Chip Kelly has me second guessing myself. Beyond the obvious highs this season of winning the division, career years from DeSean Jackson, Shady McCoy and historical performances from McCoy and Nick Foles, something else stood out to me that gives me confidence for next year.
The Eagles clawed out a victory in a must win game against the Cowboys. One of the talking points of the game was the Dez Bryant touchdown on 4th down and how it reflects upon the larger picture of the job Billy Davis has done this season.
While I am no fan of Davis, he and his staff do have positives. All of the young players on the defense, Cox, Thornton, Logan, Curry, Kendricks, Boykin and Wolff have all improved as the season has progressed, which is an excellent sign for the future and very good reflection of the coaching staff. The one positive constant during Davis’ tenure in Arizona was his defenses were good at getting turnovers, and that has been the case this season. The run defense is strong, and while that matters less than passing, at least they’re strong at something for a change after years of futility.
However there are demerits to be given, and they have been consistent all season long, which is troubling. But first, the play everyone is arguing about, Dez Bryant’s 4th down touchdown.
The Eagles are on the doorstep of the playoffs, with the Cowboys standing in their way on Sunday night. Win and they are in, but it is not enough to simply defeat the Cowboys. The Eagles need to beat them. In a season full of memories, one more is not too much to ask. MNF opening day destruction of the Redskins, Nick Foles throwing 7 TDs, Shady in the snow and blowing out the Bears on SNF were great. But a loss to the Cowboys would negate all of that. This Sunday night, the 2013 Eagles can live forever by beating Dallas. Because while beating the Redskins or Giants is great, beating the Cowboys is special. The Body Bag Game and Eagles Porn and the Miracles at the Meadowlands are games that we will never forget, but Cowboys games are a different level of schadenfreude that has gone on a long time.
The “bend but don’t break defense”–also known as “zone defense with bad players”–that got the Eagles nine straight games of giving up 21 points or less finally broke against the Vikings, and in spectacular fashion. An ugly day all around, and illustrative of how this defense still has a ways to go before it is actually good, for the same reasons from earlier in the season.
…the center can not hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”
Let us get the elephant out of the room first. The defense did play better in that nine game streak, but like the 4-0 end of the 2011 season they also faced bad or handcuffed offenses. The Giants (twice), Buccaneers, Raiders and Aaron Rodgers-less Packers stink; the Cardinals are mediocre and were missing their best running back, the Cowboys are above average and were missing their best running back too and the Lions game was played in conditions that warrant an asterik. The Eagles run defense is very good, but the run game is not as important as it has been in the past. (more…)