Eagles Armchair: The Wait Is Finally Over


The most comprehensive weekly look at the Philadelphia Eagles on the internet. 


We had to wait an extra 24 hours, but it’s here. Chip Kelly and company will open their campaign tonight in Atlanta against Matt Ryan and the Falcons, nine-and-a-half months after the 2014 season ended with a meaningless game against the Giants. That’s a long time, but Kelly sure made the most of it.

First he performed a coup on Howie Roseman, taking control of the team’s football operations, setting up the craziest offseason in Eagles history.

Gone are Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin. To take their spots, Kelly picked up a former number one overall pick, last year’s rushing champ and used a first round pick on Nelson Agholor. Trent Cole? Goodbye. Todd Herremans? Nice knowing you. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Chip Kelly didn’t just defy convention, he took the Spalding guide and burned it page-by-page all the while laughing at the criticism being thrown his way. Look at the Eagles roster and it’s hard to see a position that wasn’t improved by Kelly’s purge. The Eagles are more talented, have more guys ready to buy into Kelly’s culture and fit his schemes better. This is now his team, and for better or worse, they will sink or swim with the coach.

13 new starters will be suiting up tonight. Kiko Alonso, Walter Thurmond and Byron Maxwell are expected to solidify Bill Davis’s defense. Allen Barbre and Andrew Gardner will be tasked with paving the way for DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, not to mention keeping Sam Bradford upright.

There are a lot of moving parts, but Jeffrey Lurie and Kelly are willing to roll the dice in hopes of becoming a great team, but for a city that is starved for greatness the risk is well worth the reward.


33.25 – The Eagles averaged 33.25 points per game in the preseason; most in the NFL and most since the NFL started tracking preseason stats in 2000. Just like everything else in the preseason, this has to be taken with a grain of salt, but Kelly’s offense will roll all season. That’s a guarantee.

79.3 – Bradford’s career passer rating is a pedestrian 79.3, but he had a rating over 90 in 2013 before a season-ending knee injury after just seven games. Kelly’s offense is the most quarterback-friendly scheme in the NFL and has worked wonders for guys like Foles and Mark Sanchez, so expect Bradford to hit career highs in many categories if he remains healthy for the season.

3 – The Eagles have opened up their season on Monday Night Football three times, going 1-2 in those contests. The lone victory came against the Redskins two seasons ago in Kelly’s first game as Eagles head coach. The Eagles also faced the Falcons on Monday Night Football to open the 2005 season, a loss that set the tone for a 6-10 season.


No news here, Zach Ertz and Marcus Smith are both listed as questionable for tonight’s contest, but I would be surprised if either one sees any action. Ertz is supposed to be a big piece of Kelly’s offense so it would make sense for the team to give him an extra week and make sure he is healthy heading into the home opener against Dallas.

As for Smith, Billy Davis has moved Vinny Curry to OLB to make up for the 2014 first-round pick’s injury. Also, Smith hasn’t shown much in his time with the Eagles, so I doubt the coaches are dying to get him back on the field.


Not a good game for Shady in his first game in Buffalo, somewhere Kelly is saying, “I told you so.”

Despite being strip-sacked by Cary Williams, Foles was able to lead the Rams past the Seattle Seahawks in overtime yesterday. 

After the Texans lost to Andy Reid’s Chiefs yesterday, The Eagles have a good shot at moving to the top of this list tonight against a Falcons team that finished 6-10 last season.


Offensive Player of the YearSam Bradford

Sorry for the lack of creativity, but it’s hard to pick anyone else besides Bradford, provided he’s healthy. He is the most talented quarterback that the Eagles have had since Kelly joined the team and I think the pair will prove to be a match made in heaven. If all goes according to plan, Bradford will take home Comeback Player of the Year and be named to his first Pro Bowl.

Defensive Player of the YearConnor Barwin

Barwin gets passed over a lot for a dude who had over 14 sacks last season. Simply put, he is the most valuable player on the defensive side of the ball. If he were to go down, no one on the roster could replace his production as a pass rusher and a coverage linebacker. Do you want Brandon Graham trailing tight ends and running backs? Didn’t think so.

Biggest SurpriseRyan Mathews

I really think Mathews is going to have a big year. He is incredibly talented and has produced at a Pro Bowl level when healthy. Obviously Murray is the big name in the running back rotation, but don’t be surprised if when it’s all said and done, Mathews is more effective.

Biggest DisappointmentZach Ertz

This isn’t a knock on Ertz and his potential, but I just don’t see him having his breakout year. As long as Brent Celek is on the roster, he will cut into Ertz’s snaps, thus giving the Stanford product less opportunities to make an impact. I think Ertz will be a Pro Bowler at some point in his career, but not yet.


  • Best case scenario: The Eagles will go 12-4, win the division and one playoff game. That’s a step in the right direction and completely possible as long as everyone remains healthy. Obviously the goal should be to win the Super Bowl, but fans can’t complain if they see improvement from last year’s 10-6 team and Kelly gives them a reason to fully trust him.
  • Worst Case Scenario: Bradford goes down early in the season, Murray shows signs of fatigue from last year’s workload and the defense loses a key player or two, exposing their lack of depth. The team goes 7-9, and has to start from scratch at the QB position without a prime draft slot to pick a top one.


The Eagles are in Atlanta tonight to face off against the Falcons. Offensively, the Falcons will lean heavily on Julio Jones, but if the Eagles secondary can limit the vertical passing game, the offense will jump out to an early lead and never look back.

Next: Semi-Coherent Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview

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