Team Profiles Philadelphia Eagles by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug “wit out” Bowles
After only 2 seasons as an NFL coach, Chip Kelly has made it clear to everyone on planet Earth that he’s going to build this team “his way“, and apparently with the blessing of Eagle’s owner Jeffery Lurie. He’s been changing the Eagle’s roster faster than the Brown’s change quarterbacks, and he doesn’t seem to care who he let’s go. Players like DeSean Jackson, Trent Cole, LeSean McCoy, Carey Williams, and Todd Herremans have all had to buy new houses in different cities. Kelly came into the NFL wanting to change how the game is played, at least on his team, and only time will tell whether he ends being hailed as a genius or run out of town.
2015 Team Outlook– The NFC East is one of the strongest divisions in the NFL, and although Dallas had their best year since 2009, the Eagles and the Giants can handily challenge them for division champs in 2015. Washington is still in rebuilding mode with a new head coach and with QB RG3 regressing badly from his successful rookie season, so they may not be contenders. Kelly has 2 winning seasons so far (both years…10-6) so his maverick way of coaching hasn’t ruffled the feathers of too many Eagles fans, yet. If he had losing seasons in 2013 & 2014, trading home-town hero RB LeSean McCoy to Buffalo would likely have landed his head at the end of a stick! Even this ballsy move didn’t cause a huge, hostile commotion because ownership and the Philly fan base are going to give Kelly the benefit of the doubt…until he falls on his face, if he ever does.
2015 Fantasy Outlook–
QB– QB Nick Foles has got to be wondering what the heck he has to do in the NFL, to get a little respect. In only his second year, here’s how his 2013 season panned out. Foles finished with 27 touchdown passes and only 2 interceptions, and a season leading 119.0 passer rating. Foles led the Eagles to their 1st playoff berth since 2010. Hosting the Saints, the Eagles lost by two points as the game ended at 26-24. Foles threw for 195 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no INTs, for a passer rating of 105 in his postseason debut. Evidently this is only impressing me. Philly traded QB Foles, a 2015 fourth-round pick and a 2016 second-round pick to the ST L Rams in exchange for QB Sam Bradford and a 2015 fifth-round pick. Philly also re-signed QB Mark Sanchez. Coach Chip Kelly said Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez are openly competing for the starting quarterback job, but the Eagles dealt Nick Foles and a second-round pick for Bradford and his $13 million salary, so Bradford is expected to start.
RBs– The Eagles are solid at the running back position for the 2015 NFL season, having one the best RBs in the NFL LeSean McCoy. Sorry, I mean, Buffalo is solid at the running back position, because HC Kelly traded McCoy in exchange for LB Kiko Alonso. (naturally, Alonso played his college football at Oregon) As of now, 5’6″ – 190 pound, 31-year-old Darren Sproles is listed as the starting running back. The Eagles also have RBs Matthew Tucker (an undrafted free agent) and Kenjon Barner (naturally, Barner played his college football at Oregon) on their roster, so perhaps HC Kelly thinks one of them can be a starter. UPDATE: The Eagles signed former RB Ryan Mathews and former RB DeMarco Murray.It will be a 3-headed monster in Philly with those two RBs and RB Darren Sproles. RB Murray is going very early in current mock drafts, but Utter-Fantasy has dropped his fantasy value and ranks him down to #17 RB confidently.
WRs– In early 2014, Chip Kelly released WR DeSean Jackson without any kind of compensation whatsoever. This year WR Jeremy Maclin is a free agent, and it doesn’t appear that the Eagles want to pony up and pay Maclin. If the Eagles lose Maclin…then Jordan Matthews, Riley Cooper, and Josh Huff would be left as their top three receivers. Matthews is a young star that was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Cooper is barely worth keeping, but cutting Riley Cooper would cost Philadelphia more, thanks to the ridiculous deal the Eagles gave the wide receiver last year. ($22.5M with $10M guaranteed) Josh Huff was drafted by the Eagles in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. (naturally, Huff played his college football at Oregon) Huff could and should replace Cooper as the #2 WR if Maclin flies off to another team, and Huff is a 2015 low-end sleeper either way. Update: Philly signed former Brown/Cowboy WR Miles Austin, but he has no fantasy value. UPDATE: The Eagles selected 6’0″ WR Nelson Agholor with their 1st pick in the 1st round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He will start immediately opposite 2nd year player Wr Jordan Matthews and Agholor is a nice sleeper candidate for 2015.
TEs– An increasing number of NFL offenses are learning to feature pass-catching tight ends in their offense, but even before Chip Kelly took over, the Eagles have always been a team that already did this. Philadelphia almost always has a tight end rank in the NFL top 15 and in 2014 it was TE Zack Ertz at #13. He totaled 703 yards and 3 TDs on the season. Ertz really showed it off how valuable he could be Week 11, hauling in 15 passes for 115 yards. Long-time Eagle TE Brent Celek came in at #35 with 340 yards and 1 TD. With the wide receiving corps going through a transformation, HC Kelly may rely on his athletic TEs even more in 2015. I have TE Ertz sneaking into my top 10 TEs rankings for the upcoming fantasy season.
K- Eagle’s place kicker Cody “Parker” Parkey was recently showcased in an Utter-Fantasy player profile. For an interesting, in-depth review of the kicker who’s cleats will soon be on their way to Canton, OH…see “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure“.
DEF– The Eagles defense took a step forward in 2014, under HC Chip Kelly and DC Bill Davis (former depressive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals.) Only the Houston T& Pittsburgh had more defensive TDs than Philadelphia did in 2014 (5 vs 4) and only Buffalo & Baltimore had more sacks. The Eagles special teams had a very special year as well, scoring twice as many kick off touchdowns than any other team in the NFL. (4) Fortunately, the Eagles don’t have big headache to face with core defensive players heading for free agency, like the New york Giants have for instance. UPDATE: Philly released CB Cary Williams.
2014 Philadelphia Fantasy Surprises– RB LeSean McCoy is one of the best receiving running backs in the NFL. With the quick hitting offense that Philly has, it makes sense that McCoy would have grown with the system and improved on his 2013 stats of 540 receiving yards and 2 TDs. Instead, McCoy had the first season since his rookie year, that he had no receiving TDs and less than 315 receiving yards (only 155 in 2014) If you read K Parkey’s player profile, you may have been surprised to see that he ranked as #2 place kicker in the NFL in 2014.
2015 Free Agents that Philadelphia Needs to Address– QB Mark Sanchez (re-signed)- WR Jeremy Maclin(signed w/ KC)- WR Brad Smith- TE James Casey (released)- OT Todd Herremans (released)- OLB Brandon Graham- LB Casey Matthews- CB Bradley Fletcher- CB Cary Williams- S Nate Allen.
2015 NFL Draft– The immediate needs of Philadelphia are at quarterback, wide receivers and need depth on their entire defense. The Eagles will have to pay a king’s ransom to move up and get Mariota (QB), if Maclin becomes a free agent for another team, the Eagles need help at wide receiver, especially with WR Cooper almost impossible to move (WRs) and Philadelphia has under-sized corners who have to clash with WRs in the division who are not under-sized (CB & S). UPDATE: Philapelphia’s entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- PHILADELPHIA’S DRAFT
Did You Know- In June of 2002, the Lincoln Financial Group paid a lump sum of $139.6 million to name the Eagle’s football stadium…the Lincoln Financial Field. In 8 years, the Group will need to write another big check, or let the city find another suitor. (I’m hoping for “Pat’s King of Steaks Field” as a name…original home of the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich.)
All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS
Team Home Page: www.philadelphiaeagles.com