The Philadelphia Eagles will win the NFC East in 2014.
I’ve no doubt about this. The way in which the Eagles grew as a team over the second half of the 2013 season proved to me that Head Coach Chip Kelly has this team on the right path.
The team went from being arguably the worst team in the NFC East to its best team in under a year, due to outstanding coaching, improved game management and a positive team spirit. These factors remain in place for 2014, with potential for improvement in most areas.
The Eagles have added youth and pace to their receiving corps, by drafting rookies Josh Huff and Jordan Matthews. They’ve added experience to their defense with the addition of safety Malcolm Jenkins. They are into the second year of Chip Kelly’s program and have been able to move at a faster tempo in practice as opposed to one year ago, allowing the coaches to get more reps under players’ belts and introduce more plays to the playbook.
Most importantly, however, the Eagles have a settled position at quarterback. One year ago, quarterbacks Michael Vick and Nick Foles were embroiled in a battle for the starting position. One year on and Michael Vick is now with the New York Jets and Nick Foles has the position secured, having been given a huge vote of confidence when Kelly and General Manager Howie Roseman chose to pass on the new Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Alongside the development of the Eagles, there are factors in the camps of all three opposing NFC East teams that may benefit the Eagles. The Washington Redskins have a new Head Coach in Jay Gruden and, it’s fair to say, not every rookie Head Coach has the same impact as Chip Kelly. Far more common is a year or two of bedding in, as the new man introduces his philosophy.
Over in New York, the Giants are trying to bed in a phenomenal number of new players. The roster churn for the Giants has been abnormally huge and Head Coach Tom Coughlin has a big job on his hand to introduce this number of new players.
Finally, the Dallas Cowboys are being the Dallas Cowboys. Head Coach Jason Garrett doesn’t exactly have the most secure grip on his job. The team are introducing their third defensive coordinator in recent years, after demoting Monte Kiffin who oversaw a dreadful Dallas defensive unit last year. They have also brought in “passing game coordinator” Scott Linehan, who will call plays. The confusion and diluted chain of command that this will no doubt bring, can only be in the Eagles’ favour.
Let’s hope that the Eagles will be sitting here as NFC East Champs come the end of the season.