Training Eagles To Fly In The NFL
By Bret Stuter
Aug 6, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly during NFL training camp at the NovaCare complex. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
So in the midst of free agency, and in the rush to assess mock draft candidates, the question had to form in your minds: Why am I writing about the Eagles training camp when we are only now shopping for the roster? Well simply phrased, the Philadelphia Eagles maximize training camp and therefore give virtually every member on the roster as much time as possible. From the first to the ninetieth player on that roster, all are competing among other players, but most of all, against themselves. Each day players are given opportunities to shine, ample numbers of drills in practice. After drills are filmed and studied, coaches can discuss performance, improvement, and talents of team members.
Which leads to the next part of my answer. Eagles players are in competition for a roster spot each year. Let’s restate that – unlike other teams where the top 45 starting players are known well before training camp starts, the Philadelphia Eagles have more competition for those roster sports. Recall the discontent in the media, the fans, and sports analysts when Chip Kelly continued to stress over and over that the team had not predestined a starting quarterback role before the season. Unconventional in its approach, both Vick and Foles had the opportunity to win the starting role by their production on the field.
However, the results? Nick Foles not only eventually won the starting role, but he went on to have one of the most lauded years of any Philadelphia Eagle quarterbacks.
In an announcement just before going to press, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed safety Nate Allen to a one-year “prove it” deal on Monday, March 17, 2014. This is a good signing, as now Allen can use the training of last year to add to this year’s safety group. Allen’s numbers in 2013 were much better than previous years. This gives the Eagles two safeties as hoped for, and that allows them to draft BPA this year.
So in the recent signings in free agency, and in the solid players who have been selected to fill the Eagles needs, there is that additional element. Players new to the team will be immersed in “KellyTech” rapidly, and the results should be just as dramatic as the first year. With the team signing free agents who have upside, and with six draft picks, the team will commit, convert, and compete for playing time in 2014. With a second wave of new talent, coupled with a second year of training camp, coaching, and maturity, the team is bound to be closer to its goal.
Some will take the team’s rapid success and expect nothing less than the NFC championship this year. And while anything is possible in the NFL, I would guess that the team is still two or three years away. But they are good, and they are getting better. Sports technology is rapidly advancing, and the draft offers a number of players who can make an immediate impact on the team.
Free Agency is well underway. The NFL season is still in the not-so-distant future. Now, sit back, have a smoothie, and relax. By summer, we will be reading how Chip Kelly and crew are training Eagles to fly in the NFL.