Are The Philadelphia Eagles Still A Contender?
Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Are The Philadelphia Eagles Still A Contender?
When the Philadelphia Eagles released wide receiver DeSean Jackson, it sent shock waves throughout the entire league. The NFL’s second rated offense lost one of the games most dynamic play-makers. Many fans and analysts had the Eagles penciled in already to win the NFC East division for the second consecutive year prior to the DeSean move. Now some of those same analysts have second guessed themselves and even have gone as far as to say the former 3-13 Washington Redskins will win the division. Is the situation in Philly really that bad? It’s not, and quite frankly the Eagles are still very much a contender, not only for the division but a Super Bowl as well.
Losing Jackson hurts but the Eagles are better off without him in the long run. According to “un-named sources” Jackson, was in fact your typical locker room cancer. Bad teammate, late or absent to meetings, selfish attitude, and even went as far as cussing out Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly multiple times. Antics like this only hurt a team, no matter the production on the field. The team doesn’t need to baby sit and take that kind of behavior. You want reliable, loyal and leadership qualities in your veterans. This builds team chemistry and shows the young players how to act and win the right way. Jackson’s defiant actions wont be missed. The Eagles can now move on with no worries of backlash from DeSean. This makes the team better whether the national media thinks so or not. Games aren’t just won on gameday, it starts in the locker room.
The media and fans included, thought losing Jackson was the end of the Eagles rein at the top of the division. When you finally get past the emotional side, you begin to realize that the Eagles are still loaded on offense. They have a top three offense still in the making even before the draft. With pieces likely to be added in the draft there should be no worry about a drop off in offensive efficiency. Where’s the production going to come from in the wake of DeSean’s void? Simple, everyone will have an increased role. Look for Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz to have a breakout year and other tight end James Casey to become the weapon Chip Kelly has in mind for him. It also doesn’t hurt to have the NFL’s best Offensive Line and Running Back. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is a star in the making and will be under center for years to come. So no need to panic, the Eagles will still leave defenses in the dust.
On the defensive side of the ball the team is still working on getting it right, but are light years ahead of where they were this time last year. With all the Jackson hoop-la, the team quietly added key pieces to bolster and add depth to a shaky yet improving defense. Birds safety Malcolm Jenkins was brought in to solidify a starting spot that has lacked talent since the departure of future Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins. The team also added depth at the corner position with the signing of Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll. The Eagles are now a more complete team on defense. Wasn’t that their Achilles heel last year? The Eagles are making the necessary steps to becoming closer to a perennial contender, yet the loss of ONE player crushes this teams hopes? No way.
The NFC East division has improved dramatically. The Redskins obviously signed DeSean Jackson but the bigger threat is a healthy quarterback Robert Griffin, III. Fans and analysts forget, this is a 3-13 team with Redskins new head coach Jay Gruden and has a lack of leadership in the locker room. Not to mention the fact that the Redskins were awful on defense and had no major injuries. The Redskins are far from a complete team and to think they can take the division at this point is wishful thinking. The New York Giants signed about half of this years free agent class, or so it seems. The fact is the Giants are unpredictable, they’ll win a Super Bowl but follow it up with a horrid season. The Giants are the Eagles toughest competition this upcoming season. The Dallas Cowboys arguably got worse this offseason. They lost their face of the franchise in DeMarcus Ware, due to contract issues. The Cowboys were cap strapped due to large contracts and couldn’t get the players they needed to change the teams outlook. Owner Jerry Jones has his word cut out for him. If the Cowboys don’t produce, we can see some big changes in big D. The Philadelphia Eagles are the most complete team in the division and have the brightest outlook in the future. Anything can happen, games are not won in the offseason, but having a good one can improve your team.
The Philadelphia Eagles had a successful 2013 season with Chip Kelly in year one. Year two should be no different and there’s some high expectations for this team. People can get lost in the DeSean Jackson drama, but the fact is the Eagles are still a great team that got even better this offseason. Chip Kelly and the Eagles front office have laid out the plan to push this team to a Super Bowl. The team is executing this plan and are making the right decisions. This coming season the Philadelphia Eagles are a contender, and will be, for years to come.