Aug 8, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly looks on prior to a preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
What a season so far for the defending NFC East Champions Philadelphia Eagles.
After four games, the Eagles sit joint top of the NFC East with a 3-1 record. Prior to the season, most fans would have been happy with that record.
However, in reality it has been a very mixed bag for the Eagles. They dug themselves out of a big hole against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts, before overpowering the Washington Redskins. The Eagles finally lost a rough game against the San Francisco 49ers, in which the Eagles vaulted offense managed a grand total of zero points.
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It has been a very mixed bag for the Eagles so far. A good record, with a seemingly impressive road win against the Colts, are reasons to be positive. Yet the Eagles are yet to play at their best for 60 minutes. Let’s take a look at the season so far in more a little detail.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ special teams unit have been great. They’ve provided solid field position, forced a blocked punt, returned punts and kick-offs for touchdowns. So far, these guys have been the shining light for the Eagles team through three games.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins has been the player that we hoped he would be. His best performance so far came on Sunday, where he returned an interception 53-yards for a score against the San Francisco 49ers. The former New Orleans Saint is providing a solid final line of defense for the Birds.
Darren Sproles. What a revelation the former Saint has been. I had high hopes for Sproles when he joined, but he has exceeded every expectation by returning a punt for a touchdown and breaking many big runs.
Penalties. The Eagles keep giving away needless penalties. Cary Williams’ awful hold ruled out a third down stop against the 49ers, that helped turn the momentum of the game away from the Eagles. Special teams have given up needless penalties, for things like blocks in the back. In the NFL, the Eagles can’t afford to give their opponents free yardage.
Riley Cooper. Vaunted as one of the Eagles top two receivers, Cooper is making his stand out 2013 season look more like a flash in the pan. Cooper is yet to really break a play, in the way that he often did last season and is fast becoming a forgotten man in the Eagles system.
The offensive line. Decimated by injuries and suspension, the Eagles offensive line is far removed from its stability and performance of last season. Losing Evan Mathis, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson has been a huge, unforeseen blow. No one could have seen that many injuries coming and as a result the Eagles have been caught on the hop. Having to rely on David Molk and Wade Smith in the offensive line is not what we expected. The injuries have also had an impact on other players. Tackle Jason Peters is being called for more penalties as he feels the pressure and running back LeSean McCoy cannot get a running lane.
The Eagles need consistency to move forward, in every department. Here’s hoping that the Birds can find their rhythm sooner rather than later.