Don’t expect Philadelphia Eagles to contend immediately in 2016

Jan 19, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles new head coach Doug Pederson is introduced to the media at the NovaCare Complex . Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 19, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles new head coach Doug Pederson is introduced to the media at the NovaCare Complex . Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Eagles will not be contenders in 2016… immediately.

It’s a historic time for the Philadelphia Eagles. The team is overcoming the turbulent reign of Chip Kelly and has seemingly found its quarterback of the future in North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. This is a major transition period in Eagles history. “Transition” being the key word.

The Eagles have set themselves up for future success, but good things take time and a Super Bowl title in Philadelphia is no exception. There are a lot of changes that need to play out before the Eagles can officially be dubbed contenders.

While the Eagles have ridded themselves of the polarizing Chip Kelly, they replace him with Doug Pederson, a first-year head coach with only seven years of coaching experience at the NFL level who was not even the team’s first choice to take over for Kelly as head honcho. The Eagles’ brass will call Pederson “their guy” until the cows come home, but it’s more than evident that they had to settle for him.

However, this does not mean Pederson can’t be a great coach for the Eagles. He’s spent every year of his professional coaching career under the watch of former Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid, who knows a thing or two about winning games (172-121-1 all-time coaching record). Pederson has the potential to be the next great coach in Eagles history. He’s a player’s coach and knows the ins and outs of an NFL locker room.

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That said, Pederson won’t come in and immediately win 12 games. The team will likely be in flux for an extended amount of time in his first year as head coach, barring an unforeseen turn of events.

With a new coach comes a new quarterback. Carson Wentz is the guy the Eagles wanted in the 2016 NFL draft and they got him. Wentz could very well end up being the Eagles’ quarterback for the next decade, but the commencement of his reign will be on delay until further notice.

This team belongs to Sam Bradford, apparently.

After demanding a trade to avoid having to compete for the Eagles’ starting job, Bradford returned to the Eagles as the undisputed starting quarterback for the 2016 season. For right now, Bradford is the guy, but Wentz is already impressing his teammates and coaches. The Eagles can deny it all they want, but if Wentz impresses enough this summer, it may be a little naive to think they wouldn’t give him the opportunity to start over Bradford.

On top of the quarterback drama and the head coaching change, let’s not forget about the Eagles’ new-look defense. Gone is the 3-4 base defense as the 4-3 front makes a welcomed return to Philadelphia thanks to Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz, formerly the head coach of the Detroit Lions.

Many of the Eagles’ defensive players are a better fit in a 4-3 defense, but let’s not assume that the transition will be a totally clean one. There will be lapses and there will be hiccups for the Eagles’ new defense as well as for Pederson and the team’s oscillating quarterback situation.

The Eagles are moving in the right direction. For the first time in years, they have a franchise quarterback. He may not be playing right out of the gate, but he’s on the roster. They have a coach who will be better suited to connect with the players and they’re running a defense that fits their players’ skill sets. These are all major pieces to building a contending team, but it will take time for all of these things to come into fruition.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was a contending football team.