The Philadelphia Eagles lost a close game to the New Orleans Saints on Wildcard Weekend but not without a valiant effort. There is no such thing as a moral victory, right? The undertone of head coach Chip Kelly was utter positivity with a slight hint of disappointment after the loss. Quarterback Nick Foles expressed how proud he was in the development of the team as a whole this season.
In a press conference following the loss, head coach Chip Kelly explained that he was very proud of his team. Despite the crushing loss by a game-winning field goal there is much optimism for the 2014 season.
Chip Kelly isn’t just praising his team because it’s expected of him. He has a roster full of young budding talent. The same talent that was able to capture the NFC East title and push a Superbowl caliber quarterback to brink of elimination despite their playoff inexperience.
The Eagles have some major decisions to make with the wide receiving core this offseason. Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin are due for contractual negotiations. The re-signing of these players or the signing of new wide receiver talent is essential in aiding Foles’ development as a premiere quarterback.
LeSean McCoy is in the beginning of his contract extension and will continue to be the workhorse of the offense. The offensive line will need to do a better job keeping Foles upright as he was sacked 28 times in his 13 starts this year. Fortunately for Foles the offensive line is a unit that can improve significantly with consistent playing experience over time. As the five men up front get acclimated to each other’s and their quarterback’s playing habits it helps continuity and improves pass protection.
Defensive coordinator Bill Davis has a young speedy defense that was able to make critical stops when needed. They’re far from being labeled a shutdown defense but the unit has much improved from the last year with a revamped 3-4 defensive scheme. The young talented defense needs a bit more veteran leadership to assist veterans DeMeco Ryans and Trent Cole in leading this defense in situations of adversity.
Cornerbacks Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin all played solid this year. The addition of a consistent pass rush could increase the number of interception opportunities from a quarterback throwing under duress. Boykin was able to record six interceptions while Williams and Fletcher displayed sound tackling and coverage abilities.
Philly fans may have been disappointed by losing their third Wildcard Weekend appearance of late, but the outlook of the team’s direction is encouraging. The team is already in competition for NFC East titles after one losing season. They’re also a few off-season moves from possibly becoming a playoff powerhouse.