2013 NFL Offseason: Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles (Last Year: 4-12)

2013 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
QB Dennis Dixon, RB Felix Jones, WR Arrelious Benn, WR Ifeanyi Momah, TE James Casey, DE/DT Clifton Geathers, NT Isaac Sopoaga, DE/OLB Connor Barwin, DE/OLB Emmanuel Acho, ILB Jason Phillips, CB Bradley Fletcher, CB Cary Williams, S Kenny Phillips, S Patrick Chung, P Donnie Jones.
Early Draft Picks:
OT Lane Johnson, TE Zach Ertz, DT Bennie Logan, QB Matt Barkley, S Earl Wolff. Eagles Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
QB Trent Edwards, RB Dion Lewis, FB Stanley Havili, TE Evan Moore, OT King Dunlap, OT Demetress Bell, G Jake Scott, DE Darryl Tapp, DT Cullen Jenkins, DT Mike Patterson, DT Derek Landri, LB Akeem Jordan, CB Nnamdi Asomugha, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, P Mat McBriar.

2013 Philadelphia Eagles Offense:
The Eagles are a complete mystery. No one knows who the starting quarterback is going to be, or even what sort of offense they are going to run. The one thing that is known is that Chip Kelly is installing a very up-tempo style of attack. Philadelphia has actually spent an obscene amount of money on stereo equipment this offseason and is blasting fast music very loudly to help the offense move quicker in practice.

But will this offense be spread-option or a West Coast scheme? It might depend on who wins the starting job. The incumbent, aging, mobile quarterback is considered the favorite in some circles, but he’s a turnover machine. He claims that Kelly has helped him with his fumbling issue, but that seems like another dynasty-type arrogant statement. Meanwhile, Nick Foles has looked like the better signal-caller in practice. He has a limited arm, so he would be better in a West Coast attack, though he is lead-footed and not particularly suited for a hurry-up type of offense. Still, he might have the real edge in this competition. Matt Barkley is the other contender, but he was just a fourth-round pick who has similar limitations as Foles.

Kelly loves using multiple-tight end sets, which would explain why he signed James Casey on March 12 and then followed that up with a second-round pick used on Stanford’s Zach Ertz. They’ll be on the field together quite frequently, as Kelly will attempt to create mismatches.

Some are expecting big things out of DeSean Jackson this year, as he was projected to have a De’Anthony Thomas-type role when Kelly was first hired. Jackson was later temporarily demoted to the second- and third-team offense because Kelly told him that he had to learn every position in the offense. This sounds great, but relying on Jackson can be quite disastrous. He is way too scared to take hits over the middle of the field, and he has a tendency to quit on the team when things are going poorly. And speaking of unreliable wideouts, Jeremy Maclin always seems to be nursing some sort of injury. He has yet to hit 1,000 yards in what has been a slightly disappointing career thus far.

Whether the Eagles use the spread option or the West Coast offense, they’re expected to run the ball early and often, which is something that Oregon did under Kelly. It’ll be a welcome change from Andy Reid, who was constantly criticized for not running enough. LeSean McCoy has to be happy about this news; he’s two years removed from a 1,309-yard, 20-touchdown campaign in which he carried the ball just 273 times. He was a major disappointment last year, gaining 840 yards and scoring just five times, thanks in part to a concussion that knocked him out for four games. Felix Jones and the mercurial Bryce Brown will compete to be McCoy’s backup.

Outside of finding a quarterback, the one thing the Eagles had to do this offseason was fix the offensive line. They spent the fourth-overall selection on Lane Johnson, who’s athletic, but also very raw. Johnson is expected to start at right tackle, which allowed Todd Herremans to move to a more natural right guard spot. Herremans will start on the interior along with Evan Mathis, arguably the top guard in the NFL, and center Jason Kelce, who was missed in the 14 games he was absent with a knee injury.

The greatest concern up front is now at left tackle. Jason Peters, once considered one of the premier blind-side protectors in the league, tore his Achilles twice last year. It’s hard enough for a small player to return from such a devastating injury, but it’s another for a 31-year-old who weighs 340 pounds. Peters said that he’ll retire if he doesn’t return to true form. The Eagles will be hoping he doesn’t keep his word because Johnson would have to move over to left tackle prematurely, leaving a hole once again on the right side.

2013 Philadelphia Eagles Defense:
No one knows what the mysterious Eagles’ defense will look like either. It appears as though they will be running some sort of variation of a 3-4 scheme, but whether that will be a pure 3-4 or a 4-3 Under look that the Cardinals used to run under current defensive coordinator Billy Davis is unknown. Based on the team’s current personnel, the latter makes much more sense.

It’s all guesswork in terms of who’s going to play where, but it’s clear that newly signed Isaac Sopoaga will be the nose tackle. Sopoaga, formerly of the 49ers, struggled immensely in 2012, holding up very poorly in run support. Perhaps he can rebound, but he’ll be 32 the day before the season opener, so his best play is clearly behind him. The Eagles overpaid by giving him $5 million guaranteed on a 3-year deal. Meanwhile, 2012 first-rounder Fletcher Cox will almost certainly be the five-technique. He has the size for it, so he’ll be a stud there if he performs like he did last season. He registered 5.5 sacks as a rookie, which is a good number for an interior lineman.

It gets a bit more complicated after that. A traditional 3-4 would feature Cedric Thornton or Clifton Geathers as the other five-technique, but the 4-3 Under requires a classic, pass-rushing defensive tackle. That could be third-round pick Bennie Logan out of LSU. He’ll be complemented by a defensive end – probably Brandon Graham, who was terrific last season after the team fired line coach Jim Washburn. Finally living up to his first-round billing, Graham registered four sacks in his final five contests.

Former Texan Connor Barwin, also signed in the middle of March, would be the other rush linebacker in a 3-4 or perhaps the “Predator” strongside linebacker in the 4-3 Under. The “Predator” is asked to both rush the passer and cover tight ends. Barwin did the latter well last year, but notched only three sacks. General manager Howie Roseman said that Barwin’s sack number plummeted from an 11.5 figure in 2011 because of how he was used in Houston’s defense. Meanwhile, it’s unclear what sort of role Trent Cole will have if he doesn’t beat out Graham for the starting rush linebacker or defensive end job. It’s always troubling when a new coach installs a defense that doesn’t fit some of his most talented players.

Rounding out the front seven, DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks will be the two primary, non-pass-rushing linebackers. Ryans would love to play in the 4-3 Under because he performed poorly in the 3-4 while he was in Houston. Kendricks, meanwhile, started his rookie campaign very nicely last year, but struggled terribly at the end of the season. He’s pretty talented, so he should be able to rebound.

The Eagles will have four new starters in their secondary, which is not a good thing because the defensive backs will have to learn how to play together. At corner, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have been replaced by former Raven Cary Williams and ex-Ram Bradley Fletcher. Williams is not off to a good start with the team, as he has missed practice for various stupid reasons (like having to be there when his house is getting renovated). Fletcher is a nice player, but has missed 21 games in his 4-year career. Neither Williams nor Fletcher is a legitimate No. 1 corner, but they can be a decent tandem as long as Williams starts trying.

At safety, Philadelphia will be going with Kenny Phillips, formerly of the Giants, and Patrick Chung, who was with the Patriots throughout his career. Phillips is the most talented defensive back on the Eagles’ roster, but he’s even more injury-prone than Fletcher; he’s been out for 24 contests in the past four seasons. Chung, who is also constantly banged up, hasn’t played well of late because of various injuries. The Eagles used a fifth-round pick on Earl Wolff, but he isn’t very bright. One AFC team took him completely off their board prior to the 2013 NFL Draft because he couldn’t even tell him what sort of schemes he ran at N.C. State.

2013 Philadelphia Eagles Schedule and Intangibles:
Philadelphia has an awful homefield advantage. The team hasn’t put together a winning record at the Linc in the past three seasons, owning a 9-16 record in that span. Oddly enough, the Eagles were 13-11 as visitors in that time frame.

The Eagles were outgained on punt and kickoff returns last year, though Damaris Johnson scored once. The opposition found the end zone on one occasion as well.

Andy Reid really made himself look bad by blaming David Akers for a playoff loss to the Packers in January 2011. He made amends for it by drafting Alex Henery, who drilled 27-of-31 attempts last year.

Philadelphia had to improve its punting situation, so it signed Donnie Jones away from the Texans. Jones ranked 13th in both net average and attempts placed inside the 20 last year.

The Eagles have a pretty easy schedule. They have five battles against teams that made the playoffs last year, but three of those (Redskins twice, Vikings) feature teams that could regress this season (Green Bay and Denver being the other two). Philadelphia also gets to play the likes of San Diego, Oakland, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Arizona and Detroit.

2013 Philadelphia Eagles Rookies:
Go here for the Eagles Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2013 Philadelphia Eagles Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2013 Philadelphia Eagles Analysis: The Eagles have more questions than any other team in the league. Who will be the starting quarterback? What type of offense will Chip Kelly run? Will Kelly’s new gimmicks even work in the NFL? What sort of defense will they play? Can all of the new starters in the secondary gel quickly together? Philadelphia will probably be better than it was last year, but the team figures to endure a ton of growing pains in 2013.

Projection: 5-11 (4th in NFC East)

2013 Fantasy Football Rankings

More 2013 NFL Season Previews


2013 NFL Draft Grade: B

Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.

Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Eagles spent a ton of money on their defense this offseason. It’s now time to address the offense. Philadelphia has no long-term quarterback on the roster (Nick Foles is an awful fit for Chip Kelly’s offense) and the right tackle position needs to be addressed so that Todd Herremans can move back inside to his natural guard position. A receiver must also be added, given that both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are both overrated and unreliable.

2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Chip Kelly hasn’t been transparent at all this offseason. He’s kept his mouth closed about which offensive and defensive schemes he plans on running. This secrecy is pretty arrogant and unnecessary, but we may finally have our answer. Well, at least half of it.

Bennie Logan is a poor fit for a pure 3-4, so the Eagles might be moving to a 4-3 Under look. Logan would be a solid fit as the three-technique in that formation. Fletcher Cox would play the five, with Isaac Sopoaga manning the nose. That’s not bad. The offensive system, however, still remains a mystery. Matt Barkley would have been a poor fit in Chip Kelly’s offense back in Oregon, so if the Eagles plan on starting him in the near future, they need to feature more of a West Coast look. Having said that, I’m not sure Barkley is in the Eagles’ long-term plans. Had they viewed him as an eventual starter, they would have selected him in the second or third round. The fourth round is designated for backups (see Kirk Cousins), so the offense that Kelly plans on using is still up in the air, as far as I’m concerned.

As for the other picks, Lane Johnson was a reach at No. 4. He has great potential, but is way too raw to take that early. Zach Ertz provided much more value in the second round. My favorite selection was in the seventh with Jordan Poyer. He has second-round talent, but fell because of speed concerns.

Overall, the Eagles had a solid draft. They made some improvements on their roster, but there are still plenty of holes and no long-term solution at quarterback.

2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:

4. Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: C Grade
This is a great scheme fit for the Eagles. Lane Johnson is the most athletic tackle in this draft, so he’ll fit in well in Chip Kelly’s high-tempo offense. However, Johnson is incredibly raw; he has just one year of left tackle experience and just two seasons of tackle experience period. He was considered a fringe first-round prospect a few months ago for a reason. However, there’s no denying his upside, and he could eventually replace Jason Peters at left tackle.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

35. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford: B+ Grade
Chip Kelly loves his tight ends. He signed James Casey, but he needed another one because Brent Celek has been a huge disappointment recently. Zach Ertz is the top tight end available by far and No. 35 is the right range for him. Like the Jaguars though, you have to wonder what Philadelphia plans to do at quarterback.

67. Bennie Logan, DT, LSU: B- Grade
I guess the Eagles will be running a 4-3 Under scheme because Bennie Logan is an awful fit in the 3-4. Logan is very talented, but he hasn’t lived up to his potential. If Philadelphia can get him to play to his ability, he’ll form quite an interior pass-rushing tandem with Fletcher Cox.

98. Matt Barkley, QB, USC: C- Grade
This makes very little sense. Matt Barkley does not fit Chip Kelly’s offense at all. In fact, he’s a lot like Nick Foles, so I don’t understand why the Eagles would make this selection. It appears as though the Eagles will utilize the West Coast offense under Kelly, so why even bring Kelly in as your head coach? I like the value with Barkley, but this pick is pretty illogical.

136. Earl Wolff, S, N.C. State: B- Grade
I didn’t want to mention to this before the draft because I didn’t want to ruin his draft stock, but I know that one team took Earl Wolff off their board because they deemed him “too stupid,” that he didn’t even know what schemes his college team ran. There’s no questioning his talent level though. From a pure skill perspective, he probably should have been a second-round pick.

212. Joe Kruger, DE/DT, Utah: B Grade
This pick makes a ton of sense. Joe Kruger fits the draft range in the seventh round and fills a need for defensive line depth. Chip Kelly is familiar with Kruger, having coached against him in the Pac-12.

218. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State: A+ Grade
Save for Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson, Jordan Poyer could easily be the best player that the Eagles drafted. He should have been a second-round pick, but fell because of speed concerns. Going against him in the Pac-12, Chip Kelly knows how skilled Poyer is.

239. David King, DE, Oklahoma: C+ Grade
I didn’t have David King as a draftable prospect, but we’re now in the compensatory picks of the seventh round, so that doesn’t matter. King is a good fit in the 3-4 as a five-technique, much like Joe Kruger.

Season Summary:
It’s the end of an era. Andy Reid is finally gone, so Eagles’ fans can stop complaining about terrible play-calling, poor clock management and ridiculously boring press conferences. Nick Foles showed promise down the stretch, so Philadelphia would be best served bringing in a coach and personnel to help develop the young quarterback.

Offseason Moves:
  • Lions sign G Jake Scott
  • Eagles sign RB Felix Jones
  • Eagles cut TE Evan Moore
  • Eagles cut QB Trent Edwards
  • Chiefs sign LB Akeem Jordan
  • Eagles acquire DE/OLB Emmanuel Acho from Browns for RB Dion Lewis
  • Giants sign DT Mike Patterson
  • 49ers sign CB Nnamdi Asomugha
  • Buccaneers sign DT Derek Landri
  • Eagles sign WR Ifeanyi Momah
  • Redskins sign DE Darryl Tapp
  • Colts acquire FB Stanley Havili from Eagles for DE Clifton Geathers
  • Eagles sign P Donnie Jones
  • Eagles cut P Mat McBriar
  • Eagles acquire WR Arrelious Benn and 2013 7th-rounder from Buccaneers for 2013 6th-rounder and conditional 2014 pick
  • Eagles sign DE/OLB Connor Barwin
  • Eagles sign S Kenny Phillips
  • Eagles sign CB Cary Williams
  • Eagles sign TE/FB James Casey
  • Eagles sign S Patrick Chung
  • Eagles sign CB Bradley Fletcher
  • Eagles sign NT Isaac Sopoaga
  • Eagles sign ILB Jason Phillips
  • Chargers sign OT King Dunlap
  • Giants sign DT Cullen Jenkins
  • Eagles cut CB Nnamdi Asomugha
  • Eagles cut DE/DT Cullen Jenkins
  • Eagles cut DT Mike Patterson
  • Eagles sign OT Ed Wang
  • Eagles sign QB Dennis Dixon
  • Eagles hire DC Billy Davis
  • Eagles cut OT Demetress Bell
  • Eagles hire HC Chip Kelly

    Team Needs:
    1. Quarterback: Chip Kelly has decided to keep QB Eagles No. 7, which means that quarterback is the team’s No. 1 need. Look for a second-day selection to be used on a signal-caller. Signed Dennis Dixon; drafted Matt Barkley

    2. Two Cornerbacks: Remember how great Philadelphia’s cornerbacks were considered after the team signed Nnamdi Asomugha and traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie? Well, Asomugha was released because he was so brutal in 2012, while DRC, an impending free agent, lived up to his nickname, “Doesn’t Really Care.” The front office will have to obtain two new cornerbacks. Signed Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher

    3. Defensive End: Cullen Jenkins was released, so the Eagles will have to find a new 3-4 end. Sharrif Floyd make senses at No. 4. Traded for Clifton Geathers

    4. Nose Tackle: The Eagles are moving to the 3-4, but they have no nose tackle. Jesse Williams would be a good fit atop Round 2. Signed Isaac Sopoaga; drafted Bennie Logan

    5. Right Tackle: The Eagles had major issues on their offensive line. The return of Jason Peters would fix things on one side, provided he’s close to 100 percent coming off an Achilles tear. Repairing the right side of the line could be solved by drafting Luke Joeckel No. 4 overall, which would allow Todd Herrmans to move to a more natural guard position. Drafted Lane Johnson

    6. Safety: Two safeties might be needed, but Colt Anderson was serviceable down the stretch, so Philadelphia might be able to get away with him as one of the starters. Nate Allen, however, was horrific this past year. Signed Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung; drafted Earl Wolff

    7. Rush Linebacker: Does Trent Cole make sense for the 3-4? If not, Philadelphia will have to find someone who does. Dion Jordan would fit if the Eagles utilize the 4-3 Under scheme. Signed Connor Barwin; traded for Emmanuel Acho

    8. Inside Linebacker: The Eagles should find some help in the linebacking corps of their new 3-4. Signed Jason Phillips

    9. Center: The Eagles had no answer at center when Jason Kelce was lost for the season with multiple torn knee ligaments. There’s no guarantee that Kelce will be at full strength next year, so adding a veteran backup would be a good idea.

    10. Tight End: Brent Celek had trouble with drops and separation this past season. He has regressed. Drafted James Casey; signed James Casey

    11. Wide Receiver: Both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin always seem to be injured. Some depth could be added. Traded for Arrelious Benn; signed Ifeanyi Momah

    12. Punter: Mat McBriar ranked dead last among starters in net punting. Signed Donnie Jones

    2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Kenny Phillips, S, Giants. Age: 26.
      Signed with Eagles

      Kenny Phillips is one of the better safeties when healthy, but he missed most of 2012 with a knee injury.

    2. Connor Barwin, DE/OLB, Texans. Age: 26.
      Signed with Eagles

      Connor Barwin is coming off a very disappointing 2012 campaign. After registering 11.5 sacks in 2011, he managed just three this past season. He’s talented, so there’s a good chance this was just a fluky year.

    3. Donnie Jones, P, Texans. Age: 33.
      Signed with Eagles

      Donnie Jones ranked 13th in net punting during the regular season.

    4. Cary Williams, CB, Ravens. Age: 28.
      Signed with Eagles

      Cary Williams had some rough outings in 2012, but mostly played solidly at corner for the Ravens, holding down the fort after Lardarius Webb was lost for the year.

    5. Patrick Chung, S, Patriots. Age: 26.
      Signed with Eagles (3 years)

      Patrick Chung missed several weeks in 2012 with multiple injuries, but he performed well when he was healthy, particularly in run support.

    6. James Casey, FB/TE, Texans. Age: 28.
      Signed with Eagles

      James Casey was a pretty pedestrian lead blocker for Arian Foster this season, but he served as an effective pass-catcher, logging 34 receptions for 330 yards.

    7. Isaac Sopoaga, NT, 49ers. Age: 31. — Signed with Eagles
    8. Bradley Fletcher, CB, Rams. Age: 27. — Signed with Eagles
    9. Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys. Age: 26. — Signed with Eagles
    10. Dennis Dixon, QB, Ravens. Age: 28. — Signed with Eagles (2 years)
    11. Jason Phillips (RFA), OLB, Panthers. Age: 27. — Signed with Eagles (2 years)

    Philadelphia Eagles Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Eagles. Age: 27.
      Signed with Broncos (1 year)

      DRC stands for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. It can also be short for “doesn’t really care.” Rodgers-Cromartie is a very talented cornerback, but he’s not all there mentally. He’s still young, so maybe he’ll get it together, but teams pursuing him this offseason should be careful.

    2. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Eagles. Age: 32.
      Signed with 49ers (1 year)

      Aside from perhaps Darrelle Revis, Nnamdi Asomugha was viewed as the league’s best cornerback when he signed a 5-year, $60 million contract right after the lockout. He was just mediocre in 2011 and then downright awful this past season, so it was a no-brainer that Philadelphia cut him, given that he was owed $15 million in 2013. Ranking Asomugha is a bit of a challenge because there’s always a chance he could improve elsewhere. He won’t be in Raider form, but perhaps he can become a decent starter again. On the flip side, there have been reports that Asomugha lost his passion for the game. He’ll be 32 in July, so there’s a good chance we’ll never see the pre-Eagle Asomugha again.

    3. Cullen Jenkins, DE/DT, Eagles. Age: 32.
      Signed with Giants (3 years, $8 million)

      Cullen Jenkins just turned 32, but he did a good job of being an interior pass-rusher this past season. He struggled a bit in run support though.

    4. Colt Anderson (RFA), S, Eagles. Age: 27.
      Colt Anderson is not very physically gifted, but he’s an instinctive safety who performed well for the Eagles down the stretch. He’s also great on special teams.

    5. Derek Landri, DT, Eagles. Age: 29.
      Signed with Buccaneers (2 years, $3.25 million)

      Derek Landri is a solid rotational defensive tackle who can put pressure on the quarterback occasionally.

    6. Demetress Bell, OT, Eagles. Age: 29.
      Demetress Bell struggled in Howard Mudd’s system, so maybe he can rebound elsewhere. Still, he’s a big injury risk, as he’s endured knee problems throughout his career.

    7. King Dunlap, OT, Eagles. Age: 27. — Signed with Chargers
    8. Mike Patterson, DT, Eagles. Age: 30. — Signed with Giants
    9. Akeem Jordan, OLB, Eagles. Age: 27. — Signed with Chiefs
    10. Jake Scott, G, Eagles. Age: 32. — Signed with Lions
    11. Darryl Tapp, DE, Eagles. Age: 28. — Signed with Redskins
    12. Evan Moore, TE, Eagles. Age: 28.
    13. Trent Edwards, QB, Eagles. Age: 29.
    14. Mat McBriar, P, Eagles. Age: 34.

    2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades

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