“Counterparts to be counted on” is a 32-part series where we the “Front Office” of www.couchpotatogm.com analyze one offensive player and one defensive player (or coaches) on each team that MUST have a particularly strong individual season in 2016 for their respective teams to have a successful 2016 campaign. The 2015 Philadelphia Eagles were a sideshow last season. Can a new regime and a new quarterback change the franchise’s fortunes in 2016?
After a three-year stent in Philly Chip Kelly was fired. A man who came with ideas, philosophies, and a personality that rubbed players the wrong way. After ridding the roster of most of its talent, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson amongst others. After attempting to trade for the second pick in the 2015 draft (allegedly) to draft Marcus Mariota, and bringing in other unproven or injury prone players because they are your guys whether it was via trade or FA signings. It felt at times Kelly was playing Madden. It got you to two 10-6 seasons in a row in which one of those was a wild card appearance but then a 7-9 record where he was fired with just a game to go. With a mess of the cap and players not knowing if they are going left or right the Eagles look for continuity and stability.
Philadelphia Eagles “Counterparts to be Counted On” 2016
Doug Pederson – THE CHIP KELLY ERA IS OVER!!!! Enter in Doug Pederson the former OC for the Kansas City Chiefs for the past 3 seasons. He helped take a 2 – 14 team (2012) to 11- 5 the following season. Kansas City went from dead last in points scored in 2012 to sixth in 2013, sixteenth in 2014, and ninth in 2015. They made the playoffs in two of the three seasons. My thoughts are Pederson will bring that Andy Reid, west coast mid range offense to Philly. Personally, I am not impressed or jump for joy when I think of that offense, its almost as bad as old school football. But Pederson comes from a winning culture and knows what “it” looks like. Hearing the Philly players this off-season it seems as though it is night and day from this year to last. Leadership and a bit of pedigree will do that. When I think about the Eagles on the offensive side of the ball no big time names come to me right away. I really have to put some thought on it every time. Ryan Matthews, injury prone; Jordan Mathews, drops too many balls; Zach Ertz, has yet reach his true potential. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Andy Reid often didn’t have household names on offense while coaching the Eagles years ago (outside of McNabb, Westbrook, Owens). It’s about the system. Pederson has coached in the system since 2009. Without that true star power on offense and glass jaw Sam Bradford, well paid Chase Daniels, and the rookie Carson Wentz I am choosing the guy who’s running the offense in Doug Pederson as the counterpart for the Eagles to take that next step.
Jim Schwartz – You’re thinking damn, does he think the Eagles don’t have star power on defense too? You couldn’t be further from the truth. I chose Schwartz because of what he can do for a defense and the amount of talent that is on on the Eagles defense. The sky is the limit. Just have to put it all together. What Schwartz will bring is an attack style defense that will produce sacks. In his many years as DC for a few different teams he’s coached there were multiple 30 to 40 sack seasons. The 4-3 front is on its way back to Philly and the talented and well paid Fletcher Cox, who was playing the five technique last year and playing out of position was still able to produce 9.5 sacks, but now will be playing his natural position as a three technique. Double digit sacks anyone? In this scheme linebackers seem to become tacking machines and make plays. DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch, do those names sound familiar? Jordan Hicks seems to be picking up the defense pretty well and may be the leading tackler for the team. Last year he played in eight games and recorded 50 tackles, that’s 100 if he plays all season. Also, after he got hurt the Eagles defense went from allowing 19.0 points a game to 33.0. With that said I’m not sure the Eagles ever fully converted over to the 3-4 front from the proper personal stand point. What I do know is there are pieces for Schwartz to run his even man front, wide nine scheme and to run it properly. The only question I have is in the secondary where there is a healthy mix of youth and experience that will inevitably lean on that front four. I see a vast improvement just from osmosis of better coaching and a proven scheme. Again another guy who knows what it looks like.