There’s always next year. That has become a saying Eagles fans have repeated all too often over the last decade. There were a lot of changes this year, but we ended the same way. Telling ourselves that there’s always next year.
Despite some disappointment from the loss to the Saints, you can’t deny that this Eagles season was very positive overall. There were a lot of uncertainties as we entered 2013. There were questions about the coach, the quarterback, and the band of misfits on the defensive side of the ball.
We know a lot more now than we did before the season started. Although Michael Vick was the quarterback early, it was Nick Foles who really stole the show this year. He had very strong numbers as a starter when given the opportunity and even turned in a seven touchdown performance. There was uncertainty around the quarterback of the future for the Eagles, but it seems that now we know.
Although Foles isn’t the type of quarterback we envisioned for Chip Kelly’s offense, we saw that Chip was able to adapt to Foles’ skill set and have him execute one of the franchise’s top offensive units. There’s no doubt that Kelly is a great offensive mind and has the foundation on the offensive side of the ball to produce for a long time.
Kelly’s first season in the NFL has to be viewed as a great success. He tallied double digit wins, a division crown, and a trip to the playoffs. The playoff run didn’t last as long as any of us would have liked, but I don’t think it was a place many expected them to be. I know that I didn’t.
Kelly had his share of hiccups along the way. Some of his decision making throughout the season can definitely be questioned. However, for his first season in the NFL, I’m sure that he learned a lot. He had his skeptics as his methods are far what you can call traditional, but he made his mark on the league and turned some heads doing it. His ability to adjust during the game was a breath of fresh air after the Andy Reid era, and I think Eagles fans everywhere are excited to see how the future will unfold with Chip at the helm.
Defensively, it didn’t come as a big surprise that the Eagles ended the year giving up the most yards per game through the air. We all knew the secondary was an issue. They did not have the personnel in place for success and were a big target throughout the year. However, they were able to ride the coattails of a high powered offense and at least be serviceable.
Improvement of the defense will be the biggest priority in the offseason. The Eagles will need to look at the free agency market and have another impact draft to improve the unit. They won’t be able to turn into a top defense overnight, but with the high caliber offense they have, they don’t need to be an unstoppable force. At the same time, they need to get a lot better.
So the season is over. I’m sad that it ended the way that it did, but I’m very excited about the future. There’s no reason to think the Eagles won’t be a contender next year and for years to come.