COMMENTARY | If nothing else, the Philadelphia Eagles of 2013 under new head coach Chip Kelly should bring back something that has been missing the last two seasons. Excitement.
Late in the 2011 season, the Philadelphia Eagles rolled off four straight wins to finish the year with an 8-8 record. It gave some hope that the 2012 season would be a much better year than the previous. It was not to be. The season turned into an injury filled nightmare, and Reid could not seem to get his team motivated after the tragic loss of his son.
On December 30, 2012 Jeffery Lurie told Andy Reid he was going in another direction, and the Andy Reid era as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles was over.
Andy Reid had a 140-102-1 career record and got the Eagles to the Super Bowl. He made the Eagles relevant almost every year, and had only two losing seasons his entire career with the team. Other NFL teams would kill for that success, but the Eagles fan base requires much more. To use the old cliché, they need to be the bride, and not the bridesmaid for once.
When your team has gone to 5 NFC championship games and come home each time without the Lombardi, those wins eventually become irrelevant. Sure it was great while the team was winning, but to be truly satisfied you must reach the mountain top. After all, James Whittaker did not climb Mount Everest to reach just below the summit; he climbed to reach the top.
So how will this year's team be any different than the team Andy Reid fielded last year?
A healthy team -- People will make it a point to tell you how terrible the Eagles were last year, but they forget how much this team was plagued with injuries. When you lose guard Todd Herremans, left tackle Jason Peters, center Jason Kelce and right guard Danny Watkins, leaving only guard Evan Mathis as your lone offensive line starter, bad things are bound to happen. Add in concussions to Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy, a hamstring injury for Jason Avant, and you have a recipe for disaster. This year the Eagles start the year healthy, with only offensive tackle Dennis Kelly and defensive back Brandon Hughes (now released) on the injury report.
A fresh start -- On August 5, 2012, Garrett Reid, the oldest son of coach Andy Reid was found dead in his room at training camp at Lehigh University. It was a sudden and tragic event that put an end to a promising beginning of training camp. For Andy Reid it must have been an unimaginable loss. For those on the team, it was the pain of losing a friend, and watching their coach suffer the pain of losing a son. It is hard for us to imagine the adverse effect that an event like that may have had on this team, but with the new season comes a sense of fresh start and a time to move forward from that painful loss.
A new coach -- It is no secret that Andy Reid's offense struggled in the red zone. This is why Jeffrey Lurie went out and hired the architect of one of college football's most prolific offenses in Chip Kelley. No one will know until Monday night exactly what Chip Kelly's NFL offense will look like, but if his offensive mind is as good as it was with Oregon, look out. In chip Kelly's first year as the Ducks offensive coordinator, he was dominant. His Oregon Ducks led the Pac-10 in scoring with 38.15 points per game average. They also led in total offense with an average of 467.54 yards per game. But most importantly to the Eagles, may be the fact that Kelly took Dennis Dixon from an average quarterback to a Heisman Trophy candidate, and the Pac-10 player of the year. If he can help Michael Vick turn the corner on his game, the Philadelphia Eagles might just put together a good season this year.
There are still a lot of unknowns with this Philadelphia Eagles squad. No one knows how good or bad Billy Davis' defense is going to play, or how innovative and successful Chip Kelly's offense will be. But even with all of the unknowns, this Philadelphia Eagles team will be entertaining to watch.
Jesse Dinkel has been following the Philadelphia Eagles since 1976. Jesse has been published on Yahoo Voices as well as multiple newspapers and blogs.
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