An end to a very successful era The Philadelphia Eagles have made the change. The cornerstone of the franchise for years, Andy Reid, was relieved of his duties as head coach after one failure too many. Chip Kelly, the innovative former Oregon head coach, responsible for one of the most high-octane offenses in the history of college football, has been given the task of turning this football team into contenders again. To say he has his work cut out would be an understatement. This season was one of the most disappointing in recent memory for the Eagles. With stars covering their roster and the fans demanding the playoffs, the pressure was on from the outset. Things started well enough, the Eagles had a 3-2 record after 5 weeks. They were demonstrating the high-powered offense most expected at the start of the season. Even without the presence of Left Tackle Jason Peters, who was ruled out for the season with an achilies injury, they were still producing solid performances. Victories over the Superbowl-bound Baltimore Ravens and current Champions The New York Giants stood out, and would eventually be the season highlight. Then, the wheels came off. 8 defeats in a row had the Playoffs an impossible dream. A concussion had Michael Vick on the sidelines again, his offensive line giving up more sacks a game than 90 percent of the teams in the NFL. They were out of sync on both offense and defense, replacing their defensive co-ordinator halfway through the season couldn't have helped. They only gained one more win and finished the season at 4-12. A catastrophe when you consider the expectations the fans had at the start of the year. The Philadelphia fans are notorious for their high expectations and their eagerness to voice their displeasure when these expectations aren't met. There were few positives from this season and there was an air of inevitability when Reid was let go. He wasn't out of work long, taking the head coaching job at Kansas City. Chip Kelly represents a new era in Philly. His offense has been studied by most coaches in the NFL. Bill Belichick being the most high-profile, implementing some of Kelly's offense into his Patriots schemes with extremely successful results. His Oregon team would regularly score 40+ every game and no defense in the country could contain them. Whether Kelly's offense can make the transition to the NFL or not remains to be seen. The signs are good, but there are many questions that he must solve within this Eagles team. The first, and most obvious, is at Quarterback. Michael Vick was very disappointing last season. He struggled with injuries and his rhythm as his offensive line was terrible. He only played a handful of games and was eventually replaced by rookie Nick Foles. Most don't expect Vick to return this year, he is owed £16 million this year and it is inconceivable to think the Eagles would pay that to retain his services. Incidentally, Vick is a great fit for Kelly's system and some think that he deserves another chance with a stronger line and a new system. His contract will have to be re-worked if he has any chance of this and it is more likely he will be released or traded. The Eagles also have the fourth pick in the upcoming 2013 Draft, which could be used on a Quarterback. Last season the Washington Redskins sent shockwaves through the NFL by mortgaging their future and trading for Baylor Quarterback Robert Griffin III. They gave up the Earth for him, some questioned whether it was a smart move. The rest is history, Griffin electrified the NFL this year and returned the Redskins to the Playoffs. Some are speculating whether an NFL team will be making a similar move this season. The target in question is West Virginia Quarterback Geno Smith. Smith is a physical specimen (6ft 3inch) and has a fantastic skill set. He is extremely elusive and has the ability to shrug off tacklers at will. He is equally as comfortable throwing on the run or in the pocket. His deep-ball is extraordinary, displaying timing and accuracy that made him the best deep-ball thrower in College Football this season. He is also very quick, although he wouldn't be described as a running Quarterback, he is capable of doing so should the situation present himself. In conclusion, Geno Smith is perfect for the Chip Kelly offense. However, he won't be there when the Eagles draft at 4 so they will have to trade up to get him, probably to number one. Ironically, that position is held by Andy Reid and the Chiefs, who may take Smith themselves as they have their own problems at Quarterback. Smith has been compared in some parts to Donovan McNabb and we all know how Reid maximised his potential. If Reid doesn't think Smith is the right fit this would be the perfect time for the Eagles to swoop. Nick Foles. Did an adequate job in Vick's absence last season, but many think he will be surplus to requirements in this system. Foles is seen as a pocket passer and would be a valuable trade asset for the Eagles. Andy Reid rates Foles highly and he would have to be included if any trade was to happen. Foles, next years first round and this years third might be enough to switch places with the Chiefs. This is all dependant on how much Smith impresses them in workouts and at the combine. It would certainly be a statement of intent from the Eagles to draft Smith. A gamble that might not pay off as the Redskins pick for Griffin did. There are plenty of question marks surrounding Smith, in particular his games against Texas Tech and Kansas State will come under scrutiny. He certainly isn't as NFL ready as Andrew Luck and Griffin were last season and he can sometimes be a bit hesitant under pressure and make silly mistakes. In my opinion, it could be beneficial to give Michael Vick another chance in Kelly's system. This will give them a chance to draft an offensive lineman, most likely to be Texas A&M Tackle Luke Joeckel, who is far and away the best Tackle in this Draft class. With Jason Peters returning from injury this would give the Eagles two quality tackles and keep Vick on his feet long enough to be successful with this offense. Geno Smith will be a franchise Quarterback somewhere in the not-to-distant future. Chip Kelly already has the weapons in place for his offense to thrive. With LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek they should be able to score heavily within this offense, Maclin and Jackson in particular should benefit greatly. All that's missing is the Quarterback. They could always go to free agency and perhaps make a play for Joe Flacco, although the likelihood is he will be staying in Baltimore. They do have the Salary Cap room to make a play on one of the premier Lineman available which makes the prospect of trading up to get Smith an increasingly attractive proposition. Smith has all the tools without question, The Eagles will study him closely at the Combine and at his Pro-Day before deciding if the reward outweighs the risk. Stick or Twist? The Future of The Eagles depends on it. Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_
April 08 2014 10:05 AM EPL NEWS: FIVE FINALS TO GLORY - WILL LIVERPOOL WIN THE TITLE?
April 08 2014 9:46 AM EPL NEWS: FIVE FINALS TO GLORY - WILL LIVERPOOL WIN THE TITLE?
April 08 2014 9:41 AM EPL NEWS: FIVE FINALS TO GLORY - WILL LIVERPOOL WIN THE TITLE?