This time last year, I wrote that I was confident that Chip Kelly would bring a Super Bowl to Philadelphia. After the most perplexing and emotionally-challenging off-season in Eagles history,(I doubt we’ll ever see such roster upheaval again) I still have faith that Chip will bring a Lombardi Trophy to South Philly, but likely not for another year.
That being said, 2015 has a chance to be a TON of fun if the glimpses we saw in the preseason are any indication. Three stud running backs, pinpoint accurate Sam Bradford, a dominant front seven, with an excess of productive linebackers (whoever thought we would see too many good linebackers on the Eagles back in Andy Reid’s heyday?) a moderately weak schedule, no more Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher… the list goes on and on for why this team could soar this year.
But while the group of local and national media pundits, penciling the Eagles in Santa Clara this February grows by the day, I think 2016 is more likely. Here are a few reasons why:
Forget the health. Let’s just see this guy play a full season and make sure he’s truly a good fit for the offense. The preseason got me excited, but it was only that, preseason. Back to the health real quick, I think he plays all 16 games this year.
Outside linebacker, safety and offensive line are pretty thin depth-wise. If a Connor Barwin or Malcolm Jenkins were to go down I’m not sure the Birds could recover at those two crucial positions. Nickel corner, whether it’s rookie Eric Rowe, Ej Biggers or Nolan Carroll also could be a position that hampers the team throughout the year, with Brandon Boykin now in a place “That Wins.”
Chip Kelly is a Racist and All the Players Hate Him
Just kidding. Other than DeflateGate, this may be the most tired and preposterous story of the off-season. He’s clearly not trying to be buddy buddy with the players, but rather their boss, which is how it should be.
Defense Plays Too Much and Wears Down
This will likely be the biggest factor keeping Chip from winning the Super Bowl in his NFL tenure. They could score 500-plus points this year, but if the defense is beaten down by Week 14, will they have enough to make a deep playoff run?
Bottom line, I need to see Chip actually win a playoff game before I can pencil them in the Super Bowl. It’s exciting the see the potential of what he’s building, now that he’s got full player personnel control. I was definitely skittish when he wrestled control away from Howie Roseman. A solid year with a deep playoff run, plus adding more key players at areas of weakness in the coming off-season will set this team up in even better shape in 2016.
Last year, I compared Chip to Pete Carroll, a college coach who came back to the NFL and slowly but surely built a dominant team. In Carroll’s third season in Seattle they went to the second round and lost a heart-breaker to Atlanta. Still, the Seahawks were clearly a team on the rise, behind a young and dominant defense. They won the Super Bowl the following year in one of the most dominant performances ever.
In Chipadelphia, everything moves fast. If he wins the Super Bowl this year, in just his third year, after a complete roster turnover and never even winning a playoff game, it will be a monumental task and the statue will be constructed. Slow and steady will win the Super Bowl and I believe this team has a bit more developing to do. While I say this ever year, I’m not too discouraged in saying this now because I truly relive it will happen: Wait til next year Eagles fans.
Official Prediction 11-5 and lose to Seattle in NFC Championship