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PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 26: Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles Introduce Chip Kelly Getty Images

Should we be skeptical or optimistic about the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles?

Both feelings seem appropriate. Not buying into the Eagles? We can’t blame you. No team has disappointed more in the last two seasons. The much-hyped 2011 squad finished .500, while last year’s club managed a mere four wins in a playoffs-or-bust year for coach Andy Reid.

With Reid gone, Chip Kelly inherits a roster that’s lately looked better on paper than on the field. But let’s look on the bright side. Can you imagine Kelly’s fast-paced offense with the Eagles’ skill-position players?

And let’s consider the Eagles’ division. The NFC East doesn’t  have one team that stands above the rest. Every one of the clubs seems capable of playing that role in a given week, but in recent years, this division has been contested all the way until the end.

Of course, if the Eagles are to be competitive down the stretch, they must improve on their surprisingly poor recent form.

Strengths.

The Eagles’ depth chart has some top-end skill players at running back (LeSean McCoy) and wide receiver (DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin). Their offensive line could be very good if left tackle Jason Peters stays healthy and rookie right tackle Lane Johnson proves a quick study. The Eagles will be strong inside, with guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans an above-average tandem. This could be a dynamite running team; McCoy and Bryce Brown are a nice 1-2 punch, and Kelly oversaw impressive rushing attacks at Oregon.

Even in areas where the Eagles don’t have clarity, they at least have some viable options. Case-in-point: Michael Vick or Nick Foles each have the potential to be serviceable at quarterback — and perhaps more than that. Also, the Eagles should be able to get a solid pass rush from outside linebackers Connor Barwin, Trent Cole and Brandon Graham, even with Cole and Graham transitioning from defensive end.

Weaknesses.

The Eagles have committed a combined 75 turnovers in the last two seasons. One positive: Eagles quarterbacks threw 10 fewer interceptions in 2012. Prudent passing and better ball security could give the Eagles — who outgained opponents last season despite finishing 4-12 — a bit of a lift.

The Eagles also need to get better in the red zone; they scored touchdowns on just 44 percent of their trips inside the opposition 20 a season ago, fifth-worst in the NFL.

From a personnel standpoint, quarterback is the greatest concern for Philadelphia, which enters training camp without a clear-cut starter. That’s never a particularly comforting feeling. Also, the Eagles’ pass defense could be vulnerable even after investing in the secondary in free agency.

Changes.

The Eagles’ changes aren’t just confined to offense. Their defense is different, too, with a new coordinator (Bill Davis) and a new base scheme (the 3-4). The scheme change necessitated a couple front seven additions in free agency, as the Eagles signed the ex-Texan Barwin and former 49ers nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga. However, the Eagles are trying to run the 3-4 primarily with the personnel brought in for various versions of the 4-3 the club employed under Reid and his defensive coordinators.

The Eagles are starting over in the secondary. Cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are gone after disappointing two-season stints, replaced by Cary Williams (ex-Baltimore) and Bradley Fletcher (ex-St. Louis). At safety, the Eagles signed Patrick Chung from the Patriots and Kenny Phillips from the Giants to push incumbents Nate Allen and Colt Anderson. Considering how lackluster the Eagles were against the pass in 2012, wiping the slate clean would be perfectly understandable, but with so many new faces comes the prospect of everyone needing time to get on the same page on the back end of the defense.

On offense, there’s great anticipation about what Kelly has planned. At the very least, the Eagles are likely to play at a quicker-than-average pace. They would also figure to employ some read-option concepts, too. That said, the Eagles’ new offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur, is grounded in the West Coast scheme. Philadelphia would seem to have the schematic and personnel flexibility needed to show numerous looks on offense.

Camp battles.

Vick and Foles are the primary contenders for the starting quarterback job, with rookie Matt Barkley seeming likely to hold down one of the reserve roles. Vick, 33, has just one year left on his contract, and he took a big paycut earlier in the offseason. Miscues (15 turnovers in 10 starts in 2012) are the major concern with Vick.

Foles, who’s nine years younger than Vick, got some valuable experience late last season. While Foles did show some potential in a six-game starting stint, he too had some issues with turnovers, and he faltered against a very good Cincinnati defense late in the campaign.

Other positions where there could be competition are safety, cornerback, outside linebacker and defensive end. The Eagles need stability to develop at the secondary positions.

Prospects.

Every team could use 1) a good start to the season and 2) some injury luck. Well, the Eagles really could use these things. Half of the Eagles’ road games are in the first six weeks of the season, including three straight games away from Philadelphia, with trips to the Broncos (Sept. 29), Giants (Oct. 6) and Buccaneers (Oct. 13) in Weeks Four through Six.

The Eagles open the season at defending NFC East champion Washington on Sept.9 — the first of three games in 11 days for Philadelphia. Home tilts vs. San Diego (Sept. 15) and Reid-led Kansas City (Sept. 19) are games the Eagles have to believe they can win — and they may very well need to win them with that challenging road stretch thereafter.

The Eagles do not get their bye until Week 12 — hence the need for that run of good collective health — but they do have the benefit of having their week of rest sandwiched between three home games: Washington (Nov. 7), Detroit (Dec. 1), Arizona (Dec. 8).

By then, we’ll have a good idea of how Kelly’s offense looks. If Kelly’s personnel takes to his scheme and opposing defenses are caught a little off-guard, the Eagles could be a sleeper in the NFC East. However, if the Eagles sputter early, they could be left with too much work to do down the stretch.

The other major storyline to watch, of course, is whether a quarterback emerges as a solid starter. If not, the focus turns to how the Eagles address the position in 2014.

For now, though, there’s the matter of whether Kelly can get more out of a team that’s left us wanting more the last two seasons.

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50 Responses to “PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 26: Philadelphia Eagles”
  1. ColtsWinColtsWin!! says: Jul 12, 2013 9:01 AM

    Good, I thought I might be crazy since I had not seen anyone else think the sheagles were going to be so bad.

  2. dgreenfi says: Jul 12, 2013 9:06 AM

    Not sure if grouping Vick/Foles together as serviceable is a an insult to Vick, or Foles.

    Really shows how far Vick has fallen.

  3. hoythunter12 says: Jul 12, 2013 9:07 AM

    Fly, Eagles, Fly!

  4. drohanimal says: Jul 12, 2013 9:12 AM

    NFC East Champions, nothing less.

  5. MDSisAtool says: Jul 12, 2013 9:16 AM

    Ouch….

  6. moerawn says: Jul 12, 2013 9:17 AM

    Every Philthy sports team can lose every game they play for the next century—and that wouldn’t be enough for me.

  7. bobleblah says: Jul 12, 2013 9:19 AM

    The offense will generate a ton of yards. If they can convert points and limit turnovers they should be right there in the wildcard chase, and they could conceivably win in the once-proud-now-a-shambles NFC east.

  8. whatnojets says: Jul 12, 2013 9:21 AM

    Where are my beloved Jets????

    Oh….I see …we are going from worst to best….

    I guess that maybe in seven to ten days I will finally see The Jets ranking

  9. dirtydrynn27 says: Jul 12, 2013 9:29 AM

    Tied with Dallas for last place……Spurrier 2.0

  10. packerbackernj says: Jul 12, 2013 9:33 AM

    NFC East was the division of the underachievers in 2012.

  11. jbell33139 says: Jul 12, 2013 9:37 AM

    26th? Really? Started last season 3-1 (including wins over the current Superbowl Champions and the NY Giants) before having our O-Line completely obliterated.

    We also played somewhere around 5 games IN A ROW where opponents were coming off of BUY weeks.

    I guaranfkngty the Eagles will finish higher than 26th this year.

  12. eatitfanboy says: Jul 12, 2013 9:38 AM

    whatnojets says:
    Jul 12, 2013 9:21 AM
    Where are my beloved Jets????

    Oh….I see …we are going from worst to best….

    I guess that maybe in seven to ten days I will finally see The Jets ranking

    Whoops. Someone’s not checking their internets enough.

  13. sidk1121 says: Jul 12, 2013 9:44 AM

    Eagles definitely have the potential for greatness if they take advantage of their skillset. But then again, weren’t we saying the same thing about the 2011 “Dream Team”?

  14. dallassux says: Jul 12, 2013 9:44 AM

    moerawn says:
    Jul 12, 2013 9:17 AM
    Every Philthy sports team can lose every game they play for the next century—and that wouldn’t be enough for me.

    ———————————————————————————–

    Brilliant analysis. You’re name says it all.

  15. heyguru1969 says: Jul 12, 2013 9:44 AM

    I’ve never been a fan of Philly, but a huge fan of innovative minds. LOVED Chip Kelly at Oregon and I’ll be a fan at the NFL level as well, if he can pull off the speed offense. What true football fan wouldn’t want to see 20-25% more plays every game?

  16. wryly1 says: Jul 12, 2013 9:46 AM

    Teams that are going through the transition of coaches , coordinators, systems and maybe starting QB’s rightfully should have the lower preseason power ratings. Remains to be seen whether they exceed expectations during the season.

  17. 3beeps says: Jul 12, 2013 9:48 AM

    That’s an awful lot of wishful thinking, right there. A new Offense with no QB that can think fast, 2 punky WR’s, a new Defensive scheme and a re-tread secondary……what are the chances they go 0-3 on that 3 game road swing ??

    This bunch may not win a game until November.

  18. bleedeaglegreen says: Jul 12, 2013 9:52 AM

    As long the cancer known as Michael Vick is on this roster, expect controversy, turnovers, incompetent play & losing. Every team Mike Vick has been on has been in disarray within 4-5 years of him showing up.

    This guy is an overrated cancer of a player that is known for getting coaches fired & fumbling or intercepting games away. This guy has NEVER been a big game QB & never will be. He rips teams apart with his me first attitude.

    As long as he is on my team’s roster, the birds will never win.

  19. skinsfanwill says: Jul 12, 2013 10:03 AM

    Always the bridesmaid, never the bride Eagles. Same ole zhit different coach.

  20. b3nz0z says: Jul 12, 2013 10:03 AM

    3 games in 11 days is pretty brutal. especially with the elevated snap count we’re all expecting from kelly’s offense.

  21. mogogo1 says: Jul 12, 2013 10:22 AM

    A fair bit of talent for the 7th worst team in the league. While I haven’t agreed with the order on many of these, this list is reminding me how balanced the NFL really is.

  22. ziplock10 says: Jul 12, 2013 10:24 AM

    Why does everyone assume this type of offense will succeed???

    WHEN YOUR O IS OFF THE FIELD IN SECONDS AND YOUR D IS ON THE FIELD ALL DAY…… ITS OVER!!!

    Its the run and shoot! Minus a game plan.

    Running to the line of scrimmage for a quick 3 and out KILLS the teams defense!!!

    Just imagine all the penalties for the tackle not covered with a WR and motion penalties.

    The Igles has talent but does it have the IQ to pull it off?

  23. myeaglescantwin says: Jul 12, 2013 10:27 AM

    the eagles will get to 8-8.

    the talent infusion on defense will only be part of the picture.
    the other part,,, not have the predictible play calling of Andy Reid.

    Finally we might just have a balanced attack on the offense..

  24. whatnojets says: Jul 12, 2013 10:33 AM

    eatitfanboy says: Jul 12, 2013 9:38 AM

    whatnojets says:
    Jul 12, 2013 9:21 AM
    Where are my beloved Jets????
    ——————————————–

    Damn….I missed that post!!!

    I have spent numerous hours in trying to decide if Mr. Hernandez id guilty or innocent.

    Based on what I read and putting all facts in a congregational order, I am leaning for an acquittal.

    I don’t think Mr. Hernandez pulled the trigger, In fact I believe Mr. Wallace is the culprit with the help of Mr. Ortiz.

    I think that Mr. Hernandez was unaware of the murder and that is supported with his question to the police “what’s with all the questions”?

    I now believe he may be innocent of the murder charges but will serve some time or punishment for obstructing justice

    Just me honest opinion…..

  25. nfl fan says: Jul 12, 2013 10:38 AM

    It couldn’t happen to a better fan base!

  26. groleo45 says: Jul 12, 2013 10:47 AM

    Why is that Detroit plays at Philly two years in a row? Seems out that non-divisional games would be on some sort of rotating home and home system.

  27. humpofdc says: Jul 12, 2013 11:00 AM

    The Beagles had their run. They will not see the playoffs for the next ten years. I love the fact that they are the only NFC East Team without a ring. I love the fact that my Skins swept them. They will miss Andy…..

  28. bigblu73 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:00 AM

    Grouping Foles with Vick is definitely disrespectful!!! I know that Vick is coming off a “OFF” season and this is a what have you done for me lately league, but my God he is still the former #1 overall pick and 4X Probowler!!!! Saying that he is “serviceable” after tearing the league a new one in 2010-11 is very dismissive to say the least. Comparing him to Foles, really Nick Foles????

  29. bigblu73 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:03 AM

    Still pissed that the Eagles got Kenny Phillips! When he’s healthy he’s a top 5 Safety……

  30. southpaw2k says: Jul 12, 2013 11:21 AM

    Fun fact: Since 2003, there has been at least one team every season who had finished in last place in its division who had rebounded the following season to win its division outright (on a couple occasions, two teams rebounded to win their divisions the next season). I think the Eagles are the team who accomplished that feat in 2013.

    Go ahead and laugh at me.

  31. redskinfansince82 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:30 AM

    They are going to regret getting rid of Andy Reid when the Chiefs have a good year and Eagles flounder.

  32. ryann252013 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:32 AM

    Fun fact: Since 2003, there has been at least one team every season who had finished in last place in its division who had rebounded the following season to win its division outright (on a couple occasions, two teams rebounded to win their divisions the next season). I think the Eagles are the team who accomplished that feat in 2013.

    Go ahead and laugh at me

    ——————————————————————–

    Don’t worry we’re laughing

  33. doctorjagaloon says: Jul 12, 2013 11:32 AM

    As an Eagles fan there is a lot of hope and reason to be excited.. and I think this team has some potential to beat some good teams. But in year 1 of a new coach/system/etc my expectations are tempered. Do I think this team can make the playoffs?.. Sure, the year-to-year swings happen all the time in the NFL. But I think a more realistic goal is to just take a strong step forward, have a team that buys into the system and wants to work hard, and show some things that give promise to having a strong 2014. A realistic goal for this team, in my mind at least, is for an 8-8 record.

    And hopefully we can come out of this season with a more clear picture at the QB position for 2014 – Whether we are keeping/getting rid of Vick, keeping/getting rid of Foles… and possibly what Barkley can do for us.

  34. tackledummy1505 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:41 AM

    For 1 I love sports fans around this country. Cause every sports fan follows 3 teams all year. They follow their team, their team’s rival, and then they follow the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s like they need to see the ship go down as much as possible because they know the children of Philadelphia love their sports teams like family. Shoot some people treat them better than family. Anyway never understood how Philly fans are so excited for this season when if you ask most of them say, oh they’ll be 6-10 or 7-9. Lol it’s strange in Philly right now

  35. doctorjagaloon says: Jul 12, 2013 11:41 AM

    bigblu73 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:00 AM

    Grouping Foles with Vick is definitely disrespectful!!! I know that Vick is coming off a “OFF” season and this is a what have you done for me lately league, but my God he is still the former #1 overall pick and 4X Probowler!!!! Saying that he is “serviceable” after tearing the league a new one in 2010-11 is very dismissive to say the least. Comparing him to Foles, really Nick Foles????
    —–

    I’m an Eagles fan, and grouping Vick with Foles is not disprectful. Yes, Vick had a good run of 10ish games three years ago… And he had some success with the Falcons (not much though). Probowls count for much in this argument b/c people who shouldn’t make it make it all the time. And former #1 pick doesn’t matter… Michael Vick has a high ceiling and he’s exciting when he’s on his game but he really has not played the position well for a majority of the last two years. When he has not been injured, he fumbles too much and he severely struggles to read pre-snap defenses (which a lot of issues stem from). His O-line sucked last year due to injuries, but his O-line was fine the year before and he didn’t play well.

    Foles hasn’t done much of anything in this league either (yet?), but it’s not like Vick has done soooo good lately that the two of them can’t breathe the same air. It’s a “what have you done for me lately” league and Vick hasn’t played well the last two seasons.

  36. discojoe says: Jul 12, 2013 11:49 AM

    Why do Eagles fans alway refer to the team as “we”?

  37. southpaw2k says: Jul 12, 2013 11:51 AM

    ryann252013 says:
    Jul 12, 2013 11:32 AM
    Fun fact: Since 2003, there has been at least one team every season who had finished in last place in its division who had rebounded the following season to win its division outright (on a couple occasions, two teams rebounded to win their divisions the next season). I think the Eagles are the team who accomplished that feat in 2013.

    Go ahead and laugh at me

    ——————————————————————–

    Don’t worry we’re laughing

    ———————————————

    Be my guest. But if you don’t think the Eagles win the NFC East, then I ask your thoughts on which last place team stands a better chance at rebounding to win its division this year. Your choices are Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville, KC, Detroit, Tampa, and Arizona. Which of those do you have more faith in than Philly?

  38. eagles4eva says: Jul 12, 2013 11:55 AM

    As an eagles fan I am excited for the unknown. But you can’t compare Kelly to any other coaches like spurrier. Spurrier actually did well as a rookie head coach with a bad roster. But where spurrier fell short was in the draft. Constantly missing and going for need over best player available. So people are ignorant to compare. And instead of trying to predict what the eagles will do before camp, worry about your own team. We are 26th, but there are more than 6 teams that are more worse off than my Eagles. We could win it all and people call it a fluke, some people are ignorant loud mouth haters.

  39. justintuckrule says: Jul 12, 2013 11:57 AM

    Giants’ fan here. No way the Eagles are 26. There’s too much talent and speed on that team even with a new coach and scheme. NFC East finally has a relatively easy schedule playing the AFC West and NFC North. If they split with their division and split the other 8 games (conservative estimates given they play KC, Oak, SD, Det, Minn), that gives them 7 wins. Surely, they’ll be a bunch of teams not mentioned yet who will have less wins.

  40. bleedeaglegreen says: Jul 12, 2013 11:57 AM

    An insult to Nick Foles you mean. I think you forget Shawn Alexander, NFL MVP one year & out of the NFL ther next. 2010 is a life time ago in NFL years. Forget 3 pro bowls from 7-8 years ago & one from 3 years ago.

    The 2010-2011 “tear up” you are referring to amounts to 2 games. Redskins & Giants. And the Giant game he stunk it up for 3 qtrs. After that game was Minnesota & that is when the turnover onslaught started & has never stopped. Lest we all forget how the playoff game against GB was winnable until Vick once again gave the game away in an interception.

    By comparison – McNabb – 5 NFC Championship games & a SB appearance. McNabb one of the lowest TD to INT ratios of all time, Donovan didn’t turn the ball over. He also did it with Pinkston, Fred-Ex, Lj & other less than stellar receivers, besides Westbrook. People forget how tough McNabb was also, he got his brans beat out many games with less talent than Vick has had. Vick has had Jackson, Macklin & Mc Coy. But everyone calls Donovan a failure & defends Vick!

    Nick Foles, Barkley, Dennis Dixon…anyone but Vick!! It’s time for the MV7 experiment to end in Philly.

  41. rightwingredskin says: Jul 12, 2013 12:18 PM

    When the Eagles play the Cowboys…. I root for a meteor to hit the stadium!

  42. losangelesbillsofbuffalo says: Jul 12, 2013 12:51 PM

    Mike Vick’s gonna have to get caught killing a lot more dogs to for The Eagles to climb the Power Ladder.

    Don’t ask Donovan what he thinks though. Oh, wait, he told you anyways?

  43. mrshill0905 says: Jul 12, 2013 12:55 PM

    I guess we deserved this based on last year…but I can’t wait to prove everyone wrong when we win the division. Go EAGLES!!!!

  44. jsbrasha says: Jul 12, 2013 12:59 PM

    As a Skinz fan, I think Philly is due for a comeback year and will ultimately be in the mix for the NFC East.

    It’s clear last year they had talent but Reid had lost them to the point of dysfunction. They have more talent now and will be fired up around a new coach. I expect a strong run after a few games of finding their feet under a new offense. They just need solid qb play without the turnovers. Vick is the most talented qb on the roster, but they go with Foley for his risk-avoidance.

    I predict they will narrowly miss the playoffs but will be a surging team (e.g., top 15 on this list) going into 2014.

  45. jsbrasha says: Jul 12, 2013 1:00 PM

    **Foles**

  46. w0rkh0lic1 says: Jul 12, 2013 1:34 PM

    bobleblah says:
    Jul 12, 2013 9:19 AM
    The offense will generate a ton of yards. If they can convert points and limit turnovers they should be right there in the wildcard chase, and they could conceivably win in the once-proud-now-a-shambles NFC east.

    ————————–

    Once proud NFC East? Didn’t an NFC east team win the Super Bowl 2 of the last 6 years? Just curious… That’s a division in shambles? When was the last time an AFC west team even made the Super Bowl? Wasn’t that the Raiders? I don’t think the NFC East is that bad off to be called a division in shambles

  47. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jul 12, 2013 2:38 PM

    The Eagles were the worst team in the NFC last season so this 26 ranking is pretty optimistic. With Kelly their new college coach and Vick at QB, PFT is being kind to them.

    Hate on eagle fan but it is what it is.

  48. packeranddarien says: Jul 12, 2013 3:34 PM

    Be my guest. But if you don’t think the Eagles win the NFC East, then I ask your thoughts on which last place team stands a better chance at rebounding to win its division this year. Your choices are Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville, KC, Detroit, Tampa, and Arizona. Which of those do you have more faith in than Philly?

    ____________________________________

    Are you serious?

    Kansas City.

    With the exception of TE and OT, stack that team up against this Eagles team and it’s either KC by A COUNTRY MILE or it’s a wash. Especially on D. KC has a PB player on every level, DL, LB, and DB

    That’s including Head Coach. Lorax has stepped into the exact same position he did when he took the job in Philly 13 yrs ago: Loaded secondary, serviceable running game, young OL, DL that can get to the QB, and a QB that doesn’t make many mistakes.

    And I’m not even an AR fan, but BBCK hasn’t proved a mf thing yet.

  49. slick3 says: Jul 12, 2013 4:10 PM

    redskinfansince82 says:
    Jul 12, 2013 11:30 AM
    They are going to regret getting rid of Andy Reid when the Chiefs have a good year and Eagles flounder.
    __________________________________
    Typical ‘skin fan (I refuse to add the color description). If you’d followed the Eagles you’d had realized that they were led by an overblown, over-rated, predictable, fat-fart of a Head Coach named Andy Reid. I’m still befuddled as to the accolades afforded Reid who couldn’t think fast enough on his feet to adjust to whatever the opponents were doing. What a waste of fourteen years of Eagles’ fans lives.

  50. Joemontanaflacco says: Jul 12, 2013 4:36 PM

    Given that the Eagles are the only relevant team in Pennsylvania, they should at least be higher than the Steelers.

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