The Philadelphia Eagles 2015 offseason has not been conventional any stretch. Turning over the player personnel decisions to HC Chip Kelly this off season has resulted in the team changing their overall style and look. This Eagles team is unlike any Philadelphia Eagles team that we have seen in recent years, just due to these off season changes.
The trade of Desean Jackson last season along with the release of Jeremy Maclin turns the Eagles once thriving Wide Receiver core into a group of players who leave a lot to be desired. This 2015-2016 season will be the first season since 2007 without a true number one wide receiver. The Eagles often relied on having talented receivers to spread out their offense and provide more opportunities in their running attack as well as opportunities for the Tight Ends. Heading into this season with Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Miles Austin, Josh Huff and Seyi Ajirotutu as their “prominent receivers” the Eagles will no longer have the versatile deep threats or the ability to stretch the field like they have in previous years. The Eagles for the first time in years do not have two stand out Wide Receivers, although Jordan Matthews has loads of potential, he is still a couple years away from being a definite number one. The fascination that Chip Kelly has with Riley Cooper is an utter mystery to anyone else that has ever seen him play, aside from blocking I see no real potential, but that’s why the signings of Seyi Ajirotutu and Miles Austin excite me, the less snaps Riley Cooper plays, the better off this team is. I would not be surprised to see the Eagles draft a Wide Receiver in the early rounds to fix these problems, names to watch are: Breshad Perriman out of UCF and Sammie Coates out of Auburn.
A major change in the Eagles’ offense comes from the decision to trade away Lesean McCoy and then pick up Demarco Murray and Ryan Matthews. It is unsure if the swap will be for better or for worse, but the change in running styles will surely affect the structure of the Birds offense. McCoy had more of an east-west running style in which he relied on juking defensive players and being elusive, opposed to Murray’s north-south running style in which he relies heavily on breaking tackles and yards after contact. The last two premiere/starting running backs in Eagles history dating back to 2002, Brian Westbrook and Lesean McCoy both had running similar styles, focusing mainly on speed alone and elusiveness, but for the first time in longer than a decade the starting running back will be more power and footwork oriented. For those worrying about the Eagles losing the spark provided by the elusive type running style, you cannot forget about the presence that Darren Sproles, whether he’s running the ball or catching screen passes Sproles keeps that elusive style around. As for the issues of injury and long term wear and tear on Demarco Murray, this explains the signing of Ryan Matthews. Murray led the league in rushing attempts last season with 392, Matthews in his only full season(2013) had rushed for 1,255 yards on 285 attempts, this upcoming season look for their number of attempts to drop off significantly but watch them become more efficient.
The change at Quarterback from Nick Foles to Sam Bradford is not all that significant. Both solid in the pocket, both injury prone, both not top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. Both quarterbacks will produce similar amounts of productivity and are dependent on the talent around them. Keep Sam Bradford healthy, this is the key to a winning season. It will be interesting to see Bradford work with an impressive Eagles offensive line, as well as have some real weapons to utilize. This 2015-2016 offense is unlike any Eagle’s team we’ve seen in the last two decades, I’d go as far as saying that it is a transition season for the Eagles.
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