With the Detroit Lions facing a week 14 game against the Eagles in Philadelphia, I recently checked in with Sean O’Donnell of Inside the Iggles to get a feel for preparations for the season from the Eagles side of things.
1. How would you assess the Eagles’ offseason? Did they do what they needed to do through the draft and free agency?
The Eagles’ offseason is still an ongoing mystery. New head coach Chip Kelly has come in and declared a quarterback competition between veteran Michael Vick and second-year newcomer Nick Foles. Aside from the quarterback controversy, the largest question mark for the Eagles this offseason has been the offensive line. Many can attribute some of the poor quarterback play of 2012 to the ineptitude of some of the linemen. Currently, the starters have rehabbed and are ready to get back out on the field — the addition of Lane Johnson in the first round of the draft will so wonders for the Eagles at the tackle position. It is difficult to put a grade on the Eagles offseason — no one knows what this team will look like under Kelly — but so far, they seem to have made the right decisions.
2. Which Rookie are you most excited to see play in 2013 and why?
Former Stanford tight end Zach Ertz has to be the rookie to watch for the Eagles. He was the second tight end off the board in the 2013 NFL draft and figures to factor in heavily to Kelly’s tight end-heavy offense. From their time in the Pac-12 together, Kelly is very familiar with Ertz — this should allow the rookie tight end to become a significant cog in the offensive system quickly.
3. What is the biggest question that still needs to be answered heading into training camp?
The aforementioned quarterback controversy is still the largest question that must be answered for the Eagles. The competition may have even created a fissure in the locker room between players that want a quarterback named now, players that want to wait for a decision and players that do not seem to care. This Eagles new offensive look will not fully take shape until a starting quarterback is named. It makes this team very unpredictable for the foreseeable future.
4. What are your expectations for the team in 2013?
Coming off of a 4-12 season with a new coaching staff, expectations must be tempered. Many pundits and fans see the Eagles improving this season. However, a wait-and-see approach should be in order. Generally, a new head coach will come in with a three-year plan to get the team turned around and looking the way he has envisioned. This is only year one.
5. Right here, right now, are you marking down the game against the Lions as a win, loss or toss-up?
If this game were to be played at this very instant, it would be marked down as a loss for the Eagles. The Lions have an extraordinary amount of talent on the team that has had plenty of time to jell. The Eagles are still trying to figure things out in their new system. However, these teams do not play until Week 14 — there could be some decision-altering changes for both of these teams in place by that time.