Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Eagles Are A Better Football Team

Nolan Carrol brings important depth to the CB position.
It's surprising to me to see so many fans lashing out at Howie Roseman on Twitter last night, I saw tweets like:
  • "This is why the Eagles will never win the Super Bowl."
  • "The good teams got better, the Eagles are an average team that stayed average."
  • "Howie has all this money to spend, why is he being so cheap?"
Is 2011 so long ago? If you think teams win the Super Bowl in March, you're probably an idiot. Darrelle Revis signed a 6 year $96 million deal last off-season with Tampa Bay. The Bucs also paid big money to land S Dashon Goldson. Everybody raved about their shut-down secondary. Well guess what? They weren't good.

The Eagles went from a 4-12 team in 2012 to a 10-6 team in 2013. A reason for their turnaround was smart decision-making in the off-season. This year is no different. Bringing in high priced free agents pisses off your own players, unbalances the locker room chemistry, and hinders the team's flexibility down the road. I doubt Jimmy Graham is thrilled the Saints gave Jairus Byrd $28M guaranteed.
Despite a lack a big free agent splashes, the Eagles are a better football team today than they were two days ago.

Malcolm Jenkins is a versatile player, who has made plays when assigned that role. Chip Kelly studied him extensively, and the Eagles made him their number one target. Billy Davis can create exotic looks to confuse the defense when given versatile players. Jenkins has been a team captain everywhere he's been, earning the respect of his peers. Philadelphia has upgraded the safety position and added young leadership, bottom line.

Chris Maragos was a hotly sought-after player. He was a very well-respected member of the Seattle Seahawks locker room. Maragos is one of the elite special-teams players in the NFL, it's easy to see based on his old teammates reaction to his departure on Twitter. OLB Bryan Braman is another special-teams ace, who was a Pro-Bowl alternate in 2012. At 6-5 241lbs, he's a big body who can get down field and make plays on coverage units. The special-teams got a lot better yesterday.
RB Darren Sproles is a fun addition. Chip Kelly is a creative genius who gets players in space, Sproles can make defenders look foolish in space, perfect match. A 5th round pick is a steep price for a 30 year old running back, but Sproles has always been a situational player which should add to his longevity. Chip Kelly has more weapons than any other NFL coach.

My favorite addition has been CB Nolan Carroll. Howie Roseman let the market develop, snatched up a proven quality corner for a 2 year $5.2 million deal. That's classic Howie. As Reuben Frank of CSN noted, a lot of third down struggles came when Roc Carmichael was asked to play as a third outside corner. Who ever loses out on the starting battle will still be a massive upgrade over Carmichael.

The Eagles are a better football team than they were on Tuesday at 4pm ET. They kept the locker room happy, improved talent and depth on defense, grabbed two star special-teams players, and still have outstanding cap flexibility. And they're not done yet. This is a championship plan. Let the team building continue.

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