With the Philadelphia Eagles never too far from the headlines this NFL offseason GiveMeSport takes a look at how all the changes leave the franchise heading into the 2015 season.
After a chaotic offseason for the Philadelphia Eagles, where their roster went through a complete overhaul, there is a lot of positive buzz coming from the city of brotherly love.
Now that OTA's are over the Eagles will not practice as a team until training camp begins, Aug. 2nd. Although it is premature to crown the birds, it is not wrong to say several individuals are beginning to seriously impress.
Ertz Primed For Star Season
On the offensive side of the ball there are several new starters, the only group that remained the same was the tight end group. Ironically, one of the most impressive players from OTAs has been Zach Ertz.
Darren Sproles, who was a huge acquisition last offseason, infatically announced his optimism towards the potential of Ertz. "He has great hands," Sproles stated after practice. "He's about to be a superstar."
Ertz has validated why he was chosen in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He had a solid rookie campaign, accumulating 469 yards, 4 touchdowns, and had his role increased during the ladder end of the season.
As expected, Ertz contributed more in year two and appears to be primed to breakout. Ertz had 702 yards last season and is already building a dynamic rapport with newly acquired quarterback, Sam Bradford. In OTAs Bradford favored Ertz as they began to make plays that have you wondering exactly how good Ertz can be.
Ryan Mathews Is Impressing Chip Kelly
The biggest change offensively occurred to the running backs. Philly managed to steal the league leading rusher, DeMarco Murray, from Dallas, and also quietly signed Ryan Mathews. Murray's signing created more headlines, due to the dynamics of the situation, but the player that is being most talked about thus far is Ryan Mathews.
Chip Kelly raved about Mathews in his press conference recently:
"Yeah, Ryan has been a really good addition to us. [He’s a] big, physical running back. I don't think you really know how actually big he is until you pull up next to him. He's almost 230 pounds, and he can really run. He's explosive. I think when he sees a hole, he can change gears and accelerate through it.
We're using him a little bit on kickoff return, I think, because of taking advantage of that speed. There are not a lot of guys that have that speed to go along with that size, but we're real excited about having him.
"He's worked extremely hard here since we got him. He came in right after we acquired him and has been working really hard."
Young Receivers Have Expectations Of Veterans
In Chip's first offseason with full control of team personal he selected Nelson Agholor, WR from USC, who is making splashes on and off the field.
Agholor is an ideal fit for Kelly schematically, and as someone who fits the culture being built in Philadelphia. Out of the rookies Agholor is easily the most impressive. And in a photo shoot where he was asked to write his season goal he surprised everyone.
While most rookies were consistently saying their goal is to win, or make it to the Pro Bowl, Agholor's goal is "to be a better person", impressive coming from a rookie.
Although Eagles fans are more interested as him as a player, it is nice to see he is a very impressive young man; and do not be fooled, he has displayed his dynamic skill set.
Agholor is not the only young receiver impressing on the field - Josh Huff is showing why he has high expectations within the organization.
He received high praise from the other young talented receiver the Birds have, Jordan Matthews:
"I don't even know how I would have reacted to something like that. Now that he's fully healthy, we're getting him through the preseason and I think it'll be night and day the production you're going to see out of him. He's always been a baller. Now he has the time to get out there and prove it."
Top 10 Defense Back In Philly?
Defensively is where fans should be excited, there is more talent and depth now then their has been in recent memory.
The front seven was already elite, and the Eagles added Kiko Alonso to that group, while also expanding the role of Vinny Curry, who has been nothing short off a pass rushing specialist.
Last offseason the Eagles added a super bowl champion to their weak secondary, safety Malcom Jenkins, which proved to be a home run signing. Chip did the same this offseason, adding former champions, cornerback, Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond who the Eagles seem to favor at safety.
Maxwell is being payed as a shut down corner, and according to Jordan MatAthews that is exactly who they are getting. "
“I know, for me, he’s been kicking my butt out here, it’s great to be able to compete against him,” Matthews told CSNPhilly.com.
“Last year, if anybody asked me who was the hardest corner I went against, easily, easily 41 from the Seahawks. And then I turn on my TV and he’s on my team. It doesn’t get much better than that when it comes to competition.”
Kelly Poised to Prove Critics Wrong
After criticism of Chip Kelly varied from him being too inexperienced to handle personal decisions too him possibly being a racist, proclaimed by LeSean McCoy, the pieces of the puzzle seem to be fitting perfectly.
Pro Focus Football rated the Eagles as having the 6th best roster in the NFL and third in the NFC. If all the stars align and Bradford can stay healthy, and all the new accusations play to potential, the Eagles may have done enough to finally become an elite team.