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Philadelphia Eagles 2014 Report Card: The Morning After


Good morning campers and happy holidays!


Yes, these can still be good times, even for us Eagles fans. This is a time for those who are dear to us to gather near to us, or something like that. No, I kid a lot, but this is really the time of year to be with your friends and family and revel in each other's company.

So I hope you all do that and I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.


As for the Eagles, I will surely not waste my time and more importantly, your time in attempting to be witty, whimsical or whatever as it relates to yesterday's game. No, I will hand out my grades for the season and share some random thoughts/observations, too.


As for yesterday... Yes, the Eagles won - yippee! Or as motivational speaker Matt Foley (AKA Chris Farley) was apt to say: "Well, la-di-frickin-da!"



Seriously, does anyone put ANY stock in that win? Does that win make ANYONE feel better about the Eagles’ season?


If you came away feeling better, more enthusiastic, more hopeful about next season solely due to yesterday's game... you may need to seek immediate psychiatric help or consider becoming a fan of another sport, say badminton or curling.




MY GRADES (in no specific order or rhyme or reason)


Fletcher Cox: A+ ... Have to start off on a high note for sure, and #91 is absolutely one of the bright spots on the entire Eagles team this year. Of course, if rumors become reality, Fletch may not be in Eagles next season, as the Birds make a move to move - up, to draft a QB along the lines of Marcus Mariota.


Connor Barwin: A+ - Ditto for CB, as he is unquestionably one of the bright spots on the entire Eagles team (in addition to Fletcher Cox).


LeSean McCoy: B ... A very slow start to his season, Shady picked it up the second half - enough to make a second consecutive Pro Bowl.


Mark Sanchez: D ... The man is not an NFL-caliber starting QB. Period. A nice backup, who if called up, can play spot duty say for 1-2 games. Anything longer than that and well... you see the result.


Nick Foles: C ... We all knew 27 & 2 was completely unrealistic, but we never expected such a fall off this year, did we? I for one, did not. Short memories being what they are: short. People will have a tendency to focus on the debacle that was Mark Sanchez and forget that Foles (who also tends to be injury prone) was making the same kinds of mistakes Sanchez committed before getting hurt. Unfortunately, we may be looking at #9 as your starting QB when next season begins, kids.


Bradley Fletcher: A+ ... Paying attention? Ok, just checking. Hey, for all I know, Bradley Fletcher is a great guy with a charming personality. But so is my buddy Matt, but I don't want him playing cornerback anymore than I want Mr. Fletcher playing. I will leave it at that, for there's no reason to kick a man when he's down and beaten... a lot. If you're keeping score at home, yes Bradley gets an F-.


Cary Williams: D ... Fletcher's running mate, Williams' penchant for idiocy in the form of boneheaded penalties bordered on the incredible. He is still under contract next season, meaning we may be stuck, literally, with him for one more season.


Nate Allen: D ... Yes Nate Allen had his best season as an Eagle. The operative word, however, is "context." Nate Allen's best season as an Eagle is still only good enough to grade out as a D. Understand? He has to go and go now.


Jeremy Maclin: A ... The Eagles simply must resign him. Period.


The Eagles’ Offensive Line: C ... Not calling anyone individually from this group, as injuries and suspensions made it difficult for any cohesion to form all season. I will tell you one thing though: I am having serious doubts about Lane Johnson in terms of his long term effectiveness. The kid got bullied and battered in the Seattle game. Check the tape. And oh yeah, Lane was not the only one who got pushed around that game, either.


Cody Parkey: C ... Duuuude. You are money all season, yet when we need you the most you choke? C'mon man. Yes, I know you were hurt (at least I think you were), although you and Chip deny it. Regardless, you simply have to make those FGs against the Redskins. Period.


Special Teams: A+ ... Lord did these guys mask and cover up a lot of flaws this year or what? Having a unit score that many TDs and the team NOT make the playoffs is almost impossible.


Marcus Smith, Chip Kelly & Howie Roseman: F- ... I lumped all three wise men into one here to hammer home the point of just how damaging the selection of Marcus Smith was in the first round of last year's draft. Do you have any idea how hard it is to swing and miss this much with a first round pick? Oh wait, of course you do. You're Eagles fans, so names like Jon Harris are  unfortunately never far from memory. For a team so bereft on the defensive side of the ball following last year to make such a blunderous selection is mind-boggling.


Consider that Mr. Smith, while looking spiffy in his Eagles uni, could not even play special teams OR during blowouts, the Packers game comes to mind. How did this happen? This selecting of such a non-impact player in the first round? We will never know the truth, of course. What we do know is that this cannot happen again, at least not on Kelly's watch.


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The Not So Fab Five


I could go on with the grading but... have to draw the line someplace.


Ok maybe one more: Riley Cooper: F


I don't like him a little. Chip on the other hand, appears to have a man crush, so what do I know?


Here are my five reasons the Eagles will be watching the playoffs from home.


1. The Secondary: Obvious choice for sure. Can someone, anyone, please let Eagles’ Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis know that the technique he and/or the secondary coach is teaching the Eagles DBs (the technique where they don't turn their heads around)  is not working! Good Lord, enough already. Turn your damn head around for crissakes. Oh yeah, almost forgot. Do you think, just possibly, you can have the secondary practice catching the ball from time to time. Lord almighty, there were THREE dropped interceptions in the first half alone yesterday!


2. Turnovers: Not sure of final stats, but heading into yesterday's game, the Eagles led the league in committing turnovers.


3. Penalties: Again, not sure of final numbers, and the Eagles may not be among the most penalized team when all is said and done, but the timing of their penalties (Cary Williams front and center) is atrocious.


4. Quarterback: I'm pretty sure to be successful in the NFL, you need to have an above-average QB. I think I read that someplace.


5. Coaching: The aforementioned Mr. Davis, while doing an admirable job for the most part, should be lambasted for his head-scratching decision to leave Bradley Fletcher locked up one-on-one with the likes of Dez Bryant and Desean Jackson. And as for Chip, well ol' Chipper seems to have lost some of his mojo as well as his brass... you get the idea. Time and again, his decisions were Reid-esque, and that simply will not do around these parts.


One Word


In true crowdsourcing fashion, I put out a call via Facebook for the one word to best describe the Eagles' season.


Here's some of the responses I received:













The last one, “rebuilding,” caught my eye. It was said by my friend Brian Graham and he elaborated in his reply, writing "Come on guys rebuilding is the word. You know they still need keys on defense."


It was an interesting word and got me to thinking about my one word, which is "reality." It kind of ties into what Brian is saying (re: his choice of "rebuilding") for the reality is, we witnessed the end to just the second year under a new head coach. It's hard for people to accept this reality because of how high the bar was set last season.


But think back to what the predictions were going into Chip's first year. I had them at 7-9 or 8-8 at best. No one ever saw that coming; the 10-6 record, the playoffs and so on.


So naturally, coming into this year the expectations were sky high, and more than likely too high. But when you start a season 9-3 (as they did this year), you damn well should make the playoffs. That's just an undeniable and irrefutable fact - rebuilding or not.


I think it is the collapse from 9-3 to 10-6 and out of the playoffs is what is rubbing so many Eagles fans the wrong way. That and the fact that the stinking Cowboys won the division of course, which also doesn't sit well.


This coming offseason is arguably the most important one for the Eagles, Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman. Another year like this one, and heads will roll. Book it.


Until next year, I want to thank all my loyal TMA readers and I want to wish each and everyone of you the best in 2015!


Leave a comment or tweet me @steveolenski



Contact Steve Olenski at solenski@philly2philly.com



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