NFL PREVIEW 2013: Erik Rutan on the Philadelphia Eagles

So, here we are: another year, another season, a new regime. First of all, I want to say that after 14 years of the Andy Reid era, I am quite excited for a new coach. Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing but the utmost respect for Andy, and I thank him for the five NFC Championship Games and the Super Bowl visit, and for changing the vibe and bringing in a winning mentality to Philly after many many years of sub-par seasons, but it was a change long overdue.
I am very glad that they made a move to get Chip Kelly. Kelly I believe is a visionary of sorts when it comes to football. When you have someone like Bill Belichick giving props to Kelly and trying to integrate his offense into the Patriots, you know you’re getting one hell of a coach. Lots of people say “It wont translate to the NFL; college coaches never succeed; look at Steve Spurrier or Nick Saban,” but rather than ponder those failures, I look at the guys that succeeded, like Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh. I for one am of the belief that Kelly will possibly change how all offenses are run. Being the former coach of the Oregon Ducks, he comes in with a high-octane, hurry-up offense and a completely different mentality. A big part of it is the spread offense and lots of running the ball, and when you have LeSean McCoy, supported by Bryce Brown and Chris Polk, you’re damn right we need to run the ball. I was always amazed that we would not run the ball more with one of the elite running backs in the game.

Somehow I knew Vick would win the QB competition. He always performs best when his back is against the wall, and I think the Eagles made the right choice. Our offensive line is back on track, with Jason Peters back from season-ending injury; and the addition of first-rounder Lane Johnson truly solidifies the line. We will miss Jeremy Maclin (out with a torn ACL), no doubt about it, but it is time for others to step up, and I know DeSean Jackson is gonna have a huge year.

On the defensive side, there’s a lot of work to do. The switch to a 3-4 defense is a little shocking to me considering a big part of our roster plays best under a 4-3 system, but I guess it was time to shake it up. Our defense has been horrible for the past few years. We need to step up and bring back the attitude, the intensity. We have so many new players on D, and I know it will take time to gel; let’s just hope our offense scores so many points that we won’t have to rely too much on our defense to win games.

In a way, it’s nice to not have super-high expectations. Let’s face it: This is a rebuilding year. I am OK with that because change is good, change is optimism, change is for the best.In my lifetime, I only hope someday my dream of being at the Super Bowl and watching my Eagles win the Lombardi Trophy comes to fruition. As I see it, dreams can come true. The Eagles can win the big one, but in time, in due time. This year, I am hoping for a 9-7 or 8-8 season, but looking at our tough schedule, logic dictates that 5-11 or 6-10 might be more like it. The Eagles and Chip Kelly get a pass this year, but that type of patience will not last long in the City of Brotherly Love. Might be about that time to go pick up some tickets.