New coach Chip Kelly will bring some excitement in Eagles' offseason

Posted: February 11, 2013

When the Super Bowl finally came to an end late Sunday night, a sense of dread slowly crept over me.

It wasn't because the game was disappointing (though the ads - a vital part of the modern-day Super Bowl experience - really sucked, with the sensational exception of Budweiser's trainer/Clydesdale reunion).

What really bummed me out: Both of our major bowls are over (including Wing Bowl where Super Squibb let us down at the hands - or stomach - of someone called the "Bear"), and we are entering a dreadful 7-month stretch during which we will not see a meaningful football game. Sure, there will be some apparent oases along the way - the 10 days leading up to the NFL draft, the OTAs, the rookie camp, preseason camp at Lehigh, and those god-awful preseason games. However, most oases that appear in the desert are illusory and will do nothing to quench our thirst.

So what are we fans to do? How will we survive? Well, I could suggest that pitchers and catchers are due to report in a few days or that March Madness will give us 3 weeks-plus of pulsating action, stunning upsets and incredible finishes, or that Tiger Woods may really be back. For some of us, those might be acceptable, even exciting alternatives to get our juices flowing again. But for the dyed-in-the-wool, football-only Eagles fanatics, these other options simply won't do.

I actually believe relief is in sight, though. This year, Birds maniacs are very fortunate, because no one, and I mean no one, knows what Chip Kelly will do. It will be a unique and fascinating offseason for us, far more so than in any other NFL city. Chip is as whirlwind as his Oregon offense, and he already has surprised us with outside-the-box actions and decisions: He became the first Eagles coach to attend Wing Bowl; he didn't cut Michael Vick (yet); he cut our losses and said goodbye to one of our worst signings, Demetress Bell; he is supposedly about to reunite with Dennis Dixon, who was perhaps his most effective quarterback in running the Ducks' attack and who currently resides on the Ravens practice squad; and he seems to be putting together an interesting and unique coaching staff (the hiring of Bill Davis as defensive coordinator is certainly "interesting").

And the most intriguing question of all for us hungry Chip-watchers remains to be answered - what will the 2013 Eagles offense look like? Only the Lord and Chip know for sure and, frankly, I'm not so sure about Chip! I think there are many reasons to be optimistic, though.

Obviously, the quarterback position is the biggest question mark, with Chip deciding between going with Foles and taking a more traditional offensive approach, or trying to plug Vick or Dixon in to run his more explosive Oregon-style offense. The good news is that we appear to have the personnel, barring injuries, to go either direction. With Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans and Jason Peters returning, the o-line looks pretty solid, and, hopefully, we can plug in a solid draft pick to fill the mammoth void the selection of Danny Watkins seems to have created.

Among Shady McCoy, Bryce Brown and Stanley Havili, we have as solid a backfield as almost any team in the NFL. And our wideouts - DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Riley Cooper - can be explosive and are capable of running any style of offense. At tight end, Brent Celek and Clay Harbor are certainly serviceable, but in today's tight-end-driven league, I would like to see this position upgraded with someone who can bring more to the table.

When viewing all of this in total, I don't see any reason why this offense, under Chip Kelly's direction, shouldn't put up a lot of points next season and be incredibly exciting to watch. As has been the case over the past few years, though, our ability to keep our QB healthy and not turn the ball over are the only obstacles that can slow us down.

Regardless of what happens, every twist and turn leading up to that first Sunday will be more intriguing than perhaps any preseason we've ever had (possibly matched only by Terrell Owens' arrival at Lehigh and preseason debut touchdown).

Just imagine if we were going through another offseason with Andy Reid . . . now, that would be dreadful. So we will not have to wander through the desert of football boredom for the next 7 months. Philadelphia is the real oasis this offseason - is that a Dennis Dixon-to-Michael Vick touchdown pass I see, or is it a mirage?


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