Ranking Eagles' offseason moves

ASSOCIATED PRESS Chip Kelly helped his cause by hiring assistants who have NFL experience.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Chip Kelly helped his cause by hiring assistants who have NFL experience.
Posted: July 19, 2013

RANKING THE Eagles' top dozen offseason moves:

1. Hiring Chip Kelly on Jan. 16: Well, duh. A new direction after 14 years of Andy Reid. It still feels strange, and it probably will all season. Maybe Chip will blow through all his timeouts too soon in the opener and make us feel more at home with him.

2. Hiring vice president Tom Gamble on Feb. 16: Everybody in the NFL said this was a good personnel hire, for a team that has tried to patch over bad drafts with free agency in recent years, and reaped awful results from it. If Kelly is going to build a winner, he will need a heads-up personnel team.

3. Restructuing and retaining Michael Vick on Feb. 11: Hard to remember now, but when the 2012 season ended, we all assumed Vick was gone. He isn't. Could he still leave if he loses the QB competition to Nick Foles? Maybe. Either way, what happens to Vick will be one of the top story lines of 2013.

4. Hiring offensive, defensive and special-teams coordinators with NFL experience, announced Feb. 8: The main argument against Kelly is that head coaches who have never worked in the league don't tend to succeed. In hiring Pat Shurmur to run his offense, Bill Davis his defense, and Dave Fipp to run his special teams, Kelly tried to give himself as much inoculation there as possible.

5. Drafting Lane Johnson fourth overall on April 25: This was the Eagles' first top-five selection since Donovan McNabb in 1999, and they used it to try to solidify an offensive line that was injury-ravaged and horrendous for most of 2012. Johnson might need some technique work, but he should be a long-term standout, a building block for Kelly's program. If there's a 5(a), it should be bringing in Jeff Stoutland from Alabama to coach the o-line.

6. Releasing Nnamdi Asomugha and letting Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie walk in free agency: Nothing to do at cornerback but start over, even if one of the new guys seems obsessed with sconces.

7. Signing Felix Jones on May 14: Kelly's hurry-up pace will wear on LeSean McCoy. Significant veteran help here - and possibly in the return game, as well - was a solid move.

8. Signing James Casey in free agency and drafting Zach Ertz: Kelly intends to surf the new wave of offense through tight ends and H-backs, so he added two really impressive-looking ones.

9. Drafting Matt Barkley on April 27: He isn't really in the conversation for the starting job right now, but I can't shake the feeling that somehow, someday this guy will be in charge. He has an aura.

10. Releasing Nnamdi Asomugha: What, I already listed this? Yeah, so? It deserves to be listed twice.

11. Releasing Nnamdi Asomugha.

12. Releasing Nnamdi Asomugha.


On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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