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Are You Serious? 10 Facts About The Eagles

Posted Sep 2, 2014

1. What's Next For The Offense?

There are plenty of reasons for optimism when it comes to the Eagles’ offense in 2014, with LeSean McCoy coming off a career season and Nick Foles moving forward off his historic 27-touchdown, two-interception season. But after the Eagles set franchise records in points scored (442) and touchdowns (53) during the 2013 season, all eyes will be on Chip Kelly’s offense with Week 1.

2. Shady's March Toward History

He’s only 26 years old, but LeSean McCoy has already established himself as one of the best running backs in franchise history. By the end of the season, he may have that title all to himself. After his league-leading 1,607 rushing yards in 2013, McCoy needs 1,066 rushing yards to pass Wilbert Montgomery as the Eagles’ all-time rushing leader. McCoy has topped that rushing total in three of his first five seasons.

3. Foles Marches Forward

Through just his first two seasons in the NFL, Nick Foles has already placed himself among the elite young quarterbacks in league history. You already know last year’s numbers were historic, but Foles’ place in history is just as impressive when you combine his first two seasons together. In NFL history, only five quarterbacks have started at least 10 games in the first two seasons and registered a quarterback rating over 100. Foles ranks fourth on that list with a 101.0 rating, behind only Hall-of-Famer Otto Graham, likely Hall-of-Famer Kurt Warner and Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino. Russell Wilson, Foles’ 2012 draft classmate, is the final member of the club.

4. Can The Defense Keep Turning It Over?

While the Eagles’ defense might not have been as impressive as the offense in 2013, they were just as integral to the NFC East championship in one vital area – turnovers. The Eagles ranked tied for fourth in the league last season with a plus-12 turnover differential, thanks to 31 takeaways by Bill Davis’ defense (tied for third-most takeaways). Those numbers are in stark contrast to 2011 and 2012, when the Eagles were second-to-last and last in the league in turnover margin, respectively.

5. Defensive Iron Men

Partly as a byproduct of the Eagles’ up-tempo and super-productive offense, several members of the Eagles’ defense were counted upon to be iron men last season. As a result, three players led the league in snaps at their respective positions: Connor Barwin’s 1,158 snaps were tops among 3-4 outside linebackers, Cary Williams’ 1,167 were the most for a cornerback and DeMeco Ryans’ 1,189 were the most not only among all inside linebackers but among all defensive players in the league. With a deeper defense in 2014, look for defensive coordinator Bill Davis to make sure his go-to guys are fresher down the stretch.

6. New Man On The Line

The Eagles had the fortune in 2013 of all five members of the starting offensive line to start all 16 games together – a far cry from the injury-ravaged 2012 unit. But with Lane Johnson out for the first four weeks of the season, Allen Barbre will be the man to start at right tackle in Week 1.

7. A Talented Roster

Beyond standouts likes Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, DeMeco Ryans and Jason Peters, the depth of the Eagles’ roster is highlighted by the presence of seven former first-round picks. Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson and Marcus Smith II were all drafted by the Eagles, but they’ve been joined by two free agents this offseason – safety Malcolm Jenkins and quarterback Mark Sanchez.

8. Return Of The Mac

After a 2013 season lost to injury, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin returns to the fold for the Eagles to boost productivity on the outside. The physical Maclin is always a willing blocker, but he’s also a deep threat who has performed since joining the Eagles as a rookie in 2009. After his healthy 2012 season, Maclin became only the eighth player in NFL history to record at least 55 catches and 750 yards in each of his first four seasons.

9. A New Threat Out Of The Backfield

No one has been more vocal about the plusses of adding another threat in the backfield than LeSean McCoy, who said this summer that he wouldn’t mind being fresher down the stretch of the season. That addition came in the form of the elusive Darren Sproles, the league’s premier receiver out of the backfield since 2007. Over that time, Sproles leads all running backs with 375 catches, 3,371 receiving yards and 27 receiving touchdowns.

10. The Dusty Duo

Todd Herremans and Trent Cole have been together for a long time. Since the two joined the Eagles as fourth- and fifth-round picks in the 2005 NFL Draft (so Herremans can say he’s slightly longer tenured), they’ve combined to play 259 games for the Eagles. As far as draft classmates go, that’s the fourth-highest total in franchise history. With a healthy 2014, they’ll pass Tra Thomas and Jeremiah Trotter for third on the all-time list (282) while closing in on Brian Dawkins and Jermane Mayberry (295). The 1973 draft class sets the standard with Randy Logan and Guy Morriss combining for 317 games played.

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