Believe it or not, the beginning of the 2014 season is rapidly approaching. Players will report back to the NovaCare Complex on April 21 for the start of the offseason program. Join us as we count down the days until the Eagles are back in town ...
Michael Vick entered the 2013 regular season as the Eagles starting quarterback and immediately showed what kind of damage he could do with his legs thanks to all the space created by Chip Kelly's spread offense. In fact, prior to suffering a hamstring injury in Week 5 against the New York Giants that would ultimately cost Vick his starting spot, he was averaging 8.5 yards per rush, the highest mark since his rookie season in 2001. He also broke the longest run of his career this season, a 61-yard sprint against the Kansas City Chiefs.
First Player To Wear 85: John Shonk (1941)
Current Eagle To Wear 85: James Casey (2013-present)
James Casey came to the Eagles as the first free-agent signing of the Chip Kelly era. He was lauded as a Swiss Army Knife-type of player who would create matchup problems for the defense and contribute as a tight end, fullback and wide receiver. Casey's role on the team shifted, however, with the emergence of rookie tight end Zach Ertz. He was a special teams staple throughout the season and, though only registering three receptions (all first downs) for 31 yards, eventually took on an important role in the offense – as a blocker. It started against the Detroit Lions in the famed Snow Bowl, when Kelly adjusted rushing formations to combat the weather and slow down a Lions front-seven that had been stuffing running back LeSean McCoy all game.
After the insertion of Casey, the Eagles run game took off, as McCoy broke the franchise single-game record with 217 yards and the team rushed for 299 yards total against the Lions. The trend continued over the final three games of the regular season, as McCoy averaged 5.7 yards per carry and broke the 100-yard barrier twice, en route to leading the NFL in rushing.