Eagles complete remarkable turnaround, look ahead
By the time they reached the locker room after winning the NFC
East title and completing a worst-to-first journey under rookie
coach Chip Kelly, the Philadelphia Eagles already were thinking
ahead to their playoff opponent.
They’ll have plenty of time to reflect on their accomplishments
”The way they shifted their focus to the next game just minutes
after we won was most impressive to me,” general manager Howie
Roseman said Monday night on his radio show.
The Eagles went from 4-12 to 10-6, a remarkable turnaround after
a miserable ending with Andy Reid last year. The makeover started
with the hiring of Kelly, the hotshot college coach who needed
convincing to leave Oregon.
While most people outside the organization expected this to be a
rebuilding season in Philadelphia, players and coaches bought into
Kelly’s way right from the start and accelerated the process.
”It was evident to me on April 1 when I got here with these
guys and got a chance to be with them for the first day that they
were kind of the mind-set: `Whatever it takes, what do you want us
to do and where do we got to be and how are we going to do it,’ and
that’s a credit to them,” Kelly said.
”That’s why we are where we are, because they are the ones that
play. They are the ones that go out there every single day. They
are the ones that train. They are the ones that have done
everything as a staff that we have asked them to do and the results
are everything that they put into, and that’s the great thing about
this game is that you can’t fake football. You get out of it
exactly what you put into it and these guys put in an unbelievable
effort and it’s paying off for them on the field.”
The Eagles advanced by beating Dallas 24-22 and will host the
New Orleans Saints (11-5) on Saturday night in their first playoff
game since Michael Vick threw an interception in the end zone in
the final minute of a 21-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Jan.
Win or lose, it’s been a successful season. But nobody is
thinking that way around here.
”That’s not how we are built or wired,” Kelly said. ”It’s
what’s the next challenge and what’s the next opportunity, and the
great thing about where we are right now is if you win, you get to
play again. So I think if you get caught up looking back at what
happened or where you were, I think that’s just not how we’re
The Eagles are 2 1/2-point favorites over New Orleans. A wins
sends them to Carolina (12-4) on Jan. 12. But they have to beat
Drew Brees and the Saints first. Everyone from Kelly and Roseman to
owner Jeffrey Lurie have already called on fans to be loud and make
it an uncomfortable environment for the Saints, who were 3-5 on the
”I think this is big for the city and for this franchise,” NFL
rushing champion LeSean McCoy said. ”It’s amazing that this is
Coach Kelly’s first year and we made the playoffs. We’re going in
the right direction, but everyone knows that each week is
important. We can’t get too hyped about this game. We’re in the
playoffs, but we should be in the playoffs. We should be the
division champs. Now we have to go out there and get it done
It took some record-setting performances for the Eagles to get
this far this fast. McCoy had a franchise-best 1,607 yards rushing
and 2,146 yards from scrimmage. Nick Foles had the best
TD-interception ratio (13:5-1) in NFL history, the third-highest
passer rating (119.2) in league history and the club’s best
completion percentage (64.04). The offense set team records for
(442), total net yards (6,676), touchdowns (53), and gross yards
And, they’re not done yet.
”Chip and the coaching staff have done a great job,” Foles
said. ”The players have done a great job of buying in and when
adversity happens, guys really stay together. We lean on each
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