By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles have arrived at a well-placed bye week. Sitting in first place, the Eagles know that when they return to the field in two weeks they will be no worse than tied for first place with a manageable schedule awaiting them the rest of the way. How head coach Chip Kelly handles the bye week preparations will be a key for the first year NFL coach, but the situation the Eagles sit in now is much better than most may have expected at the start of the season. And now, they will have a chance to rest up for the final stretch that could lead to a postseason entry.
The Eagles have found a quarterback they can feel good having on the field, the league’s leading rusher leads the offense and the defense has improved week by week. The Kelly offense is coming along nicely, even if Nick Foles is not considered the ideal quarterback to lead it but Kelly has been silencing critics as he keeps the Eagles loose and ready to strike.
Kelly is a stud, not a dud. The truth is, there may not be many duds on this Eagles team right now with the Birds exceeding expectations of NFL experts. Will that continue after the bye week?
Here is a look at some of the players having the best season for the Eagles, and a couple who just have not been enjoying the same level of success for one reason or another.
Nick Foles, Quarterback: Foles has really come on strong over the past few weeks, settling the quarterback debate win after win. With his recent success, Foles is making a strong case to remain the team’s franchise quarterback in 2014 and beyond. Foles has been smart with his passes and has yet to be intercepted by an opposing defense.
LeSean McCoy, Running Back: McCoy enters the bye week as the NFL’s leading rusher, the only player to go over 1,000 rushing yards at this point. McCoy has rushed for just five touchdowns this season and he has just one touchdown reception but his flexibility on Chip Kelly’s offense has been an asset.
Bill Davis, Defensive Coordinator: The Eagles may not be ranked very high in total defense in the NFL, but something should be said about the way the defense has improved as the season has progressed. The Eagles have held their opponent to 20 points or fewer in six straight games, a far cry from when the team was shredded by Denver for 52 points in September.
Mike Vick, Quarterback: Vick may have had a good start to the year, but injuries and a lack of red zone production have left him playing the role of a veteran hoping for one more chance. That chance does not appear to be coming with Foles playing well.
Patrick Chung, Free Safety: Chung has been showing up on the injury report all season long and has had little impact on the defensive secondary this season. Chung was one of the players Kelly wanted to keep on the team though, perhaps because he is a former Oregon Duck.
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.