PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – At times, it seemed like the Eagles were a team of destiny. A lucky bounce here and there, a convenient injury to an opponent, the top rated passer in the NFL, and the leading rusher. After going 7-1 down the stretch to make the playoffs, a team who was once thought to be rebuilding, was all of a sudden the team “no one wants to face” on the playoffs.
And then, with a field goal, the Saints ended that stretch of good luck. The Eagles battled, and had a fourth quarter lead, but ultimately lost to a better team on Saturday.
Still, there are things to build on. One of those things is quarterback Nick Foles. The second year QB tied a record for TD passes in one game, set a record for QB rating in a calendar month, set a record for TD to interception ratio, and had the third best QB rating of all-time.
“I think Nick [Foles] had an outstanding season. I still think people forget how young Nick is. I think he—I don’t know the exact number of how many games he started the year before, but he didn’t start a full season for us,” Eagles head coach Chip Kelly told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Monday. “It’s a brand new system for him, but to do what Nick did in that amount of time, I hope people really, truly appreciate what he did because it was pretty special.”
Those who doubted whether Kelly could make the switch from Oregon to the NFL were proven wrong by Kelly, who says he has no regrets.
“I feel good about it. I think there was a lot of unknowns and that’s what made the decision very difficult. I had a great, great situation at Oregon because of the people that I worked with and the players I had an opportunity to coach. It was exciting every single day for me to go to work at Oregon and that was a big unknown [in the NFL]. I had the greatest thing in the world, why did I leave that? I left because of the challenge to coach in this league, but the people part of it I didn’t know. I found that somewhat exciting, but still not sure what it was going to be like. And I think from a people standpoint—and I hope the people understand how special the players on this team are,” Kelly said. “They’ve been fantastic since the day I had the opportunity to really sit down and talk with them on April 1st. The DeMeco Ryans’, the Jason Kelces’, the Michael Vicks’, and the Nick Foles’, and it goes on and on and on. That part has been fantastic. I think we have a great staff that works very, very well together and then this city is absolutely amazing. I saw some people yesterday, just when I went to the store, that were very, very appreciative of our season. I watched, I listened to our fans applaud us when we walked off the field. It’s a special city, so I’m, excited to be here.”
While he is proud of the team and what they accomplished, the fact that the season is over will be tough for Kelly to swallow.
“The biggest thing is you can’t feel bad for yourself after a loss because you have another one coming up. You got to shake it off and move on to the next one,” Kelly said. “You kind of have a system on how that works, and you can get right into it. So we would be game planning for our next opponent and you know, you got to learn from what you did the week before and move on and now when you lose the last one, it just sticks with you.”
So, what next? After a couple of days of wrapping up 2013, the Eagles will look toward 2014. Free agency is on the way, including some players on the Eagles that will have to be re-signed or bid farewell. The draft, now in May, will be a key part in building next season’s team as well.
“We need to get bigger, yeah, everywhere,” Kelly said. “We need to get taller, longer. I look at our team and there are certain spots where we definitely need to improve from a physical standpoint.”