By Vince Quinn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Every team in sports has a window and—in the case of the Eagles—their window to win a title closes after the next two seasons. I understand that on the surface this is not a popular opinion, so allow me to explain before the tar boils and the feathers are plucked.
When a team’s window is discussed in the realm of the NFL the most common thing associated with how much time they have left is based on the age of the quarterback. The Cowboys, for example, are considered to have a few years left because Tony Romo is 33 years old (feel free to giggle). Therefore, the Eagles would have a huge window to win because Nick Foles is only 25 years old. This is wrong.
Given that football is considered “the ultimate team sport”, it’s absurd to attach a team’s window to a single player. Instead, it’s smarter to consider the construction of the entire team and the coaching philosophy used to help that team win. Consider the Denver Broncos. When John Fox began his tenure there Tim Tebow was his starting quarterback and they played what was a laughable, ancient form of football. Now, they’re one of the best offenses in the history of the game. Same coach, different build, and different window.
That’s where the Eagles come in to play. Examining the team as they’re currently built, the Eagles are concentrated on the run. How much so? They had the 4th most attempts in the league last season with 500. This makes plenty of sense when you consider that the Eagles have arguably the best offensive line in football and the reigning rushing champ in LeSean McCoy. However, like taking a picture at a family reunion where everyone has their eyes open, the timing is only perfect for so long.
McCoy just turned 26 this month and is undeniably in his prime as an NFL running back. Shady is the king. Now while I’m a huge supporter of Chip Kelly and his innovations for fitness and health, I have my concerns as to what roughly 350 touches a year will do to him long-term. I expect him to be a great back over the next two or three seasons, but then show some signs of wear at age 28 or 29.
It’s convenient then that the Eagles currently have the best offensive line in football. They’re big, mobile, and genuinely talented across the board. As someone who loves offensive line play I can’t state enough how fortunate the Eagles are to have this group. They’re special. However, the two best lineman on the team—Jason Peters and Evan Mathis—are 32 and Todd Herremans, who has already showed signs of decline, is 31.
When you see how the timelines likely overlap, it’s then fair to say that the heart of the Eagles’ attack has probably two more years of optimal performance left. The window will then close for the team as it’s built and Chip Kelly will have to adjust his game plan to reflect the roster as it stands in 2016. A new window will open.
Can Chip beat the clock?
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