Season Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

Season Preview: Philadelphia Eagles
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Sports Mole previews the 2013 NFL season with a look at the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Philadelphia Eagles missed out on a place in the playoffs for the second year in a row in 2012, resulting in a change of head coach during the off-season.

Chip Kelly will take charge of his first regular season game against the Washington Redskins on Monday evening.

Sports Mole looks ahead to the new season at Lincoln Financial Field.

Head Coach: After finishing bottom of their division for the first time since 2007, the Eagles fired head coach Andy Reid at the end of last season, bringing in Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly. Kelly's coaching style has made headlines during the pre-season, with the 49-year-old bringing an eclectic high-tempo soundtrack for his players to practice to, featuring a mix of rock, dance and rap tracks. Kelly received plenty of interest from NFL teams during the off-season, having interviews at the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills as well as the Eagles.

Last Season: 4-12

Review: The Eagles started the season well, winning three of their first four games of the 2012 campaign. However, quarterback Michael Vick saw his form drop before he sustained a concussion during week 10, keeping him off the field until the final week of the season. The team went on an eight-game losing streak before backup quarterback Nick Foles secured his first win with the team in week 14. Vick returned for the last game of the regular season, but the team were thrashed 42-7 by the New York Giants.

Notable Ins: Free agent cornerback Cary Williams joined the team in March after coming to the end of his contract with the Baltimore Ravens. The 28-year-old made 74 tackles, one sack and four interceptions for the Super Bowl champions last season. The Eagles also brought in nose tackle Isaac Sopoago, who had spent the previous nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. The 31-year-old was used sparingly by the 49ers last season, starting nine games and making 27 tackles.

Notable Outs: Wide receiver Clay Harbor was released as part of the team's final cuts at the weekend. The 26-year-old recorded 421 receiving yards and scored four touchdowns during his three seasons with the team, and has since been claimed off waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also left the side. The duo made 106 tackles between them during 2012.

Key Player Offense: Michael Vick: Vick won the team's pre-season competition to be the starting quarterback during training camp. Despite struggling with injury and poor form during 2012, Vick remains a crucial part of the team's offense. In three seasons as the team's starter, the 31-year-old has completed almost 9,000 passing yards and 41 touchdown passes. Vick also poses a threat on the run, adding over 5,551 rushing yards during his 10-season career.

Key Player Defense: Kurt Coleman: The free safety has made a big impact on the team's defense since being drafted in 2010. The 25-year-old has become progressively more productive over the last three seasons, making 93 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble last season.

Rookie to watch: Lane Johnson: The Eagles used the fourth overall pick in this year's Draft to acquire Oklahoma Sooners offensive tackle Lane Johnson. The 23-year-old proved a versatile player during his college career, taking to the field at quarterback, tight end and defensive end before switching the offensive tackle in 2011. Johnson spent time practising as left and right tackle during training camp, and featured in three of the team's pre-season games.

Pre-season form: The Eagles finished their pre-season with two wins and two losses, but looked stronger as a team as the schedule progressed.

2013 prediction: The Eagles will be a much more competitive team in 2013, but they face competition from three strong teams in the NFC East. Realistically, the Eagles will spend this year rebuilding, but could cause a few surprises along the way.

DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his touchdown in the second half against the New England Patriots on August 9, 2013
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