The Bears and the Eagles have a lot of similarities right now. Both are teams with head coaches that are in their second year. Those coaches have a significant offensive focus, and they're hoping to have defenses that at least get the job done.
We took some time to ask and answer some questions. You can see the answers to his questions at BGN, and his responses are below. A big thanks to Brandon, and good luck to the Eagles until they eventually match-up with the Bears in a game that matters.
1.) Chip Kelly is about to bring year 2 of his wizardry to Philadelphia. Last year the Eagles were #2 only to Denver in terms of yards per game, and #4 (behind Denver, Chicago, and New England) in points per game.
Are you expecting more of the same in year 2, a new layer on top of what he did last year, or like Trestman in Chicago, are you seeing a re-emphasis on defense in 2014?
As long as Chip Kelly is the head coach in Philadelphia it's going to be All Offense, All The Time. The guy wants to score f***ing points. While I don't expect any dramatic changes considering the Eagles were so successful with that they did last year, there's always room for tweaks.
There hasn't been too much of an immediate focus on defense. The only new projected starter is Philly's top free agent signing in the form of safety Malcolm Jenkins. I imagine Kelly can settle with a "good enough" defense as long as his offense is top notch.
2.) Nick Foles is entering his third year - what are the realistic expectations for him? He had some concussion issues last year - is that an ongoing concern?
There almost seems to be a consensus on the realistic expectations for Nick Foles in 2014: he won't be able to replicate his 2013 season from a statistical standpoint but he'll be more improved from a fundamental standpoint. Or whatever that means. In seriousness, the expectations are still pretty high. Foles has to go out and prove last year wasn't just a one-year wonder type of situation. Even more than that, he needs to play with consistency and prove he's worth the contract extension he's eligible for after the season is over. There shouldn't be too many excuses for Foles considering the talented offensive cast surrounding him. I don't think the concussion issues are a concern.
3.) It's always terrible to see a player go to a rival - what's the feeling about DeSean Jackson escaping to Washington, and what's the expected plan to get someone to fill the shoes of last year's leading receiver?
I feel like at this point there's a lot of acceptance. Jackson is gone and he's not coming back. Chip Kelly clearly didn't want him around and feels like he doesn't need him in order to be successful. Kelly has seemingly earned a lot of trust due to his background and first-year performance, so it's hard to be super skeptical. As far as the replacement plan goes, there isn't one single option that will easily account for Jackson's lost production. It's more about a committee approach; the Eagles have a number of talented players on the offensive side of the ball to make up for Jackson's absence. Between the return of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, the acquisition of offensive weapon Darren Sproles, the development of second year tight end Zach Ertz, the drafting of Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff, and so on... the cupboard is far from bare.
4.) Any rookies that we should look for in Friday night's game, that might be turning heads in the league come September?
Second round pick Jordan Matthews is really the guy to watch. He's gotten a lot of offseason hype. Most of it has been deserved because he's looked great in training camp, but it'll be interesting to see how he looks in a real game setting. First round pick outside linebacker Marcus Smith II is another obvious choice. Both of these players should get plenty of preseason playing time because they're not running with the starters in practice yet. Smith II likely won't be a starter during the regular season but Matthews is expected to be a factor in the slot.
5.) Fantasy draft: You get to pick one Bear. Who is
Alshon Jeffrey, easily. He's only 24, has great size, and could make the Eagles offense even more dangerous.
5a.) Score Prediction
24-21, Eagles win.
5b.) Returning to the Kelly Green. I like it - your thoughts?
Far from official and I doubt it would happen any time soon... but it would be well welcomed by myself and many others. The current midnight green color isn't bad by any means but I think it's just kind of, well, boring. Kelly Green is nostalgic and exciting. The fact that a guy named Chip Kelly is the coach puts the cherry on top.