When head coach Andy Reid first brought the Eagles to the playoffs in 2000, many felt the team was building something special. In an 11-5 season, Donovan McNabb had emerged as a real threat at quarterback in just his second season in the league, and a stifling veteran defense led by Brian Dawkins terrorized offenses throughout the league.
In Chip Kelly’s first year as head coach, the Eagles went 10-6 and nearly knocked off the veteran Saints in the divisional round. Expectations are high Kelly can repeat the success of last season and take this group to the next level.
“Last year was the beginning of something special,” said running back LeSean McCoy. “We’re working hard through dedicating ourselves and this is the first time since I’ve been on the team that everyone’s really bought into the program. We want to win. ... I think it’s realistic to say that this team can go somewhere special.”
McCoy, who led the league in rushing with 1,607 yards in 2013, will be leaned on heavily to repeat this type of performance on the ground, while quarterback Nick Foles looks to do it through the air. His 2013 season will go down as one of the best in NFL history, but he’s not thinking about that right now.
“The numbers I put up last year have zero effect on what I’m going to do this year,” said Foles. “You can’t let one season affect how you’re going to play the next year. Everyone is 0-0 with high expectations and I’m going to play like it’s a new year.”
Many are labeling this team the favorites to win the NFC East, despite the brutal schedule ahead of them. McCoy is fine with that label.
“To me we’re always the favorites,” said McCoy. “I think we’re going to be a good team with the players we got in the offseason. I think coach Chip and [general manager] Howie [Roseman] did a great job of getting these guys together. I’m confident as a group that we have all the necessary pieces to be a great team.”