EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Eagles finished the regular season with a record of 7-9 after a 35-30 win Sunday against the New York Giants. Here are five questions facing the Eagles this offseason:
Who is the coach? The firing of Chip Kelly last week made this the dominant question about this organization. Owner Jeff Lurie just went through a fairly in-depth process three years ago, interviewing several interesting candidates. He will do the same again. The best guess is that he will go with a more traditional hire, either a former head coach or a coordinator ready to make the jump. That person --whether it's Adam Gase, Doug Pederson, Josh McDaniels or Sean McDermott -- will create a more traditional NFL environment. The players will welcome that with open arms.
Is Howie Roseman calling the shots or will a new general manager have real clout? This is vital, because Kelly was responsible for letting a lot of talented players walk out the door of the NovaCare Complex: DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin were just the most obvious names. Kelly wasn't as adept at replenishing that pool of talent. The next couple of drafts and free-agency periods are going to determine whether the Eagles start moving in the right direction or are mired in mediocrity. Whether it's Roseman or a new face, there is considerable risk in this decision.
What happens with Sam Bradford? If the Eagles had been adroit enough to extend Bradford's contract after trading for him, the matter would be settled. And a new coach could do worse than implementing his offense with Bradford at quarterback. While he certainly showed flashes in Kelly's offense, Bradford should still be better served by a more traditional NFL scheme. But if he doesn't want to commit, or if the new coach isn't impressed, there should be interesting alternatives this offseason. Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III are a couple of intriguing names that could supplement a less-than-rich crop of draft-eligible college QBs. The new head coach will have to make this pretty significant decision almost immediately.
Will the Eagles go back to a 4-3 defense? Kelly's commitment to a 3-4 caused the Eagles to move a lot of players around. A new defensive coach, whether it's Carolina's Sean McDermott as head coach or a coordinator, is apt to want to go back to a 4-3. Fortunately for the Eagles, some of their 4-3 scheme players are still around. Fletcher Cox has excelled as a 3-4 end, but he would likely still be even more effective as a 4-3 tackle. Vinny Curry would have a place to play. The new coach would have to sort through the linebackers -- Mychal Kendricks could move to the weak side with Kiko Alonso in the middle -- but that's not as big a challenge as scrapping the 4-3 was.
Can the offensive skill players thrive in a different offense? Kelly always said he built his offense around the players he had available. That did not appear to be the case in 2015. Or maybe the players -- DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews and others -- just aren't good enough. They have a chance to reach their potential in a new offense, assuming the new coach is adept at playing to their strengths and is able to integrate a quality quarterback. If that is Sam Bradford, at least he would have a year's experience working with these running backs and receivers. If not, it has to be someone at least as effective.