The Eagles literally ran away from the Patriots en route to a shocking victory over the AFC’s best. This is a problem. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
I’ve been an Eagles fan my entire life. Never loved a sports team more than the Eagles. I paid money to join the Reggie White fan club when I was 7. Literally. It even came with a candy bar. Don’t question my loyalty to the Eagles. I love the Eagles and I want what’s best for the franchise. Not the coaches. Not the players. Not the owner. The franchise.
And that’s why I was rooting against the Eagles Sunday and will do so for the remainder of the season. Here’s my defense…
Before everyone gets too giddy about taking out the Patriots, look at that win and tell me what the Eagles did to prove they’re a good football team capable of winning a playoff game? The defense allowed 427 yards, which is two yards more than the NFL’s worst (New Orleans) allows per game. Furthermore, the Eagles committed eight penalties for 97 yards. The offense scored a measly 14 points, punted 7 times and fumbled while trying to ice the game. Did I mention New England was without 4 of its 10 best players, including 2 of its top 5 (Gronk, Hightower)? Scoring three touchdowns off returns qualifies as fluky. Sunday’s win was a fluke. Did the Eagles play well enough that they were in a position to take advantage of such good fortune? Sure. The Eagles didn’t suck Sunday. I’ll give you that.
Unfortunately, that’s where we find ourselves in 2015. The Eagles didn’t suck so we celebrate. No thanks. I want better. If the Eagles – now tied atop the NFC East and in control of their playoff destiny – somehow win the NFC East and reach the playoffs, what does that buy them? Playoff experience? Most of the team has that already. Besides, getting crushed by the Seahawks doesn’t sound like a positive experience to me. While gaining experience may be an upside to a playoff berth, look at the extensive downside.
First, Chip Kelly is absolutely back at that point. The guy that can’t draft and can’t build a competent offense with his own players returns to further damage the franchise. Also, Kelly is in charge of personnel moves. He gutted the offense of its top talent and replaced it with “character” guys that don’t move the chains or score points. He also handed out two huge free agent contracts this past offseason. Both are undisputed busts.
Second, the DeMarco Murray situation alone should force Jeffrey Lurie to take away Chip’s personnel power. There’s no question Murray has been bad this season, but who’s fault do you think that is? Did Murray all-of-sudden forget how to run the football? No. Kelly gutted one of the league’s best offensive lines and replaced the departed guards with backups and also-rans.
Quick, name the two best coaches in professional sports today. Gregg Popovich and Bill Belichick, right? Guess what both of those guys do; they don’t fit talent into their systems. They build their systems around talent. Ego doesn’t benefit a coach. Chip signed a power back and made him run stretch play after stretch play. You know who was a perfect back for Kelly’s stretch plays and quick tosses? LeSean freaking McCoy. But no, Chip didn’t like McCoy anymore so he traded him for a linebacker that couldn’t even cover New England’s 3rd string back or backup tight end. Really? You want this guy back, Philadelphia? All so you can finish 7-9 or 8-8 and get blown out by Seattle?
Third, at this point, Mr. Wizard Chip Kelly has so depleted the Eagles of talent that a top 10-15 pick would benefit the franchise more than a playoff spot, BUT only if Kelly isn’t the one making that selection. Lord knows he’d blow it on some defensive end experts had outside the 1st round (Hi, Marcus Smith) or a flimsy wide receiver unable to beat out Riley Cooper, Miles Austin or Josh Huff for snaps (Hey there, Nelson Agholor). Furthermore, what has Kelly done as far as developing talent? Matt Barkley never got better. Nick Foles only got worse. Sam Bradford has fluctuated between awful and bad. Zack Ertz doesn’t move the needle. Josh Huff and Jordan Matthews remain unimpressive in a variety of ways. Wasn’t Chip supposed to be some offensive genius? Do we really want him selecting and then handling what could be a top 10 pick?
Fourth, let’s go back to the Murray situation. Like it or not, Murray is here for at least next season and likely 2017, too. There’s no salvaging that situation as long as Kelly remains the coach. We’re three years into this and Chip has yet to make a decision from a position of humility. He’s not changing his system to fit Murray. Bring in a new coach willing to run an offense to fit the talent Lurie is paying millions instead of jamming square pegs into round holes.
You may call me a Debbie Downer or Negative Nancy, you may even try to revoke my fandom, but I love the Eagles. I’m approaching this in the same manner I parent my son. I know you won’t like this now, but I’m doing what’s best for you in the long run. The Eagles need a change before the damage is worse. Look at what Chip Kelly inherited in 2013. Jeffrey Lurie gave him a roster with young, burgeoning talent. Kelly took that talent to a division title and the playoffs. Then he began dismantling the roster player-by-player, star-by-star. If Kelly is granted another offseason to further impose his arrogance, ignorance and stupidity, who’s next out the door? Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks for Colin Kaepernick? You laugh but that’s about the equivalent of letting DeSean Jackson go for nothing and trading LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso.
No division title or playoff loss is worth Chip Kelly’s destructive carousel. The Eagles have no quarterback to build around, no game-changing talent, and the defense suffers from the same issues year after year. Kelly already ripped the house down to the studs. Get him out before he further compromises the foundation.