Chip Kelly handcrafted the 2015 Eagles to contend for a title. Mission failed. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
[I’ve been entertaining visitors or traveling and being entertained as a visitor for the entire month of October. Now I’m back and left with nothing to do but watch 7-10 NFL games each week. Let’s get back in the groove by laughing at the Eagles.]
1. The rumors of Chip Kelly taking his smoothies to Nashville have already begun. This is the most exciting thing to happen to the Eagles since DeSean Jackson’s rookie season. If Jeffrey Lurie can pry a high pick from the Titans in exchange for the overrated oompa loompa he currently employs as head coach, then by all means pull the trigger. Like, right now. The Eagles defense is good enough to bring in a new coach and remain competitive. Just let Chip move along and exit Philadelphia. If he doesn’t want to move along… push him.
2. It’s hard to believe, but there are people still talking themselves into Sam Bradford. “Receivers dropping passes have hurt him.” “He’s getting better every week.” Blah, blah, blah. First, yes, Eagle receivers have been horrendous this season. They drop passes every week and at the worst times. However, some of those drops are due to errant throws. Should they be caught? Sure, but passes thrown a yard behind a streaking receiver make life difficult for said receiver. It’s the receiver’s fault, but it’s also Bradford’s.
Second, Bradford’s “improvement” is equivalent to removing cockroaches from your home while still dealing with mice. Sure, there’s improvement, but things aren’t good. Bradford’s “better” is an average NFL quarterback’s bad day. Nothing about Bradford’s season makes me believe he’s a good quarterback. I’d rather roll the dice with Mark Sanchez.
3. My favorite line of the NFL season was Chris Collinsworth crediting Byron Maxwell with his best game of the season against the Carolina Panthers. Gee, way to go, Byron. The Eagles didn’t pay $60 million for Maxwell to have his best day against Corey Graham. I didn’t even know who Graham was before that game. Collinsworth’s praise epitomized Chip Kelly’s offseason.
4. Chip Kelly’s offensive draft picks have been underachievers. In his three drafts, Kelly has nabbed offensive players with four of the team’s top six picks. Lane Johnson has developed into a fine offensive tackle, though not quite as dominant as one would hope for a tackle taken with the 4th overall pick in the draft.
Then there’s Zack Ertz and Jordan Matthews; 2nd round picks from consecutive drafts that were supposed to take over the offense this season. Ertz is about 18 months overdue on his “breakout” season. At this point, he’s more LJ Smith than Chad Lewis or even Brent Celek.
Matthews was the darling of training camp and preseason. He’s followed that up with a dismal 2015 season, dropping critical passes and struggling to get open. He’s currently 38th in the league in receiving yards. He has one touchdown. I laughed when the Eagles deemed him the team’s top receiver. When was the last time a slot receiver carried an offense? Matthews was fine as a 2nd or 3rd option, but making him your primary receiver was a pipe dream.
Then there’s Nelson Agholor, the phenom out of USC taken with the 17th pick in the 2015 draft. It’s been a bad year for rookie receivers. Of the receivers taken after Agholor, only Stefon Diggs stands out, and he was taken way back in the 5th round. I’m not going to judge Chip for Algholor’s disappearing act this season – 8 REC, 105 YDS – because receivers rarely blossom in year one. But perhaps that pick could have been used elsewhere? Maybe?
While we’re here, let’s throw in Josh Huff. Though he missed the cut as a top two pick, he’s also been a nobody in Chip Kelly’s offense since he was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 draft. I thought Chip knew how to make Oregon guys NFL stars?
The 2015 Eagles offense was handcrafted by Chip Kelly. His free agents. His draft picks. His quarterback. The offense ranks outside the top 15 in almost every statistically category except passing yards per game, where they rank 12th. Job well done, Chip. Please go to Tennessee now.