On the morning of Thanksgiving 2014 I was filled with an incredible level of optimism. I was on my way to my Aunt’s house for dinner and was ready to watch the trio of football games. However, this year was different. For the first time in a number of years my Philadelphia Eagles were playing on Thanksgiving Day. The Eagles were 8-3 and were taking on the Dallas Cowboys in a battle for the division lead. By the end of the evening the Eagles, led by Mark Sanchez, had put a 33-10 beat down on the Cowboys. It was the most impressive win of the Chip Kelly era and it seemed like the Eagles were a shoe-in for the playoffs. Of course, we all know how this story ends. The Eagles choked away the division lead by going 1-3 over their last four games to miss the playoffs. 364 days later (Thanksgiving was on the 27th last year) the woeful Eagles will prepare to do battle against the hapless Lions.
What has happened to this franchise? There was never more love for Chip Kelly and the Eagles one year ago and now we know this team is finished. It seems like every day there is a new rumor about players not liking Kelly or players not liking the effort of teammates. Even though it is one month before Christmas, I have decided to visit the past and future for the Eagles like in “A Christmas Carol.” For this Eagles franchise, the immediate past is quite horrifying.
Now I can walk through the countless moves that Chip Kelly has made since he has gotten hear. Quite frankly, I don’t disagree with all of them. Releasing Desean Jackson is one in particular that I don’t mind. He is not a good man and he has not made a great difference for the franchise in Washington. This past off-season has been more of the issue. One of the biggest trades of the off-season was that of Lesean McCoy. He was the NFL rushing leader two seasons ago under Chip Kelly and he gets traded for a linebacker in Kiko Alonso that can’t stay healthy and isn’t as good as Jordan Hicks or Mychal Kendricks. So you effectively traded for a backup linebacker by giving up your starting running back. Chip Kelly also decided that with all of the money he got from the Alonso trade to sign DeMarco Murray, while letting Jeremy Maclin walk. I think that DeMarco Murray is a heck of a running back but he cannot run in this system and it is obvious. Ryan Matthews has been the superior runner all season but Chip Kelly refuses to give him the ball more. Kelly decided that Nelson Agholor would be able to fill the void Maclin left but that clearly has not worked. I honestly do not have too much of an issue with the Bradford trade, other than giving up a second rounder, because Nick Foles was just not the answer. But if you want to have damaged goods at the quarterback position, don’t ignore the offensive line in the draft and cut two of your starters.
There have also been other moves outside of this off-season that have been questionable. The biggest of all of the moves was the drafting of Marcus Smith. I swear this guy has set the record for the most times being a healthy scratch for a first round pick. If you knew that Nick Foles was not the answer, why not draft Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater who were taken later. Outside of Jordan Matthews and Jordan Hicks, Kelly has basically missed on every other pick he has made in the past two drafts. All of these moves have crippled the franchise as they have not been able to find stability at quarterback or fill key needs in other places.
It is tough for me to say but the Eagles future is not too bright. They have been very mediocre since Donovan McNabb left. They have had some good seasons but have not won a playoff game since 2008. And until they find a franchise quarterback why shouldn’t I expect more of the same. I think that Chip Kelly is a good coach. Yes, you read that right. He has just killed himself with bad moves. Because of this, he will not be here much longer. I can’t see a future with him here outside of one to two more years at the most. With the uncertainty of when a franchise quarterback will get here, it is hard to put a timetable on when they will be a serious contender again. But I don’t think it will be for a couple of seasons.
Brace yourselves for another long winter in Philadelphia.