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NFL Unfiltered Week 7: Has Chip Kelly hurt Eagles' rebuilding plan?

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The Philadelphia Eagles are 3-4 and barely relevant in the porous NFC East, but many laud Chip Kelly for the team’s change in fortune.  However, in my view, Kelly’s refusal to upgrade the talent at quarterback makes this a lost season.  

Prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys, champions of Nick Foles waxed poetic about offensive rhythm.  Yet, Foles once again proved he is no more than a 2nd stringer.  

Additionally, Foles showed Kelly what head coaching in the NFL is like when you don’t have a quarterback.  Kelly experienced another “Welcome to the NFL moment,” and it’s one reason I believe he ends his NFL career sooner, rather than later.  

Time after time, Foles either short-armed throws or overthrew wide open receivers.  If it looked inept to viewers, one can only imagine how it looked to Kelly from the sidelines.  Photo: cbssports.com

If that weren’t enough, Kelly’s handpicked quarterback of the future, Matt Barkley, looked under prepared and overwhelmed.  When asked about Barkley, center Jason Kelce said, “I felt a little bad for him.”  Barkley’s play is an indictment of Kelly, his offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and quarterback coach Bill Lazor.       

Based solely on the number of missed opportunities by both quarterbacks, Kelly must believe his offensive designs are sound.  However, contrary to his original stance, he now knows you need a little more than just a body to execute them.

Kelly carries himself as if his scheme is plug and play, and that any quarterback running it is successful. That is true in college, where respectable high school players go on to become All-Americans, but the pros are entirely different.  Arrogance is never a substitute for common sense when making decisions about NFL quarterbacks.  

Like Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino before him, Kelly is learning hard lessons about how things work on Sundays. He is learning that his expertise is only part of the solution. Eventually, an NFL head coach needs a quarterback he can count on. Bill Belichick struggled to win games before Tom Brady, and Drew Brees makes Sean Payton look like a genius. When Russell Wilson arrived in Seattle, suddenly Pete Carroll is Vince Lombardi.  

By ignoring Geno Smith in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft, Kelly believed his scheme would win pro football games. But he grossly miscalculated, and now the Eagles need a quarterback of the present and the future.  

Making matters worse, tight end Zach Ertz is no factor. In actuality, he didn’t even play much until October. That is unfathomable on a team where Brent Celek is the starter. Furthermore, the youngster is now a lightning rod. If Smith becomes a real player in this league, Ertz is finished in Philly no matter what he accomplishes.    

Nevertheless, Kelly knew Michael Vick missed games and he knew Foles’ limitations. And he most certainly knew why Barkley lasted until the 4th round a year after experts projected him to go much higher.  He just didn’t believe it mattered.  

Kelly’s foolish choices place the Eagles at least a year behind in its rebuilding plan. There is no Wilson or Colin Kaepernick on the roster.  There isn’t even an E.J. Manuel or Smith, both of whom showed more ability in college than Barkley did. Not to mention, there is no proof of a good talent evaluator in the front office.  

Indeed, neither Manuel nor Smith are proven commodities. In fact, they are far from it. Still, the Bills and Jets have hope while the Eagles have nothing because Kelly believed in his system.

These college coaches will never learn.  


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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 7 

-Somewhere, Doug Flutie watches Russell Wilson play and must say to himself, “I knew a scramble offense could work!”

-Never forget, Chip Kelly thinks the NFL draft is overrated.  

-For some quarterbacks, it takes defensive coordinators an entire off-season to get a better understanding of how to slow them down. For Nick Foles, it always takes about two weeks.

-When you ask people if Michael Vick can play, the answer is always “yeah, but?”  But if you ask if Foles can play the response is, “the offense runs more efficiently!”  That suggests Foles can’t play, doesn’t it? Peyton Manning photo: USAToday.com

-Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay received a lot of criticism for comments he made about Peyton Manning.  What is it about Manning that makes him above reproach? 

-If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Mike Singletary, is making the quarterback decisions for the Eagles.  

-On perhaps Foles’ best throw, Cowboys’ rookie safety J.J. Wilcox deflected the pass away just before DeSean Jackson gathered it in.  A terrific play that isn’t made nearly enough in the pros.  

-The Chiefs are a good football team and Andy Reid deserves credit, but Alex Smith’s regression proves Reid is not keen on cultivating quarterbacks.  It’s fair to say Donovan McNabb won games in spite of, not because of Reid.  

-Now that Cris Carter is in the Hall of Fame, he seems a lot more comfortable making inflammatory statements- though he still doesn’t provide a lot of analysis.

-Some dudes are better off left alone. Panthers’ wide receiver Steve Smith, is one of them.  When he’s interested, he’s either going to score touchdowns or break your jaw.  Maybe both.  Check out his most recent post game interview.  

 

 

 

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention. His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

 

Contact Earl at emyersiii@gmail.com  and follow him on Twitter @EMyersIII

 

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Chip Kelly photo: USATodaysports.com

Manning photo: USAToday.com