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A letter of apology to Chip Kelly: NFL Unfiltered Week 17

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 Today is not the day to analyze the way the Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC East division title over the Dallas Cowboys.  And today is certainly not the day to discuss the team’s good fortune or weak opponents throughout the second half of the season.  

Instead, head coach Chip Kelly deserves all the accolades that come with winning 10 games and making the playoffs.  

With that in mind, and with my tail placed squarely between my legs, the final NFL Unfiltered of the 2013 regular season is a letter to Kelly.  

Dear Coach,

Let me begin by saying congratulations on a terrific season.  I am not sure if you are aware of this, but I did not think you were a good hire.  Not because of your football acumen or ability to lead men, I just thought you were wishy-washy when deciding to come to Philly and I thought the city deserved better.  

I also thought you were running away from Oregon and I saw you as a college coach who only won when he had a decided talent advantage.  

Even in a division as bad as the NFC East, I never thought your team could win more than 6 games with you at the helm.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Photo: cbssports.com

Your offensive system baffled and befuddled many a defensive coordinator and more importantly, you recognized early on that LeSean McCoy was far and away your team’s best player.  That’s something your predecessor never seemed to understand.  

Additionally, you figured out a way to get two players with limited skills (wide receiver Riley Cooper and quarterback Nick Foles) to look like all-pros. That is nothing more than an excellent scheme.  

Most importantly, you kept wide receiver DeSean Jackson engaged all season long.  And as any Eagles fan will tell you, keeping Jackson interested for more than two weeks is challenging.  

In fact, your birds were so impressive at times, it made the games in which they struggled mind-boggling.  Let’s chalk that up to individual matchups and the natural ebb and flow of a 17-week schedule.  

It is impossible to say where things will go from here because after all, your ability to evaluate talent is still in question and your general manager is unproven on draft day.  But you did a excellent job in your first season, and achieved far more success than I thought possible.  

Now, the NFL’s second season begins and your squad drew its most advantageous opponent of any of the playoff qualifiers.  I hate to say it, but quite frankly, this is a game you should win.  

Your opponent this week, the New Orleans Saints, are essentially the Dallas Cowboys when forced to play in the elements, especially the northeast in January. So this is an excellent chance for you to add an exclamation point to your already remarkable first season.  

Again, congratulations for winning a division title; I was wrong to doubt you.  

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 17 

-The idea one playoff team should fear another is absurd. There is no such thing as “the team nobody wants to play.”  That is a fictitious narrative created to garner more interest in a sport that doesn’t need any help.  

-Coaching challenges are so confusing. Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith challenged a play in the 1st quarter for no apparent reason.  The replay clearly showed the official got the call correct.  It’s hard to tell whether coaches are inept or simply guessing when they throw those red flags.  

-It doesn’t matter that tailback Steven Jackson struggled with injuries, or how good you think Matt Ryan is.  No team should pass almost 70% of the time over an entire season. In fact, 60% is probably too much.  

-The next time you hear the NFL is a passing league, consider this stat: Of the top 10 teams in percentage of pass plays the last two seasons, only 3 of 20 teams the playoffs.  Conversely, 11 of the 20 teams least likely to pass from 2012-2013, made the tournament.  

-We often here about the importance of preparation in the NFL. Perhaps the reason we see teams struggle against backups late in the season is the fact you cannot prepare for 20 players who have never played a real game together.  

-Regardless what Stanford’s David Shaw and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin say about staying at their respective schools, they both are every bit as qualified as Chip Kelly a year ago.  In Shaw’s case, even more so. They’ve both earned a Kelly-like courtship and hiring.  

-Aaron Rodgers certainly makes the Green Bay Packers dangerous, but his offense must tangle with three of the best and most physical defenses in the league in San Francisco, Seattle and Carolina. If that happens, Rodgers is unquestionably the best quarterback of his era.  

-He obviously needs the money, but Terrell Owens’ new Carl’s Jr. commercial is dead wrong.  Prior to his televised ab crunches, this city embraced him like few athletes in the history of Philadelphia sports. 


 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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Article photo- CBSSports.com