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NFL Unfiltered Week 2: Is Chip Kelly's quarterback more important than his system?

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Going into Thursday’s game, the Philadelphia Eagles are 1-1 after their 33-30 loss to the San Diego Chargers but head coach Chip Kelly remains atop the list of the single greatest offensive minds in the history of the sport.  At least for another week.

Yes, that is said in jest, but the Eagles’ offense is definitely going to score so long as quarterback Michael Vick is the starter.  

Still, tempo isn’t the reason Kelly will succeed or fail at the highest level of football- talent is.  And despite Vick’s excellent start, at 33 years old, he is not a part of the team’s future.  He is merely a nice bridge to the next quarterback.  Photo: cbssports.com

Consider, in the last 30 years a number of prolific, high-scoring offenses sent defensive coordinators searching for answers. The run and shoot, Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh’s 49ers offense, and the real West Coast Offense, made famous by former San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Cardinals head coach Don Coryell, to name a few.

But those offenses terrorized defenders because of quarterback royalty as much as revolutionary schematics.  

Remember, every transcendent offense since 1980 had an all-time great quarterback running it. The list is nearly a Mount Rushmore of NFL quarterbacks.  Joe Montana brought Walsh’s vision to life, Dan Fouts’ play birthed the nickname “Air” Coryell and Warren Moon transformed the run and shoot from gimmick to viable NFL offense.

Where is Kelly’s Hall of Fame quarterback coming from?  Can you count on general manager Howie Roseman’s ability to evaluate talent?  It doesn’t sound like it.   

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the Eagles decided against trading for Colin Kaepernick in the spring of 2012 because they were confident in their ability to draft Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson.

Fast forward to today and the Eagles have neither player, but they do have Nick Foles and Matt Barkley.  Not quite the same level, is it?  

This is not to suggest a team needs a great quarterback to win a championship.  They don’t, as former pro signal callers Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson attest.  But if 30 years from now we’re waxing poetic about how Kelly changed offense in the NFL, we’ll do it because of the quarterback that executed it.

Contrary, to what talk show hosts, game analysts and coaches say, there is some simplicity to NFL success.  If you have a good quarterback, you’re going to win football games.  

So Kelly and Roseman must prove they can find and develop a quarterback, something Bill Walsh believed only few people in the world could do successfully.  

For all of the talk about Kelly’s innovation, his ultimate success depends on the Eagles’ chief talent evaluator.  

Based on Schefter’s report, that’s a scary proposition.  

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 2 

-Apparently, Chip Kelly thinks the NFL draft is the most overrated aspect of football.  There is nothing overrated about the NFL’s lone means to acquiring inexpensive talent?  

-Credit to Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter for acknowledging the fact that Ndamukong Suh is an average defensive tackle right now.  

-The most interesting thing about quarterback Josh Freeman missing the Buccaneers’ team photo, is the fact head coach Greg Schiano didn’t wait for him.  I can’t imagine the Redskins taking a team picture without Robert Griffin III, no matter the circumstances. Freeman is about one more start from being a journeyman like David Carr.

-Eagles’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson runs about two routes and the Chargers still couldn’t cover him.  Defensive coordinator John Pagano never adjusted.

-Chargers’ head coach Mike McCoy asked for a measurement late in the 4th quarter on a play that finished a full yard short.  A very smart game management decision to get his offense a minute to catch their breaths.   

-They led 14-0, 21-0 and 24-3 at home, but the Falcons attempted 43 passes and only 16 rushes keeping the Rams in the game.  Disgraceful, and it doesn’t matter that starting running back Steven Jackson left the game early in the 1st quarter.  

-Since his 78-yard touchdown on the Vikings’ first offensive play of the season, running back Adrian Peterson has 43 carries for 115 yards. No wonder he volunteered for a drug test before this season.

-Memo to quarterback Robert Griffin III: true leaders never have to talk about their leadership methods.  

-Until they show more in road games, the Seahawks are a five loss team in my view.

-The major difference between the 49ers and the Seahawks is the running backs.  Frank Gore is finished, Marshawn Lynch isn’t.   

-It’s fascinating how one decision changes the fortune of an entire franchise.  In 2011 The Bengals had a choice between two quarterbacks—Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick—they chose Dalton.  Now you see why owners act so irrationally.  When you look at the rosters of both teams, you realize that blunder probably cost the Bengals a Super Bowl. 

 

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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Photo: cbssports.com