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Chip Kelly's Eagle-centric ways hurting the Birds - NFL Unfiltered Week 11


Based on his press conferences and the power he wields within the NovaCare complex, Chip Kelly’s ego is as vast as his knowledge of offense.  

He conveys an air of self-satisfaction that is both interesting and infuriating.  

But just as hubris felled the Roman Empire, Kelly’s supreme confidence is the main reason his Eagles team still isn’t a serious contender.  

In the Eagles’ 53-20 loss to Green Bay on Sunday, they reminded us of two indisputable facts; Kelly’s offensive genius only applies when facing middling or disinterested defenses, and the birds don’t have enough talent to challenge upper tier offenses.    Chip Kelly photo: (Kevin Jairaj-USATODAY Sports)

Somewhat embarrassingly, last week’s ‘Unfiltered sang the praises of Kelly as an offensive innovator with no peer.  That is still my belief.  

However, in one and a half seasons as a pro coach, Kelly is 2-7 versus playoff qualifiers or otherwise playoff-caliber teams, and 15-3 against the league’s also-rans. One of those wins came last season against a Packers squad led by journeymen Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien. And the other took place this season in week two against the Colts. So if we’re being honest, Kelly has one win in nine tries in “statement” games.  

Not what you’d expect from someone of Kelly’s ilk.  

By comparison, the St. Louis Rams, who are at best mediocre, own wins against the 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos and Saints the last two seasons.  

Why? Because the Rams, despite poor judgment of their quarterback situation, have more good players than the Eagles.

Yet, Kelly’s ego, combined with panic by owner Jeffrey Lurie, is why he has total control of personnel decisions, despite having never done it at the pro level. It is how defensive end Marcus Smith came from nowhere to become an unusable first round pick.  It is why defensive tackle Bennie Logan is the best of the ten defenders Kelly chose in the 2013 and ’14 drafts.  

And it is why he chose to leave the fate of this season in the hands of quarterbacks Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez.  

Ego is also why his team approached the Packers game as if they were just another opponent.  There is no other explanation for using man-to-man principles against Aaron Rodgers when the secondary is an obvious weakness.  

Clearly, the Packers want to play basketball in cleats. They want to spread defenses out and throw the ball all over the yard.  It’s no secret.  

Nonetheless, the Eagles often featured three linebackers, none of whom belong in space covering eligible, pass-catchers.  It’s as if Kelly believed Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy uses running backs like the Cowboys once used Emmitt Smith.  

Kelly is an offensive genius; that is no longer debatable. However, he needs an upgrade in talent and he needs a defensive coordinator with a few more notches on his belt than Billy Davis.  

And who is solely responsible for the Eagles roster as well as the coaching staff?

The biggest challenge for the best and the brightest is not succeeding.  It is having enough humility to recognize why they fail.  

Unfortunately for Eagles fans, self-awareness in matters of football isn’t one of Kelly’s strengths.     

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 11Aaron Rodgers photo: obtuseobserver.com/?tag=aaron-rogers

-So we’re to believe the Packers are dangerous again because they scored over 50 points in consecutive weeks against two woeful defenses. Except, they were physically dominated by the Lions and Seahawks this season. More importantly, they are 0-5 against the 49ers and Seahawks since 2011. Granted, it’s possible both of those teams miss this year’s playoffs, but the Packers haven’t changed. They still cower to tough, physical football teams regardless of where they play them.  

-One thing is certain: no quarterback is getting through the gauntlet that is the NFL playoffs without benefit of a running game and a good defense. A passing league? Absolutely … against weaker defenses like the Eagles.  

-The Cardinals won and moved to 9-1, but head coach Bruce Arians must wonder how much to trust his quarterback. Drew Stanton made some truly poor decisions Sunday. Not what you want when your calling card is good defense.  

-Matthew Stafford throws as many footballs up for grabs as Jay Cutler, but he’s a good old boy from Texas, so he gets the white hat gunslinger label. Conversely, Cutler wears the black hat because he comes off as distant, but he and Stafford are essentially the same quarterback.  

-As you listen to the experts sing the praises of Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, keep in mind their quarterback situation is his fault. Unless of course, you think Sam Bradford is a good player.  

-When organizations like the Saints struggle defensively for several years in a row, there are problems within their scouting system defensive coordinator Rob Ryan cannot fix.  And the fact Ryan is living off his father’s last name doesn’t help.  

-Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is a good player, but it’s hard to watch him and not think about what he could do if he played as aggressively as Terrell Owens used to.  

-In my view, the Miami Dolphins have a better roster than the Packers, Steelers, Patriots, Cowboys and Eagles. They also have a Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, and that’s why you can’t trust them.   

-It’s one thing to use a backup lineman to catch a touchdown pass on a quick out route, and it’s another thing entirely to have J.J. Watt running fade routes against cornerbacks. It’s all fun until he tears an ACL trying to get both feet down in bounds.  

-Jim Harbaugh deserves some credit because the 49ers looked finished on at least two occasions this season. But the truth is, the players on that team took ownership and they are fighting in spite of him as much as they are for him.  


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: (Kevin Jairaj-USATODAY Sports)

Aaron Rodgers photo:obtuseobserver.com