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Eagles make wrong "statement" against Seahawks: NFL Unfiltered Week 14

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Over the course of a season, teams face what experts and fans like to call statement games.  Supposed moments of truth, where we learn something about a particular squad. But the funny thing about these so-called statement games is, most folks only accept the narrative if they like that game’s outcome.  

Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles surprised and electrified the Delaware Valley with precise, up-tempo offense. It mattered little who they played because in head coach Chip Kelly’s first season, they more than met expectations.  Photo: BETTINA HANSEN / The Seattle Times

However, this year, Kelly’s team faced more legitimate tests. More chances to break through barriers, real or imagined.

And after Sunday, it’s fair to say Kelly’s outfit failed almost all of them.      

Now, after going 1-3 against the NFC West, and falling to 2-8 against playoff qualifiers (1-9 if you dismiss the Seneca Wallace/Scott Tolzien led Packers) under Kelly, do Eagles fans accept their team’s failure against good defenses as no fluke?

Perhaps it might not matter as much if they had been competitive against the San Francisco 49ers, or defending champion Seattle Seahawks, but they weren’t. Yes, people point to the fact they had a chance to beat the 49ers with a late touchdown. And there is talk of bad calls and bad breaks after this latest debacle.  But the more salient take away from the Seahawks game is the fact the Eagles never threatened.  

More importantly, both the 49ers and Seahawks claim the Eagles’ offense is easily deciphered.  Said 49ers’ safety Antoine Bethea back in September, “if we line up and communicate well, we’ll be fine with this offense.”  And Bobby Wagner of the Seahawks added, “I don’t think there’s any secret … their offense is kind of predictable.”  That’s two of the top five defenses in the league outing the Eagles offense for its simplicity.

How is that possible when Kelly is as innovative as any football coach the last quarter century?

Kelly’s coaching resume speaks to his guile, intelligence and work ethic, but it is likely he sees himself as an underdog. A coach with something to prove. A coach who trusts himself and his scheme above everything else and sees talent as a luxury instead of a necessity. For someone of his ilk, that mindset works very well in college where coaches matter more.  But pro coaches, even creative ones, need talent.     

In still just his second season, Kelly has time to fix what’s broken. But as former Eagles coach Andy Reid knows all too well, you cannot win a bunch of regular season games, then lose in the playoffs too many times.    

Kelly is about to find that out.              

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 14

-Despite Kelly’s early success, the Eagles have real questions at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. And that’s just the offense. Next off-season is shaping up as the most important of Kelly’s tenure.

-It’s funny how we always hear about the creative and funny things St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher does.  And make no mistake, Fisher’s not so subtle jab at Washington before Sunday’s coin flip was hilarious. However, the fact he received all those picks in the Robert Griffin III trade and still finished no higher than third in his division the last four seasons, is just as comical.  

-49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh’s expertise lies in offense, yet there isn’t one offensive player on their roster you look at and think, “that guys is better than he was before Harbaugh arrived.”  Speaking of Harbaugh, all empirical evidence suggests his brother John is a better coach.  

-Speaking of changing narratives, all the talk about the difficulty in beating the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in January is total nonsense. Their defense just isn’t good enough to scare teams. Even if it is 10 degrees below zero.

-How long will guys who claim to know the game ignore Russell Wilson’s exploits?  Every time I hear about the demise of running quarterbacks, Wilson is excluded.  Or, they talk about the Seahawks’ defense. The fact is, Wilson’s has an unparalleled feel for the game.  He always has the right answer, and if the Seahawks finish as the one seed in the NFC, I’d make him and Aaron Rodgers co-MVP’s.

-As a matter of fact, here are my top-five for league MVP: 1a) Wilson  1b) Rodgers  3) Rob Gronkowski  4) Peyton Manning  5) DeMarco Murray

-An occasional conversation is unavoidable during games, but Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick have too much to do to get involved in any sustained trash talk, let alone fighting.

 

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: BETTINA HANSEN / The Seattle Times