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Chip Kelly's Eagles Shouldn't Surprise Anyone: NFL Unfiltered Week 12


Sometimes, football fans and media confuse me.    

Why?  Because the Philadelphia Eagles  are one of the NFL’s worst teams at 4-7.  But mixed in with the anger and vitriol that comes from a poor season, is a bizarre element of surprise.  It’s a palpable shock, as if people actually believed Chip Kelly would dominate the NFL while leading his charge to heights never before seen. It’s as if many people couldn’t see this coming.

But how could you not? Seriously?  Photo: Oregonlive.com

As much as it hurts to watch your favorite football team become a five-alarm fire, the current state of the Eagles should surprise no one. Chiefly, those of us who have sorted through smoking football rubble before.  

What's more, if this is a shock, you either haven’t been paying enough attention, or you haven’t spent any time googling “college football coaches who succeeded in the NFL.”   

Consider, only two men without any NFL experience before becoming a head coach in the pros, managed to succeed at the highest level of football: Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer.  However, both Johnson’s Miami Hurricanes and Switzer’s Oklahoma Sooners dominated college football. Kelly’s Oregon Ducks? They certainly wreaked some havoc, but in four years they won two PAC-12 championships and were 2-2 in BCS games. But you knew that three years ago, didn’t you?  

In fact, the day Kelly accepted the Eagles job, he wasn’t remotely qualified to fulfill the most important task in any organization: find and acquire talent. But you knew that in January 2013, too.  

As for Johnson, bear in mind he did three things in Dallas that Kelly hasn’t done during his time in Philly. One, he used his wits to acquire a bounty of draft picks in trade from former Minnesota Vikings general manager Mike Lynn. Two, he used his keen eye for talent to build a terrific roster. And lastly but most importantly, he drafted a franchise quarterback in Hall of Famer Troy Aikman.  

Now, let’s review Kelly’s tenure.  

He rid himself of useful players like Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Evan Mathis, and kept or acquired players like Riley Cooper, Marques Smith, Eric Rowe, and Kiko Alonso. Combine that with the fact Kelly, whose football wisdom lies on the offensive side of the ball, still hasn’t found a quarterback he trusts.  

That, perhaps more than any of his other missteps—and there are plenty—is the biggest indictment of Kelly’s reign.

And lest you accuse me of dancing on Kelly’s NFL grave after the fact, rest assured, my opinion on his hire came just days after his introductory press conference. It’s available for dissection here.   

The point is, Kelly arrived in Philly without the credentials necessary for success. More specifically, all he brought with him was a high-powered college offense known for sputtering against better, sometimes equal competition.   

At this stage, being angry at the mess Kelly made makes perfect sense, but being surprised he made it, doesn’t.

You should know that.  

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-Speaking of coaches who rose one level too high, defensive coordinator Billy Davis isn’t the answer.  That’s why Rowe plays corner and Walter Thurmond plays safety.  

-Looks like we’re headed for another cycle of stories about Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler’s maturity and improvement. Stay the course, it isn’t true. He is the same.  

-It’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of how often Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin hurts his squad during a game.  

-Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is entirely too talented to have played on so many bad football teams.  Shame on him, his coaches and whomever acquires talent for the Lions.  

-Consider Dallas quarterback Tony Romo as another talent whose team wasted his best years by making foolish personnel decisions.  

-I am seriously considering devoting a part of this column to St. Louis’ Jeff Fisher … every week!  Has any head coach in NFL history flown under the radar as long as Fisher?  He is the sheer definition of mediocre, but few seem to notice.  

-Which is the greater sin?  Trading for quarterback Nick Foles thinking he is the answer, or sending him away with a 2nd round pick?  They’re both awful decisions.  

-Kicking the tires on San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick makes sense, but make no mistake, he doesn’t do any of the little things that make quarterbacks successful.  And it pains me to say that.  

-What is it about Cleveland’s Johnny Manziel?  Didn’t the new collective bargaining agreement make it easier for teams to rid themselves of unproductive headaches?  Manziel falls well short of the knucklehead/talent ratio necessary for NFL employment.  

-The New York Giants better build their defense before quarterback Eli Manning’s skills erode and Odell Beckham, Jr. gets hurt.  

-Washington is vying for the NFC East division championship. Whether they win it or not, quarterback Kirk Cousins is not the solution at quarterback.  If they do not acquire another viable option this offseason, GM Scot McCloughan failed. 


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@hotmail.com

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Photo: Oregonlive.com