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NFL Unfiltered Week 1: Who Will Plug Chip Kelly's Holes?

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As year three of the Chip Kelly regime begins, there are two things we know.  One, Kelly is as creative an offensive mind as any in the National Football League.  And two, he has so much confidence in his abilities, he discards talented players who refuse to fall in line.  

Unfortunately, for the sales clerk at Wawa, my tailor, and everyone else in Chip-Adelphia, there are two things we don’t know: We don’t know why the Philadelphia Eagles ended his first two seasons so meekly. And we don’t know if Kelly’s football acumen translates to deft player evaluation.  

In my view, the success of this year’s squad centers solely on whether Kelly has more good players than he did his first two seasons. And as simple as that sounds, you get the feeling fans and media alike find that sentiment a little more than an inconvenient truth.  It’s as if they believe Kelly has a magic elixir other head coaches don’t have, and he’s simply going to scheme his team to 12 or 13 wins.Chip Kelly/Bradford photo: ftw.usatoday.com

But the NFL doesn’t work that way. It never has. And because of the incessant strive for parity, it never will.  

Teams with the best quarterbacks and most talent win; there is no secret formula.  And for all Kelly’s strengths, he cannot overcome the fact he has jettisoned more talent than he has acquired in his two-plus seasons as the Eagles’ chief decision-maker.  

Consider, in the last three years the Eagles have drafted seven defensive backs and signed five more via free agency. Clearly, Kelly saw that group as a real problem and he was right.  Yet, it’s evident they are still a group in flux, offering far more questions than answers. Would an experienced, pedigreed, NFL general manager produce such futile results? Would legions of Eagles fans be as forgiving as they’ve been of Kelly?   

Kelly apologists cite the trade for Sam Bradford as the primary reason the Eagles are a threat to win the NFC, and an example of Kelly’s GM chops. But they conveniently ignore the fact Kelly gave the St. Louis Rams a 2nd round pick in the process. And as of this writing, he’s failed to sign Bradford to a contract extension. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to get Bradford to agree to terms before the trade?  

Maybe Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Riley Cooper and Josh Huff threaten defenses on every snap. Maybe Bradford does indeed play at least 14 games and throws for 4,500 yards and 40 touchdowns. Maybe DeMarco Murray gains another 1,500 yards rushing.  

And maybe, just maybe, Kelly is exposed as a below average NFL executive, whose arrogance and inexperience led to a talent exodus the head coach couldn’t overcome.  

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 1

-One of the most interesting things about Kelly’s tenure in Philly is the fact he arrived with a reputation for ignoring conventional football wisdom. Yet, he’s become more and more conservative every season. Go figure.  

-It is true, Bradford is a better athlete than Nick Foles, but that doesn’t mean Bradford is on par with Aaron Rodgers in terms of speed and quickness.  It simply means Foles is in the running for least athletic quarterback in the NFL.

-The Atlanta Falcons may have forced Bradford to settle for short passes, but it is fair to wonder if the Eagles have enough speed at wide receiver to threaten defenses deep.  

-Another Steelers game, another example of Mike Tomlin’s struggles with clock management.  Add to that the fact his young defense had trouble lining up before the snap, and you realize great is an overused term.  Photo: businessinsider.com

-They say every NFL game comes down to a handful of plays.  I assume that includes Steelers’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s decision to run a wide receiver pass-option with Antonio Brown, after easily running the football into Patriots territory. That call killed their first drive, which naturally led to a missed field goal, and set the stage for a loss. Inexcusable.  

-Congratulations to Foles and the St. Louis Rams on their comeback win against the Seattle Seahawks. However, it is important to note, safety Dion Bailey is not Kam Chancellor and, well, you’re already familiar with Cary Williams.  

-FOX sports NFL insider Jay Glazer reported Colts coach Chuck Pagano is fighting for his job.  I wonder if general manager Ryan Grigson’s failure to identify and acquire good offensive lineman to protect quarterback Andrew Luck puts him on the quintessential hot seat as well.  

-To review, AFC East defenses allowed 10, 10, 14 and 21 points in their respective games.  I mention this only because many have already given the Eagles three wins against that division.  There are quarterback concerns in Miami, Buffalo and New York, but make no mistake, the defenses range from good to outstanding.  

-Sometimes, it seems like NFL analysts lie to us as much as politicians. Troy Aikman went on and on about the changes in quarterback Jay Cutler because of the brilliance of offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Seriously?  Cutler has now run plays for Mike Shanahan, Mike Martz, Mike Tice, and Marc Trestman. The idea Gase is going to turn Cutler into a more accurate passer and efficient decision-maker is pure fallacy. Cutler damages reputations and gets coaches fired.  

-Arguably, the San Francisco 49ers selected the best tailback in the 2014 draft in Carlos Hyde.  But because of their respect for Frank Gore, they wasted Hyde’s entire rookie season.  Apparently, that is how you must treat certain veterans.   

 

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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Chip Kelly/Bradford photo: ftw.usatoday.com

 

Photo: businessinsider.com