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NFL Unfiltered Week 2: Can Jeffrey Lurie Reign in Chip Kelly?

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Loosely translated, the Peter Principle is a theory in which people, particularly those in management, rise to their level of incompetence.  

And there is no longer any doubt: Chip Kelly has risen to that level.  

After two poor showings and a 0-2 start, the Philadelphia Eagles are arguably the most disappointing team in the National Football League. Out of the many reasons explaining their debacle, the two most glaring are desperation and fear.  

Consider the winter of 2012. The Birds had just finished an awful 4-12 campaign, and both fans and media thirsted for change after 14 years of Andy Reid.  Photo: GCobb.com

And as is the want of every owner desperate to energize his floundering franchise, Jeffrey Lurie chased the big fish.  

Enter Kelly.  

But it wasn’t enough to give him one of the most lucrative contracts in league history, despite having no NFL coaching experience. Lurie also saw fit to give Kelly final say on all personnel. A job usually manned by an NFL lifer. A grinder whose entire professional being centers on watching video and advanced scouting.  

Now, it’s abundantly clear Lurie’s plan backfired, and it is safe to say the man charged with “buying the groceries” might as well change his name to Peter. But while Kelly shoulders the overwhelming bulk of the blame, it is time to shine a little light on Lurie, one of the National Football League’s least meddlesome owners.    

Lurie is responsible for giving Kelly the authority to make so many questionable decisions. Lurie is the football neophyte, who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) tell Kelly the team is better with guard Evan Mathis and cornerback Brandon Boykin. Lurie is the owner who left Kelly unchallenged, while he shipped useful football players out-of-town for the sake of team culture.  

This raises two questions: Does Lurie have the wherewithal to strip Kelly of all personnel decisions in the future?  And if he does, will Kelly’s ego and pride allow him to stay in Philadelphia as only the head coach?

At this stage, only the staunchest Kelly supporters believe in him and his offensive system. But even if you still have faith in Kelly as a coach, you can no longer trust Kelly to acquire or even keep enough talent to contend for a Super Bowl.  

And unless Lurie has his head buried in the sand, he now knows it, too.  Here’s hoping he has the courage to do something about it.  

To this point, he clearly hasn’t.  

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

-I’m guessing, but it has probably been decades since Kelly had to do the right thing instead of his thing, from a football perspective. And up to now, his theories, whatever they are, were quite successful. This is easily the first “Uh-oh” moment of his professional life, and you can see it in his eyes.  

-Is it me, or does Sam Bradford still look like he did at Oklahoma? By that, I mean he doesn’t seem to relish weight training. Either that, or he is not a fan of the fitted jersey.  

-Can we once and for all stop with the shutdown corner talk? Byron Maxwell is who he is and truthfully, no cornerback plays at that level anymore anyway. No disrespect to Darrelle Revis, Joe Haden or any other good corner, but Deion Sanders was a special talent and a special player.  His kind is also as extinct as a dodo bird.  

-If you call yourself a contender for the division title, you cannot lose to Washington by two touchdowns. In the immortal words of former head coach Dennis Green, the Rams “are who we thought they were!” And Jeff Fisher is still one of the most overrated coaches in the game’s history.  

-Choosing a starter between quarterbacks Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel is akin to choosing between low-fat ice cream and non-dairy frozen dessert. Neither one is the real deal, so it really doesn’t matter.  

-It’s about to get messy for the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning and the Minnesota Vikings and Adrian Peterson. The end always is, and make no mistake: Both of these future NFL Hall of Famers are at the end.  

-For all the clichés from coaches and general managers about how important an offensive line is, it is obvious based on their personnel decisions that many don’t really see it as an integral part of a football team.    

-Apparently, Detroit Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford is already “sore” after only two games. Why wouldn’t he be? His offensive coordinator has called 85 pass plays and 32 runs. I’ll never be a math wizard or an NFL coach, but passing 2 ½ times more than you run is disproportionate, and the simplest way to get your quarterback hurt. Right, Jim Caldwell?    

-Instead of forcing the word “great” on every quarterback in the league with gaudy stats, why not place them in tiers? For example, Matt Ryan is a good quarterback, but he belongs on a tier with Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, which is a level below Ben Roethlisberger, who is a level below Aaron Rodgers.

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: GCobb.com