In what has become a laughing matter, Philadelphia has went from a city whose sports teams were at the high point of recent history to the depths of mediocrity and failure. The Phillies finished the season as the worst major league baseball team with 99 Losses. The Flyers, although having a good young nucleus, look like a team with no heart. The Sixers are once again winless for the season. And finally there is the Philadelphia Eagles who have been an absolute disappointment. For the record, I was one of the people that had faith in Chip Kelly. I have been a huge believer in Chip since he came to the NFL with his high flying offense from the realms of the college system. For the past three seasons I have defended Kelly time and time again for all of the personnel moves that he has made. However; it appears that this "Chip Kelly Renaissance" has just been one giant mirage. Not even four years ago, this city ousted Andy Reid, who was only the franchise's most successful coach of all-time. At the time, the franchise was declining as all of its stars were either leaving or seeing their skills decline. Looking back at that moment to the day that the Eagles fired Andy Reid, only one thought comes to my mind.
If you want to look back in NFL history to a similar situation as the Andy Reid era in Philly, you only have to look six hours away to the city of Pittsburgh and the Steelers. The Steelers were the Eagles of the AFC...countless division championships, conference finals, and a trip to the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh could have chose the same fate for coach Bill Cowher who had the same pedigree as Andy Reid. However; the franchise chose to continue to stick by Cowher who finally brought a Super Bowl Championship to Pittsburgh. Anyone can argue that these were not similar situations but I will always beg to differ. Many fans may have become sick of the stoic Andy Reid personality and his year by year lack of communication with the media. Nonetheless, there is no denying that despite all of the teams success, management never truly gave Reid the weapons necessary to go to the next level. The one season that they brought in all-pro receiver Terrell Owens they went to the Super Bowl and nearly beat the heavily favored New England Patriots. To this day, critics will argue that should have been an Eagles victory due to the spy gate scandal. Could you imagine the difference it would have made had the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2004?!!!
Anyways, enough about the past. Let us look to the future of this team. The Eagles are worse off today than they were that dark day when Andy Reid was fired. Chip Kelly has come to this city with his "almighty" system with the promise of a title. Well, Chip has failed to live up to his promises. No matter how good any system is, there can only be success if you have the right parts to run the system. Let's take a quick look position by position. Mike Vick, Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford. Of these four quarterbacks, only Mike Vick truly fits this system. Every Chip kelly offense has always featured a quarterback that is mobile and can provide a dual threat to the defense on the field. Unfortunately, the year and a half that Vick ran this offense, he was hit more times than an opponent facing Rhonda Rousey in the ring, forcing multiple injuries and a decline of talent. Then Nick Foles suddenly caught lightening in a bottle when leading the team to the playoffs en route to a 10-6 record, while throwing 27 Touchdowns and only 2 Interceptions. Well, the next season his best weapon, DeSean Jackson was jettisoned and the rest is history.
Year two of Foles saw a dramatic decline in production and ultimately he lost his job due to injuries as well as poor play. Enter Mark Sanchez. Sanchez was a terrific talent coming out of USC and took the New York Jets to two playoff conference championships, but he never truly made it. The second half of last season saw some ups and downs with Sanchez, but it became obvious that he will never be a starting quarterback in this league. Ok...so here we come to draft day. After much speculation that Chip Kelly would throw all of his dice into the pot to trade up in the draft for the chance to draft Marcus Mariota, his once prized protege from Oregon, he failed to land the prospect. Instead, Kelly not only shocked all of Philly, but he truly shocked the world when he traded Nick Foles to the Saint Louis Rams for oft injured Sam Bradford. When looking at the trade, everyone could see this was a high risk, high reward move. However; any time that a sports team puts the weight of its shoulders on an unproven commodity and an injury prone player, it rarely leads to success.
Well, here we are and Sam Bradford has already missed a game and a half and the Eagles are falling apart at the seams. In conclusion, the Eagles have not found their Quarterback and Kelly has actually moved the team backwards at this position. Now lets look at the running back position. LeSean McCoy was a two time rushing champ and almost single handedly carried this team on his back during the first two seasons under Chip Kelly. So what does the supposedly genius coach do next? Whats that you say?? He trades McCoy and says that the reason is that he does not fit "Chip's" system. Ok, enter Frank Gore in free agency. Hours before signing on the dotted line, Gore decided not to sign with the Eagles after hearing many negative comments about Chip Kelly from former players. So next, Kelly goes to Plan B. San Diego Charger's running back Ryan Matthews comes to town and signs right away. Matthews is like the poor man's version of Shady McCoy. Then, in what really still looks like a mind boggling move, Kelly signs the Dallas Cowboys reigning rushing champion DeMarco Murray to a contract that actually will pay him more than the Eagles would have paid McCoy.
Then, Kelly once again makes some heads scratch when he lets all-pro guard Todd Herremanns walk and then trades his other all-pro guard Even Mathis for a bag of balls. Ok, so the offensive line is not that important right. You have a three headed monster running back corps and a quarterback who is a walking time bomb, but yet your system will prevail with the makeshift offensive line that you have assembled. Stay tuned. And let's not forget the playmaking position of wide receiver. DeSean Jackson is cut two seasons ago and then you let your other all-pro receiver Jeremy Maclin walk at the end of last season. So let's get this straight, your starting wide receivers are Riley Cooper (8 Million Dollars per year) and second year pro Jordan Matthews. Chip drafts Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff, and signs journey man receiver Miles Austin. In 10 games, Riley Cooper has only 13 receptions for a measly 247 yards and 2 TD's. Jordan Matthews has 55 receptions for 565 yards and 2TD's. That is 68 total receptions and 812 yards with 4 TD's. In retrospect, 5 NFL receivers alone have more than 68 receptions with Julio Jones leading the way with 89. Even more alarming is the fact that 10 receivers have over 812 yards alone. 23 Wide Receiver have more than 4 TD's. These facts are pathetic. The Eagles receiving corp, which may be the most important unit in a Chip Kelly offense is absolutely putrid.
We will not even get to the Defense, which actually has improved this season under Bill Davis. The fact of the matter is, this Eagles team is worse now than when Andy Reid was the coach. Chip Kelly has single handedly ruined this roster. His ego and so called genius pedigree has transformed the Eagles into one of the worst teams in the NFL. Unfortunately, unless Chip decides to leave the NFL or gets fired, their is no light at the end of the tunnel for this team. Only time will tell what will become of this once proud franchise. One things for sure, Chip Kelly has brought this team to the dark side and there will be some dark days in the Delaware Valley for the foreseeable future.
Written By Jason Voorhees for Philly Rock Radio. 11/23/15