Four weeks into the 2015 NFL season and the Philadelphia Eagles are 1-3, at the bottom of the NFC East and have already been left for dead by most fans and sports radio personalities. While there is plenty of blame to go around as to how this happened, from a QB who still looks confused and scared on the field to an offensive line that couldn’t stop a grandmother from crossing the street, the bulk of the blame has to be laid at the feet of the Eagles’ GM.
When Chip Kelly became head of personnel during the offseason after a bitter power struggle with former GM Howie Roseman, everyone expected there to be changes. Kelly had long advocated a philosophy of “culture and scheme over talent” and this was a perfect chance to get rid of any players who weren’t considered “Chip Kelly guys” and replace them with players he could hand pick to run his system the way he wanted.
DeSean Jackson was the first to go, followed by Todd Herremans, LeSean McCoy, Trent Cole, Jeremy Maclin, Evan Mathis and QB Nick Foles. These very popular and talented players were replaced by the likes of Kiko Alonso, DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell and QB Sam Bradford.
With Kelly now in total control, the responsibility for every decision and every trade could be laid at his feet. The Eagles newest GM hadn’t so much made the roster better, just cheaper. The thinking was that, with Bradford going into the final year of his contract, the team would need the money to resign him after what was assuredly going to be a very successful 2015 season. This way that money would be available and not tied up in very talented, but in Kelly’s mind very overpaid, players.
After training camp and a preseason that showed a rebuilt Eagles roster with almost unlimited potential, it would have appeared that GM Chip Kelly had made the right calls. The new-look Eagles didn’t miss a beat and ran Coach Chip Kelly’s scheme flawlessly. Sure, the starters didn’t get much playing time together (or at all really) but, remember, “culture and scheme over talent”, so that didn’t stop many fans from booking flights to Super Bowl 50.
Then the Eagles started playing in games that counted.
And it has been an unmitigated disaster.
Alonso is out with knee issues, the running game has been ineffectual, Maxwell has been a joke, injuries are starting to pile up and few can think of an offensive line that has played worse than this one. Now Murray has started complaining that he feels he isn’t getting the ball enough and worst of all may be the play of Bradford, who seems lost running this offense and constantly terrified of getting hit.
The Eagles are 1-3 and the season may already be over.
And there is only one person to blame.
GM Chip Kelly clearly has no clue how to fix the problems ailing his football team. He seems locked into this idea that the players on the Eagles’ roster are talented enough, they just need to execute better and make plays.
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Well, someone should really explain to him that talented players actually make the plays and know how to execute. The ones that don’t are not considered talented in the first place.
It’s tough to blame this mess on Coach Chip Kelly. He had lots of success the last two seasons and it’s clear that when run right, his scheme does work. Sure, the rest of the league may have figured out some of the nuts and bolts of his offense and are using that against him, but Coach Chip Kelly should be able to adapt, right?
Instead, Coach Chip Kelly is stuck with a roster of undermanned and underperforming players who GM Chip Kelly clearly overvalued. Building a cheaper team with similar parts to what he had was clearly a gamble that didn’t pay off. In college, scheme may be king but in the modern NFL, talent wins Super Bowls, plain and simple.
So it’s time to pull the plug.
Giving Kelly total control may have seemed to be a great idea, but it’s stunningly evident that it hasn’t worked out. While Kelly may be a visionary and a genius when it comes to coaching, he is a mess and ineffective as a general manager. This may be due to his lack of experience dealing with the reality of the NFL or because he is just not capable of doing the job.
If Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie fired GM Chip Kelly now, there may still be time to salvage some of the season. Worst case scenario, he gives Howie Roseman his old job back for the remainder of the season and that way Coach Chip Kelly can work on fixing what is wrong with the team and maybe, just maybe, get back into the hunt for the playoffs.
Because it’s obvious that GM Chip Kelly has no clue how to do that.