Chip Has a Stalker

Posted: September 26th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 163 Comments »

Chip Kelly did a terrific job at Oregon, going 46-7 and taking that program from good to great. He came to the NFL and delivered consecutive 10-6 records. Even the most reasonable detractor has to see that he’s a good coach with some interesting ideas.

For some reason, Kelly drives some people nuts. I don’t mean disgruntled Eagles fans, but rather outsiders who don’t normally care about the team. Heath Evans likes taking potshots at Kelly and the Eagles. I think he does that because he was critical of Chip early on and simply isn’t smart enough to actually adjust his opinion.

Bart Scott hates Chip Kelly. Really hates Chip Kelly. Luckily Jimmy Bama got the comments for us from a radio show.

“I’m rooting for the Jets,” said Scott, “and not just because I played for the Jets, but because I love a good car crash. I love a good accident waiting to happen. You have one guy who thinks he’s the smartest guy in the world. Trust me, I played for Brian Billick, so I’m used to being around guys that believe that they’re really smart, and Brian was. But come on now, are you kidding me? This guy needs to figure out what time to get a protein shake because obviously he’s giving the protein shakes at the wrong time, with his scientists and stuff that he has back there, because his teams aren’t ready to play in the first half.”


“He can’t win. You know why he can’t win? Because you can’t win and tell people that you devalue great players and get rid of them just because you want to. So I think there’s a little bit of karma coming back to him. Nelson Agholor hasn’t replaced Jeremy Maclin. Jeremy Maclin was a class act guy. You can’t just replace people like they’re things, you know what I mean? Like they’re toys that you’re tired of playing with because you want something new. So I hope that he loses. I hope he loses every game.

Ugh. As Jimmy pointed out, Kelly wanted Maclin back. Kelly wanted to pay him a boatload of money. KC just happened to pay more.

If you want to get on Kelly for cutting DeSean Jackson and trading Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy, that’s fair game. Kelly clearly wanted to move on from those players. Maclin does not fit that category.

It just seems that some people see Kelly to a bunch of weird extremes. They think he is a finesse coach that needs a mobile QB to run his offense. They think he chooses science over football. They think he is all about gimmicks and doesn’t understand real football.

Kelly’s offense is built on being physical.

“The inside zone is our “go to work” play. It has become our signature play. We want to get off the ball and be a physical, downhill-running football team. This is not a finesse play. We teach our offensive linemen a block we call the “bust block”. The idea is to bust their sternums up against their spines on every play. We want to come off the ball, create a double-team, knock the crap out of the defender, and deposit him in the linebacker’s lap.”

That sounds like something Buddy Ryan would say. That’s physical football 101. But somehow Kelly is still seen as Mr. Finesse, Mr. Gimmick.

You would think Kelly would want a 1-gap, attacking defense. Nope. He comes in and preaches the need for size and strength. Kelly wanted a 2-gap, 3-4 base defense. No finesse whatsoever.

Kelly does embrace technology. These days, a lot of coaches are doing that. He gets a lot of publicity for it, but don’t think the Eagles are the only team to give smoothies to their players and mix science with football. Every NFL sideline now has tablets for the coaches/players to check out what the other team is doing. Technology is slowly taking over our lives. How is football supposed to be different?

I understand Kelly isn’t going to appeal to everyone. No coach does.

The funny thing about Kelly is that while he’s an outsider to the league who has come in and changed things, I don’t see the arrogance with him that guys like Steve Spurrier and Jimmy Johnson had. Spurrier turned out to be a major failure. Johnson backed up any of his talk with all-time great results. Both came to the NFL with the attitude that the league needed change.

Kelly came to the NFL and hired NFL coordinators. His offense is a mixture of the Oregon playbook and some West Coast Offense stuff. His defense is as conventional as it gets. Rather than thumbing his nose at the league, Kelly’s attitude was to take his ideas and combine them with those of NFL coaches. The hope was to get the best of both worlds.

Chip is arrogant in the sense that many successful people are…he believes in himself and his ideas. But I don’t get the perception of Kelly as this jerk sitting on top of Ego Mountain looking down at the rest of the football world and laughing because they are too stupid to copy all of his ideas.

Kelly does nothing but praise other coaches, teams and players. In college, he traveled to different teams every summer so he could learn new schemes and pick up ideas from other coaching staffs. Does that sound like a guy who is sure he’s got all the answers?

Right now Kelly could use some answers. His team is struggling in a major way and the detractors are out in full force. Kelly is fair game. He is a big name coach (making big money) and does things his way. That opens him up for criticism.

I guess I just don’t get the over the top hatred for Kelly. Ray Rhodes was as NFL as it gets and led the Eagles to a 3-13 season in 1998. Anyone who thinks this team is bad should go watch some of those games. After the first three weeks, the Eagles had been outscored 72-15. That team had no hope. I watched Bobby Hoying throw to Irving Fryar (age 36), Jeff Graham (age 29) and Freddie Solomon (4 career TD catches).

The current Eagles do have hope. Sam Bradford, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff must play better, but they are infinitely more talented than the 1998 bunch.

Kelly can shut up Bart Scott and the doubters if he can get this team to win on Sunday and start turning the season around. If that doesn’t happen, More guys will come out of the woodwork, telling us how they knew Kelly was a fraud.

Because, you know, he’s too finesse and gimmicky.



You may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet recently. The Eagles have played 2 games and I haven’t written a DGR for either of them.

My mom spent some time in the hospital in the past week or so and that threw my schedule out of whack. The good news is that she’s back home.

Hopefully I can get back on schedule with my writing. That just had to take a backseat for a little bit. I can’t tell you how miserable Sunday was. I desperately needed the Eagles to cheer me up. Ugh. Not even close. As bad as the game was, it was still the highlight of the day.

Sometimes we need life to help put sports in perspective. But as the guys in Spinal Tap will tell you…

Luckily mom got better during the week and I can go back to my completely unhealthy obsession with 53 guys that dress in tight pants and run around hitting each other for 3 hours on Sunday.

And who knows…maybe the Eagles will actually win. I’m probably being greedy.  At this point, I’ll just be happy to see a 1st down before halftime.



Posted: September 23rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 812 Comments »

The Eagles are 0-2. They look like one of the worst teams in the league. Chip Kelly should be fired. All the players should be cut or traded. Nuclear missiles should be fired at the NovaCare Complex just to be safe. According to the CDC, bad football can be highly contagious. And then…only then…can we start to have a reasonable discussion about this team.

At least that’s about the way things feel.

Football season is a marathon, not a sprint. I knew there would be some bumps in the road. I just figured they would be potholes and not the friggin Marianas Trench.

The Eagles are a mess right now. No one disputes that. Sam Bradford hasn’t been close to the answer. If only this team had a true franchise QB…someone like Andrew Luck. What’s that you say? He’s 0-2 and has led his team to even fewer points than Bradford. Wow.

Or maybe this is all Chippah. Imagine if the Eagles had a true NFL coach, one who knew how to win big games, even in the postseason, and who ran a real, complex NFL offense. How awesome would it be to have Sean Payton running this show? What’s that you say? The Saints are 0-2 and haven’t even scored 20 points in a game. Wow.

Imagine if the Eagles were proven winners like the Seahawks. What’s that you say? They’re 0-2 and…

Okay, enough of that.

The point is that the Eagles are a bad team, but there are no magic formulas in the NFL. I am truly shocked that the Saints are so bad even with Sean Payton and Drew Brees still in place. I thought they would beat the Cardinals in the opener and then expected them to wipe the field with the Bucs. And yet here they are in the same boat as the Eagles.

People want to say that the NFL has figured out Chip Kelly’s offense. The Eagles still scored 24 points and gained 399 yards in the opener.

Back in 2003 the Eagles started 0-2. The offense produced 513 yards and 10 points in those games. People wanted Andy Reid fired. They wanted Donovan McNabb benched. I remember one fan’s plan to get a 1st round pick for McNabb and then go draft RB Steven Jackson so the team could be built around a great RB, they way it should be.

Reid and McNabb combined to go 25-3 over the next 28 regular season games. No one had figured out Reid’s offense. McNabb hadn’t been exposed as overrated. There were a variety of reasons for the bad start. Over time the problems got solved.

I would love to tell you the current Eagles will do that, but I have no idea. This team is new. And every team is essentially a chemistry experiment. You remove James Thrash and add Terrell Owens, boom you suddenly have a much more explosive offense. But then you let Owens hire Drew Rosenhaus and that causes the team to explode.

Let’s talk about Chip’s offense. He ran a dynamic attack at Oregon. There were some smart coaches in the Pac-12 and they came up with wrinkles to handle his attack. Chip always adjusted on the fly and kept his offense going up and down the field.

I’m currently reading a book on the history of Joe Gibbs and his time with the Skins. Gibbs was labeled an offensive genius after Washington set the NFL record for points in a season (541) in 1983. In 1985 the Skins finished 20th in scoring. Joe Theismann really struggled and age finally caught up to John Riggins. The media focused on Gibbs and how the rest of the NFL had figured him out.

Over the next six years, the Skins never finished outside the Top 10 in points or yards. They won a pair of Super Bowls. They did it with different QBs and RBs. No one figured Gibbs out. The 1985 team didn’t play well. They didn’t execute well. Great ideas mean nothing without proper execution.

Brian Billick looked like a genius when he ran the Vikings offense in 1998 and they smashed the Skins record for points. Then Billick went to the Ravens and they struggled to score points for his entire time as coach. His playbook was still massive and full of great ideas. The Ravens never could find the right QB or combination of players to make those plays work consistently.

Chip Kelly has not done a great job to start the 2015 season. I think he can be part of the solution, though. He has a terrific offensive mind. He has some talented pieces. Kelly must get the line to block better and then he needs to figure out how to use this group of players.

Right now the chemistry experiment is failing. That doesn’t mean that he is missing ingredients. Kelly just has to figure out how to mix them to get good results.

If November rolls around and this team is still struggling to move the ball, then we know there is a fatal flaw in this experiment. At that point, something has to change. I think more consistent blocking and fewer dropped passes would be a huge help to this offense.

Those are the kinds of issues that hurt all offenses (see the Saints and Colts for example). But these issues are front and center to the Eagles slow start. That makes them Chip Kelly’s problem and he better find a way to get them fixed. And fast.


Minor Personnel Moves

Posted: September 21st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 501 Comments »

The Eagles made some changes on Monday. This has nothing to do with the 0-2 start. This is the typical bottom of the roster shuffling that goes on all year for all 32 teams.

QB Stephen Morris was cut. The Eagles added veteran QB Thad Lewis to take his place. Lewis played for Pat Shurmur in Cleveland so there is familiarity there.

It sounds like the Eagles have some long term interest in Morris, but just don’t think he would be ready to get on the field if needed this year. Lewis is meant to be a #3 QB. He doesn’t have upside and isn’t good enough to be a starter or primary backup. Good practice player with enough skill that he could be functional if needed in a game situation.

The Eagles have worked Lewis out a couple of times so they have had an eye on him.

Maybe Lewis can help in practice.


The Eagles cut TE Connor Hamlett from the practice squad and added TE Chris Pantale. There were reports that Pantale had been signed a couple of weeks ago, but he wasn’t healthy at that point. I guess he is now.

Pantale played for Ryan Day at Boston College. He has good size and potential as a blocker. Could challenge for a roster spot in the future, but might be another player that is here to help with practice.


Seeing old friends Todd Herremans and Trent Cole playing for the Colts is not fun. Herremans looks to be struggling. Cole isn’t getting a lot of pressure.

Herremans has at least one holding call in this game.

Evan Mathis had one vs KC.

Allen Barbre had one vs Dallas.

I don’t recall if Andrew Gardner had one.

No conclusions intended. Just happened to watch the games and see them get flagged.


There are a couple of differing reports out there on Kiko Alsono’s knee injury. Not sure what is true. Keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best.


Per Brandon Lee Gowton, DE Cedric Thornton broke a finger and could be out a couple of weeks.

Ugh. Taylor Hart would likely take his spot as a starter, with Brandon Bair getting a chance to play as a reserve. Hart looks to be a player on the rise, but he’s not as good as Thornton right now.


Sunday, Ugly Sunday

Posted: September 21st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 390 Comments »

So…what did you do this weekend? Anything notable happen?

As much as I’d like to pretend I didn’t witness that debacle yesterday, I did. And boy was it bad.

I thought there might be some growing pains for Sam Bradford and the offense, but I figured they would be more specific or situational. They might struggle in the Red Zone. Or in short yardage situations. Or they might not throw the deep ball well enough. Things like that.

I did not anticipate getting a simple 1st down would be the challenge. But it sure was yesterday.

It will be interesting to see how Chip Kelly handles this mess. John Madden believed that you didn’t need to be hard on players when things were bad. They would get criticism from their wives, friends, neighbors, Wawa clerks and anyone else out there. Madden tried to build his guys up when they were down.

There is something to be said for the occasional fiery speech. Andy Reid’s players knew he was legitimately mad when he called them the P-word in a group meeting. Sometimes they responded. Sometimes they didn’t.

Yelling at the players isn’t going to fix the problems. You can yell at your computer for an hour, but the blue screen of death isn’t going away unless you actually address the problem. I tend to think that’s the mentality Chip will have. There is a problem. Let’s fix it. Yelling will make you feel good for a moment, but won’t do anything to fix the problem.

Kelly is generally pragmatic.

Still, players are human beings and sometimes you do have to push buttons to get them to snap out of whatever their issue is. Was the team overconfident the last 2 weeks? Are they trying too hard? If Kelly senses something is off, he’ll try to get the players back on track mentally and emotionally.

The real key here is fundamentals, which I wrote about for  There is no magic elixir. The team needs to block better. Tackle better. Throw better. Catch better. And so on. This isn’t about a playbook. This is all about execution. Right now the Eagles aren’t doing it.

If one person were to blame, he’d be gone. As Chip Kelly talked about on WIP this morning, this is a group failure. Jason Peters misses a block on one play. He’s perfect the next play, but Allen Barbre makes a mistake. Then he cleans it up and Jason Kelce screws up. This O-line should be able to run block. My concerns were pass protection. Go watch tape from last year and Gardner was a solid run blocker. Barbre has been a solid run blocker in the past. This is the O-line version of Whack-A-Mole. One guy screws up. That gets fixed and then another guy screws up.

This can be fixed.

This season can be saved.

But there are no guarantees. This team could also fall apart and finish 5-11.

Chip Kelly built this team and now it is up to him to fix it.

He never had a losing record at Oregon. He hasn’t had a losing record with the Eagles. This is a smart coach who has shown the ability to get a team on the right track.

Then again, I don’t know that he’s ever been part of a team that made so many big changes. This might prove to be the biggest challenge of Chip Kelly’s career so far. Maybe that will bring out the best in him.

So far all we’re seeing is the worst of his team.


Ugly x Infinity

Posted: September 20th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 614 Comments »

I was nervous going into the Dallas game, but sure didn’t expect that.

We hit the low point of the Chip Kelly era, with the team falling to 0-2 and the offense looking completely inept.

The Cowboys backup QB led his offense to 7 points.

Cowboys STs scored 7 points.

Their starting offense was held to just 6.

The mighty Eagles offense…10 points. One friggin’ FG and a garbage time TD.


There are no definitive conclusions to be drawn from this game. This loss doesn’t mean Sam Bradford is a bad QB and the trade was wrong. Or that DeMarco Murray isn’t a good RB. This doesn’t mean Chip Kelly’s offense has been exposed. And on and on.

This was group failure.

There were breakdowns all over the place. Jason Peters missing easy blocks. Jason Kelce had a bad game, topped with an early snap that gave the ball back to Dallas. Jordan Matthews dropped a pass. Miles Austin dropped a pass. Riley Cooper failed to make a grab on a ball that came his way. It seemed like every offensive player had at least one moment in the game that hurt the team.

And Sam Bradford…he was just awful. Bad reads. Bad decisions. Bad throws. Bad, bad, bad game.

In his PC, Chip Kelly focused on the lack of a run game. He was not happy with the O-line at all. Before you pile on Allan Barbre and Andrew Gardner, I think the struggles involved everyone. If it were as simple as one player, I think Kelly would have made a change.

Kelly said he will review the tape and see if any personnel changes need to be made. There isn’t any one thing that I want, beyond simply better execution. Kelly has an offense full of smart, high character guys and right now they are playing dumb. That is as frustrating as anything.

Life seemed so good just 10 days ago. Right now, things are a mess.

Kelly, the staff and players have to find a way to fix the issues if they want to save the season. 0-2 is not good, but the Eagles did catch a break with the Giants blowing another lead and Tony Romo getting hurt. The NFC East remains wide open.

Last week the team played one good half. Today the defense played well, but the offense was awful all game long. And STs chose the wrong week to have a huge breakdown.

So far the 2015 Eagles are a mess. One person isn’t to blame and one person isn’t going to fix this. It will take a group effort. We’re going to find out really quickly how Chip and this team handle adversity.