If things don’t turn around soon, Chip Kelly won’t be back in Philadelphia next season. Kelly was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles following the disappointing 2012 campaign when the Eagles went 4-12 and finished last in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference. He brought with him his innovative offense, fast-paced practices, player-specific post workout recovery shakes, commitment to sports science and his I-do-what-I-want-and-don’t-care-what-you-think personality. But now it looks as if his time is running out.
Kelly was given total control of the roster during the 2015 offseason and he wasted no time making wholesale changes everywhere. He traded starting quarterback Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams for quarterback Sam Bradford, starting running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso, signed the NFL’s rushing champion Demarco Murray, signed cornerback Byron Maxwell to a monster $63 million contract and released the starting left guard, Evan Mathis, after an ongoing contract dispute.
After the first two weeks of the season, the Eagles are a mess in just about every aspect of the game. Alonso injured his surgically repaired knee against the Cowboys on Sunday and his status for the rest of the season remains unknown. Maxwell, who was brought in to sure up the cornerback position that was dismal in 2014, has been targeted 19 times by opposing quarterbacks this season, yielding 15 completions, 240 yards, 2 touchdowns and a near-perfect 158.3 quarterback rating against him.
However, the real and most concerning issues reside on the offensive side of the ball, which is supposed to be the area of the game where Chip Kelly is a mastermind. To put it lightly, everything has sucked. The Eagles offense didn’t gain a single first down in the first half against the Cowboys, aside from one given to them thanks to a Dallas penalty.
The Eagles have finished first and ninth in rushing yards under Chip Kelly his first two seasons, but through the first two games of 2015, they’re averaging an anemic 35 yards per game. As a comparison, the worst rushing team last season, the Oakland Raiders, averaged 77.5 yards per game.
The offensive line is utilizing two new starters at guard and both have played horribly. The receivers have shown an inability to get open. Bradford has shown an inability to find receivers when they actually get open and the running game is going absolutely nowhere.
Eagles running backs have totaled 61 yards on 31 carries (1.9 yards per carry), and the big offseason signing, Demarco Murray, has 11 yards on 21 carries (0.5 YPC).
In addressing the media Monday, Kelly said that he was “embarrassed” about the offense’s performance, but that he isn’t going to change much about the personnel — just that they have to execute better. That’s not what Eagles fans want to hear.
It’s obvious that what the team has tried on offense thus far against the Falcons and Cowboys hasn’t worked. One would think that an innovative offensive mind like Kelly would change things up.