Having Mark Sanchez at quarterback is a good excuse on most days, but Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles can’t hide behind that for a second straight season in what seems like a developing failure for a team that had so many big goals and hopes at the beginning of this season.
The Eagles fall to 4-6 with a 45-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in which they turned the ball over four times (three interceptions for Sanchez) and has possession for just 24 minutes. Mainly, they gave up 521 yards to the Buccaneers, losing for the third time in four weeks as they blow another opportunity to catch up with the New York Giants. They’re also now going to play two road games: In Detroit against the Lions, followed by a long rest and heading to the toughest venue in the league, Foxboro vs the Patriots.
The local media is having a field day with Kelly, and pretty much blaming this disappointing season all on him. While Kelly did take the Eagles to the playoffs in 2013, having a 10-6 record in 2014 wasn’t enough as it meant missing the playoffs. Him taking on more responsibility and overseeing a complete overhaul of the roster, which included changing the quarterback and running back while sending away via trade or simply releasing some very popular players in the locker room and with the fans has made the leash and length of patience with him that much shorter.
The Eagles might be part of a wider than ever lane of mediocre teams in a weird NFL season, with just ten teams having a record better than .500. However, there’s nothing they do especially well, and whole aura of offensive genius Kelly had going into the league has quickly faded. Maybe he’s great at the college level, but there’s a chance this experience ends for him the same way it has for most head coaches who try and make the switch.
The Eagles are around the middle of the pack in pretty much every metric, on both ends of the field. They have good defensive days and awful ones. They’re not the fast, unstoppable offensive juggernaut that was promised. Some are blaming DeMarco Murray for giving up and not making an effort to help right the ship, but more than anything it just might be that the players aren’t responding to Kelly and his orders, with his complicated offensive plans and schemes falling on a flat, no longer loyal locker room.