(Photo via philly.com)
Man, it must be really hard to be an Eagles fan right about now. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger than last off-season, when the Chip Kelly overhaul led to departures from LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles, and Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles decided to complete the purge of any and all of Kelly’s additions to the team. Just this week, only days before the free agency period gets underway, Philadelphia has traded away Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso, and DeMarco Murray (all starters that were acquired last year) for numerous draft picks. A sensible set of moves if you look at the cap space that it frees up, however, these latest transactions now have Eagles fans everywhere scrambling for answers. After three years, I think it’s safe to say that the Chip Kelly experiment crashed and burned.
Philadelphia fans all over thought that by acquiring the so-called offensive guru, Chip Kelly, they would revolutionize the game and be a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, their high hopes turned to extreme skepticism when ownership decided to give Kelly complete control over the roster. In doing so, here is a “short” list of players that Kelly decided couldn’t fit his system: DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles, and Jeremy Maclin. And those are just at the offensive skill positions; Eagles also parted ways with longtime edge rusher Trent Cole, and two-time pro bowl OL Evan Mathis.
But, Chip did not worry. He was certain that his acquisitions (Maxwell, Alonso, Murray, and Sam Bradford) would still fare well in his system. Well…that simply was not case. Instead, the Eagles went 7-9 on the year, fire Chip Kelly, and after this week, and are left worse off than they were before they ever hired him in 2013. The only piece left from this madness is Sam Bradford, who is an average NFL QB at best. But, Foles, who had a stellar 2013 season with the Eagles (27 TDs, 2 picks), looks to be the better option – and just another person that’s no longer with the team.
To begin, I have never been a big fan of Chip Kelly. I thought he was a good college coach, but I never believed any of the hype surrounding his journey to the NFL. The situation he has now put the Eagles in has me wondering what sort of upgrade Kelly can provide to the 49ers, if any at all. But now that their marriage is finally over, many are left puzzled by the current state of the Eagles. The fire-sale of talent that has taken place over the last few years in Philly has left them with a completely different (and weaker) team than many Eagles fans would have hoped for. Let’s just hope that the same mess doesn’t occur in San Francisco.
– J. Yellin