Where's the Offense
Chip Kelly might have been given a mulligan in the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, but in the 20-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, everyone from the beat writers to the fan base had plenty to say after the offense had been completely dismantled.
The boos rained down from every inch of Lincoln Financial Field as fans watched their Eagles’ so-called high-octane offense muster up a grand total 7 rushing yards. Quarterback Sam Bradford led the team with 9 yards on the ground, but it was eventually knocked down to 7 after the “three-headed monster” in DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, and Darren Sproles accounted for -2 yards rushing.
When three Pro Bowl running backs combine for negative yardage, fingers point to two places: offensive line and coaching staff. Obviously there were problems throughout the offensive line as they allowed 3 sacks, showed zero ability to create a hole for the run game, and had numerous penalties throughout the game. Not to mention the botched snap by center Jason Kelce before Bradford had even begun his cadence.
As far as problems within the coaching staff, it all starts with the head coach. Kelly is both the head coach and general manager, and while all the changes in the beginning of the season started to look promising, none of it has translated onto the field.
Kelly allowed guard Todd Herremans to walk via free agency and released fellow-guard Evan Mathis. Herremans might have been the weakest link, but Mathis was a Pro Bowl guard who was attempting at holding out for more money. Regardless of performance or income, both were starters and as opposed to finding a suitable replacement for their services, Kelly took the risk in trusting in his backups.
It was a leap of faith that is starting to look like a failed trust fall. Kelly was asked after the game if the team had the “right guys in there” from a personnel standpoint to which he replied, “We’ll see. We gotta assess everything.”
Let it be known that it was only last season when the Birds suffered injuries throughout the offensive line to a degree where they had to sign ex-Houston Texan Wade Smith in the beginning of September to fill in at least for depth after losing Allen Barbre to injury and Lane Johnson to suspension. Despite knowing that quality depth along the offensive line was an issue, Kelly still felt comfortable with the primary backups he had as well as the talent of offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland to mold them into a level of performance that would grant the head coach the ability to run the ball 18,000 times a game.
Kelly was handed the keys to the franchise and it appears that he has crashed it. Now it’s his job – and his job alone – to go back to the drawing board, analyze what needs to be done, and fix it. Whether the problem is actually execution and coaching and not personnel.