No Sham Sam
QB Sam Bradford, arguably, was as good as he’s been all season – which may not be saying a ton, but certainly enough to relieve him of any major responsibility for Saturday night’s 38-24 loss to Washington. Completing 37 of 56 passes, he threw for 380 yards and a TD … with no picks. Frankly, couldn’t even keep up with the amount of drops going on out there, either, so no telling how many completions and yardage he would have had with a competent receiving corps.
Yeah, Include Him
For all the raving about TE Zach Ertz busting out with a big effort and getting offensive player of the game honors, holy crap the kid drops an unconscionable amount of easy balls to handle. He was, without question, the Birds biggest offender of the “dropsies” against the Redskins in this one. Plus, he had a fumble. To me, he is major disappointment, even after 13-catch, 122-yard night, not a success story.
How the hell Bradford got tagged for the fumble by DeMarco Murray that essentially sealed the deal in this one, since it was returned for a third-quarter score by Redskins DB DeAngelo Hall, is beyond me. The QB was spot on with his pitch to the veteran RB, placing it right on the latter’s fingertips. Was he supposed to hold Murray’s helmet in place to make sure the back kept his eyes on the ball as well instead of looking away before securing it? Ridiculous.
Head coach Chip Kelly getting crushed over the play call right there has some merit because, yeah, Murray had some success bursting up the middle on the previous series and this play called for an outside run. But the RB dropped the friggin’ ball, on a perfect pitch from Bradford. So we’ll never really know if the play was going to work or not.
LBs R Not Us
Not only has the trade for Kiko Alonso made Kelly, as GM, look foolish, but the Birds’ entire linebacking corps really … kinda … sucks. Even Connor Barwin, who has proven to be a front-line quality player not just here but previously in Houston, has done a major disappearing act this season on the field while seemingly being more concerned with earning NFL’s Man of the Year off of it.
They Are What They Are
For all the bluster about this year’s Eagles not meeting expectations, the real question is why were there any expectations? This was never a playoff team, and for those who think a play here or there, or game here or there made the difference, think again. The talent level is dreadful. Remember this: Kirk Cousins, who supposedly sucks, is better than Bradford. By a lot.
Actually impressed by the words emanating from Eagles fans.
Many of them. Heck, even some of the sportstalk yakkers in town, too. In the aftermath of another loss.
Hard to believe.
The fact that they’re able to look beyond the obvious, in-your-face coaching and personnel options worthy of their ire and actually point the finger in a higher direction … well, it’s almost like being a member of Rudy’s family while watching him get out on the field at South Bend and, gasp, actually make a play for the Irish.
Seriously … are you kidding me? They get it, they realize the problem for a 6-9 squad whose consistent trademark is its inconsistency goes beyond the used-car salesmanship of the carpet-bagging head coach or any of his overpaid, underperforming hired guns? That it’s an organizational issue so basic and boring that it often eludes those trying to turn “simple” into “rocket science” stuff?
Almost brings a tear to the eye.
Much like the Eagles 2015 season, only for a different reason …
Thing is, there is plenty of blame to go around. No one on the team or the front office is immune from it. They all played a part, either by what they did or did not do. But it all starts from the top and cascades down.
Frankly, the problem didn’t just kick in this past offseason with the restructuring of a franchise into becoming Chip’s World. Nor did 2015’s descent start with the trades for Sam Bradford and Kiko Alonso or free-agent pickup of DeMarco Murray.
Nah, this goes back to the silly, non-practical, emotionally charged, buddy-system way that owner Jeffrey Lurie has run the Birds since taking over two decades ago.
It’s not so much that it’s bad business. It’s just not ultimately championship-winning business.
Ray Rhodes, Andy Reid and Chip Kelly, all were blessed with varying levels of administrative and coaching skills, with how to build and lead a team, and Lurie stretched the limits with each until they snapped … and with the first two he kept clinging onto each for far too long, displaying a massive case of either guy love or fear or change or some combo of the two.
The fear here is that will continue with Kelly, who should be gone the moment the final whistle blows next week in the Meadowlands.
The owner is not a rash decision-maker in a profession that requires not only constant evaluation, but improvement. That includes letting go personnel, even ones with the primo parking spot reserved for the head coach, when it becomes obvious it is time to let it go.
You know, it is one thing to have faith in your people and give them responsibility. It is quite another to bury them with a pile of their own ego because you’re as afraid of losing them as they are of not having complete control.
It’s sad. Kinda along the same lines of sad in sticking with whatever is “trendy.”
Rhodes was the hot NFL coordinator.
Reid was the out-of-the-box pick.
Kelly was the “just gotta have” college coach.
Ugh, spare me.
None of them were inherently bad choices. They all had their merits. Even Kelly. Perhaps even especially him.
But the amount of genuflecting at his supposed genius done in this town by, first and foremost, the Eagles’ owner and then everyone else associated with the club, through the time of his courting, hiring and through most of his first two seasons was insane.
Kelly, clearly, can succeed at coaching to some degree. His record, even in the NFL following an abysmal third season, proves that. However, he wasn’t the equal of Bear Bryant, Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy and Nick Saban as a college coach, never mind the combination of all he was touted as being.
The reality: Kelly inherited a very good Oregon program that already was a national one, and improved it.
Dramatically? No. The Ducks were a top-10 team the year before he took over; in fact they came in No. 7 (and then 11th after his first year as head coach). They also had finished second in the country within the same decade. By the time he left after four years running the show, they had peaked with ending a season at No. 2 again.
Yes, Oregon was a national power under Kelly. It also had an annoying knack for coming up short in its biggest games. Sound familiar?
Why that was ignored during the vetting process by the Birds remains a mystery. Or the fact he originally turned down the position but suddenly had renewed, last-second interest once the Infractions Police starting snooping around Eugene, Ore.
But he was the popular choice, and Lurie stayed his man-crush course … right through giving the guy total autonomy to essentially run the entire operation before starting even a third campaign in his NFL career.
No, Kelly ain’t the real problem. He’s a byproduct of it, and until it changes, the Eagles are always going to have a problem.
- Jack Kerwin | email@example.com