Tag Archives: Jeffrey Lurie

Philadelphia’s NFC East To Lose

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In 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles finished in last place in the NFC East. However that was very deceiving being that the Eagles had a record of 7-9. Philadelphia won their last two games of 2016 which were victories over the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys who were each postseason bound. The Eagles used the momentum from finishing strong in 2016 to carry over to the current season and the results have been extremely positive. After six games Philadelphia is 5-1 which includes them being 2-0 within the NFC East. And just like each of the last four times in which Philly finished in the basement of the NFC East for the previous season, they’ve once again rebounded in a big way.

In 2015, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie decided to dismiss Chip Kelly as the team’s head coach and in the process he decided to get his organization back to the basics. Lurie’s first order of business was to once again make Howie Roseman the Eagles general manager. Roseman had a good working relationship with former Eagles head coach Andy Reid as this duo help Philadelphia win the NFC Championship in 2004. Reid is currently the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Eagles sought out one of his proteges in Doug Pederson to be their next head coach.

Doug Pederson

Pederson had previously been an offensive assistant under Reid with the Eagles and he was brought back to the organization last year in order to get the ship righted.

Like most head coaches who take over a team, Pederson wanted to draft a quarterback to mold, and Philadelphia would trade up to the second overall spot in the 2016 National Football League Draft to select quarterback Carson Wentz.

Collegiately for the North Dakota State Bison, Wentz showed that he had the ability to operate a pro-style offense which included him being a member of five Football Championship Subdivision winners. Wentz was also a two-time FCS Championship Game Most Outstanding Player as this helped to make him a hot commodity as his National Football League career was set to begin.

Carson Wentz

Pederson didn’t waste any time as he named Wentz as the starting quarterback in Week 1 for the 2016 National Football League season, and the youngster was able to respond by helping Philly begin the campaign with a record of 3-0. Wentz would make all 16 starts as a rookie as he threw 16 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. But most importantly Wentz was never fazed as Philadelphia had found their next franchise quarterback.

Wentz has continued to assert himself this season as he has 13 touchdowns to just 3 picks. Wentz also has a pair of comeback victories under his belt which is due to his poise. At 6’5″. 237 lbs., Wentz is deceptively fast and agile for his size. Wentz has good scrambling ability which he uses to get out of the pocket when the play breaks down as this coincides with him not forcing the football down the field.

Wentz’s strong start is the perfect illustration to the commitment of Lurie, Roseman, and Pederson in regards to putting him in the best possible place to succeed. In a slew of key moves during the off-season the Eagles signed running back LeGarrette Blount, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, and defensive end Chris Long. All three players bring a veteran presence, while Long and Blount each helped the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl last year.

LeGarrette Blount

Last year the Eagles were 11th in the National Football League in rushing, but so far this season they are second with Blount leading the way as he is averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Jeffery has the potential to gain 1,000 yards receiving, while his presence takes some of the attention away from tight end Zach Ertz who is currently Philadelphia’s best pass catcher. And in the case of Long, he might not be the pass rusher that he was during his prime which was spent with the St. Louis Rams, but he is a professional in every since of the word which resonates with the team.

It has not taken the Eagles that long to buy into what Pederson has been selling as he has been a breath of fresh air from Kelly. In the nearly three years that Kelly was the Eagles, the locker room became fractured with most of the team turning against their head coach. Now the Eagles are back to having fun while they have an emerging leader in Wentz to go with Long, strong safety Malcolm Jenkins, and left tackle Jason Peters as leadership is always key for a team that is eyeing a championship.

And after the Eagles came into 2017 expected to have to slug it out with the Cowboys as well as the Giants for the top spot in the division, things are clearing up for Philadelphia faster than than the traffic on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The Giants have yet to win a game this season and after they lost three wide receivers for the season last Sunday, you can stick a fork in them. The Cowboys who were 13-3 last season are just 2-3 so far in 2017. Dallas has been unable to stop the run on defense, while things took a twist for them as the National Football League was able to reinstate their six-game suspension on Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot which changes the tenor of the season for them. The Washington Redskins shouldn’t be much of a factor in the NFC East either, and with the Eagles having already defeating them this season, they really have a leg up.

So now that the Eagles are on cruise control within the NFC East, they can look at the bigger picture which is potentially securing a first-round bye in the playoffs. Philadelphia’s 28-23 road win over the Carolina Panthers has to do well for their psych as the Panthers themselves are one of the top teams in the NFC.

Pederson is looking to join his former boss in Reid who was able to get the Eagles to the playoffs in just his second second with the team. But will Pederson be able to do something that Reid was unable to do which is to get the Eagles a Super Bowl Championship?

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2016 NFC East Projections

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X-Dallas Cowboys 9-7

After winning the NFC East in 2014, the bar of expectations for the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2015 National Football League season increased. But when quarterback Tony Romo suffered a broken clavicle last September, the Cowboys chances went up in smoke. Dallas would go 4-12 for their worst season since 1989 and they are now hopeful for a quick turnaround.

Ezekiel Elliot

With a porous season for the Cowboys, it resulted in them gaining the fourth overall pick in the National Football League Draft which led to them selecting former Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot is a home-run hitter at the running back position that is always on the verge of breaking a big play. Elliot will run behind an offensive line that is one of the biggest and physical groups in football as they are reminiscent of Dallas’ line in the 1990’s.

Left tackle Tyron Smith and center Travis Frederick are developing into two of the better players at their respective positions, and guard La’el Collins has the potential to be a Pro Bowl selection this year. And this offensive line will be very important as they must find a way to protect Romo.

Like Romo, wide receiver Dez Bryant is looking to bounce back after an injury hampered his 2015 campaign. Bryant only appeared in nine games last season due to a foot injury and his presence is vital for any success that the Cowboys intend on having. But Bryant has had to deal with his fair share of feet and ankle injuries and you have to wonder if he’ll begin to lose some of his speed and explosiveness. However having Bryant on the field opens things up for the other Cowboys wide receivers such as Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams who then tend to get more one-on-one coverage on them.

But the Cowboys chances simply come down to the health of Romo. Collarbone and clavicle injuries have been taking their toll on Romo who is one or two good hits away from having to bid farewell to the National Football League. And unfortunately for the Cowboys, they don’t have any insurance behind Romo as they have not used a first-round pick on a quarterback since selecting Troy Aikman in 1989.

Defensive for the Cowboys, team owner/general manager Jerry Jones took some chances on some players and it has recently come back to bite him in the rear end. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, middle linebacker Rolando McClain, and defensive end Randy Gregory are facing suspensions from the National Football League this year as each player was expected to have an impact on that side of the football for Dallas.

In the secondary, cornerback Morris Claiborne has nine lives and he might be on his ninth life with the Cowboys as it simply has not worked out for him in Dallas. But cornerback/safety Byron Jones could be ready to step into a leadership role on that side of the football.

Kicker Dan Bailey has been a key cog for the Cowboys in recent years as he is almost automatic from within 55 yards, and more importantly he has a strong leg to get it done when the temperature changes which will be big for Dallas’ chances of getting to the postseason.

Jason Garrett

For Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, he and his squad have a chance to get on the right foot as they’ll host the New York Giants in Week 1 before traveling to face the Washington Redskins in Week 2. The Redskins won the NFC East last year and the Cowboys definitely want to try to set the tone for themselves in 2016 with a strong start within the division.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Giants 9-7

There will definitely be a different feel to the New York Giants this year as for the first time since 2003, Tom Coughlin is not the team’s head coach. Coughlin was at the forefront of one of the greatest stretches in Giants franchise history, but after three consecutive losing seasons and not making the postseason since 2011, he was relieved of his duties at the end of the 2015 National Football League season. But if you’ve watched the Giants over the past two years, you saw the writing on the wall when Ben McAdoo was hired to be the team’s offensive coordinator in 2014. McAdoo has been groomed to be the Giants head coach and the time is now for him to have his opportunity.

Eli Manning

For Giants quarterback Eli Manning, he is hands down the most prolific quarterback in the 92-year history of the franchise. But what has hurt Manning recently is that the Giants have not put the most talented team around him. However Manning is entering his third season working with McAdoo which should benefit him and the Giants offense.

One thing that will definitely help Manning is wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. In just two years in the National Football League, Beckham has already amassed 2,755 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns as he is on the fast track to becoming the best wide receiver in the history of the Giants.

But the Giants will holding their breath on wide receiver Victor Cruz who has been hit with the injury bug over the last two years. In 2014, Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon, while a calf injury kept him out for the entire 2015 National Football League season. The deck is stacked against him as far as having the same explosiveness that made him an overnight sensation in 2011, however the key for him is to be healthy.

Sterling Shepard

In the second round of the 2016 National Football League Draft, the Giants selected wide receiver Sterling Shepard who is Cruz with the explosiveness. The last few years have seen Shepard be one of the most dynamic wide receivers on the college football scene and it shouldn’t take him that long to become a favorite of Manning; especially on third down.

However as good as Beckham, Cruz, and Shepard can be, they are all smaller wide receivers which doesn’t help the Giants in the red zone where they need a big, physical receiver, or tight end. The Giants haven’t had a wide receiver with that presence since Hakeem Nicks in 2011, and they’ve lacked a player with that ability at tight end since Jeremy Shockey who last played with the team in 2007. However the Giants believe in their combination at tight end in Will Tye and Larry Donnell to be good options for Manning.

Under McAdoo, Manning has worked on getting the football out quicker which has taken away some stress from the Giants offensive line. But after having so much continuity on the offensive line from 2005-2012, the Giants have spent the past few years getting younger and more athletic. The Giants have used first-round picks on left tackle Ereck Flowers and guard Justin Pugh who along with center Weston Richburg need to become consistent contributors on the offensive line in 2016 if New York’s offense is going to have some success.

Defensively in 2015, the Giants never got on track as they were the worst unit in the National Football League. It was ten times easier for opponents to navigate their way through the Giants defense than traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike as they simply couldn’t stop anyone. As Steve Spagnuolo is in the second year of his second stint as Giants defensive coordinator, he is looking to get the unit back to what he had in 2007 when they made life tough for opposing quarterbacks en route to winning the Super Bowl.

A fireworks incident appeared ready to derail the career of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul who played last year in spite of losing two fingers. Pierre-Paul played with a “club” on his right hand, and although that he was able to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, he was unable to record sacks. Pierre-Paul had a surgery on his hand this off-season that means no more club for him on his right hand, but he will still be fighting an uphill battle to tally quarterback sacks.

To offset Pierre-Paul, Giants general manager Jerry Reese went out and spent big in free agency on the defensive side of the football. The Giants signed defensive end Olivier Vernon to a five-year contract that could potentially be worth $85 million. In four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Vernon had 29 sacks, but with the contract that he signed, the folks in the Tri-State Area want to see him become a great pass rusher in the mode of Lawrence Taylor and Michael Strahan.

Aside from Vernon, the Giants also signed defensive tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Janoris Jenkins to big deals this off-season, while using their first-round pick on cornerback Eli Apple. The additions of Jenkins and Apple give the Giants much needed depth in the secondary as veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie could be the team’s nickel cornerback, or Apple could assume that role as he gets his feet wet.

Landon Collins

After a solid rookie season in 2015, strong safety Landon Collins could be ready to take a bigger role defensively as he showed flashes last year of being a game changer which will be vital if the Giants are going to end their playoff drought.

The Giants linebacking core has been weak in recent years and this is a unit that has been searching for a leader since Antonio Pierce retired in 2009. And it will once again be a patch work unit here in 2016 which will hurt New York’s chances.

It seems like just about each National Football League season in recent years has the Giants opening with the Dallas Cowboys and that will be the same in 2016 when New York travels to AT&T Stadium to get things started in a few weeks. But the pressure will be on Reese to get the Giants to the playoffs for the first time since winning Super Bowl 46 as he has run out of people to fire and team co-owner John Mara wants to see some positive results from his team.

Washington Redskins 6-10

The Washington Redskins found themselves as one of the pleasant surprises during the 2015 National Football League season as they came out of nowhere to win the NFC East. But the Redskins will begin 2016 looking to do something that they have not done since 1992 which is to make the playoffs in consecutive years. And to give you an idea of how long that has been, it was the last year of Joe Gibbs’ initial run as Redskins head coach, while the team still also called RFK Stadium home.

Kirk Cousins

In 2015, Kirk Cousins shocked many skeptics (myself included) to have the finest passing season of any Redskins quarterback to date. Cousins passed for 4,196 yards and 29 touchdowns as his famous catchphrase “you like that” was right at the forefront. The emergence of Cousins would see the Redskins part with quarterback Robert Griffin III who was the second overall pick of the 2012 National Football League Draft. Ironically Cousins was a seventh-round selection that year, but he was the one that was more prepared for the pro-style offense that Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is running. But the biggest question around Cousins entering the upcoming season is whether or not that last year was a fluke, or is he ready to become the Redskins franchise quarterback?

The Redskins allowed running back Alfred Morris to leave in free agency which means that running back Matt Jones will have an increased role this year in the team’s rushing attack. Morris was the team’s leading rusher last year with just 751 and Washington cannot afford to have an imbalance on offense like they did in 2015.

Tight end Jordan Reed and wide receiver Pierre Garcon should once again be the recipient of the majority of Cousins passes, but the Redskins must find a way to incorporate wide receiver DeSean Jackson into the offense more. Jackson missed six games last year due to injury and and Washington needs him to be healthy as he is their deep threat at wide receiver.

Last year under defensive coordinator Joe Barry, the Redskins defense was a no-named band of brothers. But there will be some swagger in D.C. this year with the addition of cornerback Josh Norman. In four years with the Carolina Panthers, Norman developed a reputation around the National Football League as a solid cover corner. However we’ll soon find out if what we’ve seen from Norman was his ability, or the fact that he played behind a solid front seven with the Panthers.

Washington will have the luxury of beginning the upcoming season with consecutive home games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. But it will be tough for the Redskins to once again find the formula that worked so fluidly for them in 2015.

Philadelphia Eagles 6-10

Jeffrey Lurie

After nearly three years of seeing the Chip Kelly experiment destroy his locker room, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie decided to make a change. Lurie had gotten away from what had made his Eagles successful when he fired longtime head coach Andy Reid in 2012, in favor of a college coach in Kelly. Kelly tried to run the Eagles in the same mode that he ran his college program with the Oregon Ducks, but in the National Football League he didn’t realize that he was dealing with grown men. Lurie gave Kelly full autonomy over all personnel decisions which was a recipe for disaster. But Lurie saw the ills of his ways and he has decided to go back to the formula that made his Eagles a perennial playoff contender in the 2000’s.

With the termination of Kelly, Howie Roseman who is the Eagles executive vice president of football operations is now back to being the main decision maker when it comes to the team’s personnel moves. Roseman’s first order of business was to hire Doug Pederson as the Eagles new head coach. Pederson is very familiar with the Eagles family as he played for them as well as serving as an assistant coach under Reid.

Doug Pederson

Pederson is looking to rebuild the Eagles from the ground up and the first order of business for him was to find a franchise quarterback. At the 2016 National Football League Draft, the Eagles moved up to the second overall spot to select quarterback Carson Wentz. At 6’5″ 237 lbs., Wentz has the size to be a solid NFL quarterback, along with a strong arm. But Wentz has a tough task ahead of him as he looks to win over the fans in Philadelphia who’ve been known to be rather hostile.

However the Eagles are going about in the right way as Wentz is not expected to begin the season under center for the Eagles as he’ll have a clipboard in his hands, and an earpiece in his ear. Sam Bradford was the Eagles starting quarterback in 2015, and even though that the writing is on the wall as far as him not being in the long term plans of Philadelphia, he isn’t ready to give up the starter’s role without a fight.

It’s best that the Eagles are not ready to throw Wentz to the wolves as they don’t have a solid running game to protect him. The Eagles will more than likely employ a running back by committee system with Ryan Matthews and Kenjon Barner more than likely getting the bulk of the carries.

Zach Ertz

Philadelphia does have some young talent to catch the football in wide receiver Jordan Matthews and tight Zach Ertz who should once again be able to click with Bradford in the passing game. And it also didn’t hurt that the Eagles recently acquired wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham from the Tennessee Titans. Green-Beckham has immense potential, but it is just a matter of him becoming consistent.

The Eagles defense has been undersized in recent years with Kelly at the helm, but there will be a new brand of physical and aggressive football under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. The Eagles were 30th in the National Football League last year in total defense and in order for them to improve, safety Malcolm Jenkins cannot lead this unit in tackles for a second consecutive year. The Eagles have veteran pass rushers in defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and defensive end Connor Barwin who must get after opposing quarterbacks and possibly force some turnovers.

The Eagles will more than likely be fighting an uphill battle in 2016, but Pederson is in the process of laying the foundation for his time in Philadelphia.

X-Division Winner

Source: Pro-football-reference.com

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All The Right Moves

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Jeffrey Lurie

After three years with Chip Kelly running the show as the head coach and de facto general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles, team owner Jeffrey Lurie knew that it was time to make a change. Last December when it became evident that Kelly had lost the Eagles locker room as he tried to run the team as if the players were in college as opposed to being professionals, Lurie fired him with one game left in the 2015 National Football League season. Lurie then decided to get back to basics which meant that Howie Roseman would once again be running things as the Eagles general manager. Roseman had served as the Eagles general manager from 2010-2014 until a power struggle between he and Kelly led to him changing roles within the organization. However with Kelly being fired, Roseman is once again Lurie’s right hand man. Roseman’s first order of business would be to hire former Eagles quarterback and assistant coach Doug Pederson to be the team’s new head coach and together these two men have been working together over the past few weeks to remove the stench that was left behind in Philadelphia from Kelly’s tenure.

When Kelly was fired, he didn’t leave Roseman and Pederson a championship team to work with and thus the Eagles are now in rebuilding mode.

DeMarco Murray

Last year the Eagles signed running back DeMarco Murray to a five-year deal that was worth $42 million. Murray’s signing with the Eagles came on the heels of Kelly trading running back LeSean McCoy who was the franchise’s all-time leading rusher to the Buffalo Bills. Murray is a downhill runner who’s style was never a match for Kelly’s spread offense system as he was a fish out of water who was brought to Philadelphia simply to be kept away from his former employer in the Dallas Cowboys. And as Roseman along with Pederson are starting over from scratch, they shipped Murray to the Tennessee Titans while the clubs will also swap fourth-round picks in next month’s National Football League Draft.

In exchange for sending McCoy to the Bills last year, the Eagles received linebacker Kiko Alonso who was brought to Philadelphia due to his familiarity with Kelly from their time together at the University of Oregon when Kelly was the head football coach there. Another one of Kelly’s moves last off-season was to sign cornerback Byron Maxwell to a six-year, $63 million contract. Maxwell received that hefty payday due to the potential that he had shown while playing for the Seattle Seahawks alongside a trio of All-Pros in the Seahawks secondary in cornerback Richard Sherman, strong safety Kam Chancellor, and free safety Earl Thomas. Maxwell was unable to live up to his contract with the Eagles last season as he didn’t bring Sherman, Thomas, or Chancellor to Philadelphia with him. And now Maxwell, along with Alonso will have a new home in 2016 as they were traded by the Eagles to the Miami Dolphins. As well as shedding salary, the Eagles will also swap first-round picks with the Dolphins as Philadelphia will be picking eighth overall as opposed to 13th.

Two years ago quarterback Mark Sanchez was signed by the Eagles with the intention of him being a backup. Sanchez had a prior life to joining the Eagles as he helped the New York Jets reach a pair of AFC Championship Games, but he was never able to rekindle that magic in Philadelphia. And after two years with the Eagles, Sanchez was traded last week to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a conditional pick in next year’s draft.

Sam Bradford

This off-season the Eagles did re-sign quarterback Sam Bradford to a two-year deal that is worth $35 million. Bradford has a base salary for the upcoming season of $7 million which is team friendly; especially for a guy that has not proven that he can stay healthy or be a franchise quarterback in the National Football League which includes his time with the St. Louis Rams. And Bradford’s contract along with his inconsistent play means that the Eagles don’t have to commit to him long-term which gives the team the opening to go into full rebuilding mode as that could lead to Philadelphia drafting a quarterback next month.

There will be quarterbacks that have a first-round tag attached to them in the 2016 National Football League Draft such as North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz, California quarterback Jared Goff, and Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. And as of right now there is a pretty good chance that the Eagles will select a quarterback in the first round being that their second round pick in now property of the Los Angeles Rams.

Doug Pederson

Pederson who was a disciple of former Eagles and current Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid wants to get the ball rolling with a new quarterback, but it doesn’t mean that he has to start him right away in the mode of his former employer. In 1999, Reid’s first ever draft selection as the Eagles head coach was used on quarterback Donovan McNabb which was not initially popular among the fans in Philadelphia. As a rookie, McNabb only started six games, but by 2001, the Eagles would reach their first of four consecutive appearances in the NFC Championship Games. By re-signing Bradford, it now gives the Eagles that buffer to select a quarterback early while allowing him to sit back and assess the game from the sideline for a bit.

Make no mistake about it that the Eagles weren’t going to win anytime soon with the likes of Murray, Alonso, Maxwell, or Sanchez on the roster and it was extremely wise for Roseman to ship them out of town while getting some draft picks back in return. ¬†And although that the folks in Philadelphia want to see the Eagles be able to immediately compete in the NFC East, Roseman and Pederson’s moves are not are not about the short-term as they are attempting to set this team up to compete for the long-term which hearkens back to Reid’s time with the club.

The NFC East hasn’t been a dominant division for quite some time and if the Eagles can lay the proper groundwork at next month’s National Football League Draft, they could set themselves up to run roughshod over the division just like they did from 2000-2010 when they made nine playoff appearances while winning the division on six occasions.

When Lurie fired Reid in 2012, he cited the need for a change and he believed that Kelly had fresh ideas that would take the Eagles to the next level. But as it became evident that this wouldn’t be the case, Lurie went back to the basics with Roseman and Pederson which could put the Eagles on the fast track to success; especially if they’re able to handle their business at next month’s National Football League Draft.

Source: Overthecap.com

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Time To Adjust

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Jeffrey Lurie

In 2013, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie made a splash when he went to the the college ranks to find his next head coach. After four years at the University of Oregon, Chip Kelly decided to take his fast paced, spread offense to the National Football League when he agreed to become the head coach of the Eagles. Kelly had his fair share of skeptics as far as him being able to succeed in the NFL due to the fact that his spread offense was a bit unconventional. Kelly would have immediate success in 2013 as he led the Eagles to the NFC East Title with a record of 10-6. The Eagles would once again go 10-6 last year, but this time around they would fail to make the postseason. However things are a little bit different for Kelly and the Eagles this time around as after four games in 2015, they are 1-3 and still searching for answers.

Lurie has not only made Kelly the Eagles head coach, but he has also made him the team’s de facto general manager as he now oversees all of the team’s personnel decisions. And now that Kelly has the keys to the car, he is attempting to build the Eagles in his own image, but is it working?

Chip Kelly

When Kelly became the Eagles head coach in 2013, he inherited a team that had talent at the offensive skill positions, but he has decided to part with it. In 2014, the Eagles released wide receiver DeSean Jackson who would ultimately sign with the Washington Redskins. Jackson’s departure from Philadelphia was rather controversial due to the fact that he claimed that someone within the Eagles organization began to spread rumors about him having gang affiliations. This past off-season, the Eagles decided to trade running LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills while allowing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to leave as a free agent as he would go on to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs. McCoy left Philadelphia as the Eagles all-time leading rusher and he is in the prime of his football career at the age of 27 which made his departure so surprising. After trading McCoy, Kelly decided to sign running back DeMarco Murray who led the National Football League in rushing last year as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. But through four games this season, Murray only has 11 yards on the ground which has led to a frustrated and irate running back who sounded off during the Eagles 20-3 home loss in Week 2 to the Dallas Cowboys as Kelly must realize that he is not in college anymore and his spread offense isn’t guaranteed to succeed.

By Lurie making Kelly the de facto general manager, he has only fed the ego of his head coach. One of the biggest differences in the college game as opposed to the pros is that the coach has all of the power collegiately being that he possesses total control over the student-atheletes. But in the pro ranks it is totally different as players make more money that their head coaches and in the National Football League, you need stars to win. Kelly has decided to part with the star players such as Jackson, McCoy, and Maclin while relying on his system alone which won’t amount to too many victories in the NFL.

Kelly’s system philosophy is also visible at the most important position on the football field which is quarterback. Since 2013, the Eagles have had four different starting quarterbacks with none of them being able to last a whole season due to injury. Kelly’s quarterbacks tend to get injured because of the system that they are playing in which has them carrying the ball as if they are running backs. Quarterbacks in the Eagles system take unnecessary hits, and unlike the college game, linebackers and defensive lineman are equally as fast as the signal callers. And when they hit quarterbacks outside of the pocket, they are free meat.

Sam Bradford is the latest contestant on wheel of quarterbacks with the Eagles. Bradford was acquired by the Eagles this past off-season from the St. Louis Rams. Bradford was the first overall pick of the 2010 National Football League Draft by the Rams. Bradford’s career record as a starting quarterback is only 19-33-1 and he has only been able to make all 16 regular season starts twice in his NFL career while failing to play a full season since 2012. Through four games this season, Bradford has completed 62.4 percent of his passes, but he’s already thrown 4 interceptions to just a pair of touchdown passes which has already brought jeers and angst in Philadelphia.

DeMarco Murray

When Murray led the National Football League in rushing last season as a member of the Cowboys, he played behind one of the best offensive lines in football. And like Bradford, Murray has had durability issues as well being that 2014 was the only year in which he made all 16 regular season starts. In Dallas, Murray also had the luxury of playing with Pro Bowl caliber talent at the skill positions in quarterback Tony Romo, tight end Jason Witten, and wide receiver Dez Bryant. Now with the Eagles, Murray is just another guy that Kelly will look to fit into his system instead of him adjusting his system to his personnel. Murray is not a running back that will benefit from the spread offense, but at the same time he knew what he was getting into when he sought out the payday that the Eagles were offering him. And to make matters worse for Murray and the Eagles, he is currently nursing a hamstring injury.

Since Kelly came to Philadelphia, he has gone with an undersized defense that is predicated on speed. The Eagles currently only have five defensive players that tip the scales at 300 lbs. or higher. The lighter defense hasn’t helped the Eagles as they are currently 23rd in total defense in the National Football League while being 29th in 2013, and 28th in 2014 which isn’t going to get it done in the professional ranks. And as the season progresses, the Eagles defense tends to wear down due to the fact that they are giving up size; especially in their front seven.

When the Eagles won the NFC East in 2013, Kelly was the talk of the National Football League as he and Lurie appeared to be geniuses. But a head coach in the NFL cannot solely rely on his system as it is also about the players there as well. When Kelly was hired, the Eagles were riding the trend of NFL teams hiring college head coaches after seeing the success of Pete Carroll with the Seattle Seahawks and Jim Harbaugh who was formerly of the San Francisco 49ers. But unlike Carroll who had previously coached in the NFL with the New York Jets and New England Patriots, and Harbaugh who had played in the league as a quarterback, Kelly didn’t have prior experience in the pro ranks which appears to be hurting Philadelphia. By the looks of things the NFC East will be weak this year and a record of 8-8 or 9-7 might win it. But even with that, the Eagles could be the odd team out in the race and if Kelly wants to have a long tenure in the NFL, it might be time to made some adjustments to his philosophy.

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The Mad World Of Chip Kelly

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Chip Kelly

There is no doubt that Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly dances to a different beat. Prior to becoming the head coach of the Eagles, Kelly was the head football coach of the Oregon Ducks. In four seasons at Oregon, Kelly’s record was 46-7 including three Pac-12 Conference Titles. Kelly built his Oregon program on speed and his uptempo spread offense. Kelly drew national recognition for his coaching style and after previously flirting with becoming the head of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he joined the Eagles in 2013.

Kelly had immediate success with the Eagles as he led them to the NFC East Title in just his first year on the job. In two seasons with the Eagles, Kelly has a record of 20-12, but heading into next season Philadelphia’s roster will look totally different.

LeSean McCoy

This off-season Kelly has been wheeling and dealing as established players at the skill positions have been leaving Philadelphia faster than the Amtrak from Penn Station there. In six seasons with the Eagles, running back LeSean McCoy became the team’s all-time leading rusher. McCoy is only 26-years of age, but Kelly was attempting to make salary cap space and he traded him to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso. Kelly instead opted to sign former Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray to a five-year, $42 million deal to replace McCoy in Philadelphia. Murray is coming off a season in which he led the NFL in rushing yards with 1,845, but this past season is the only one of his four-year career in which he made all 16 starts.

Like McCoy, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is only 26-years of age and he is coming off of his finest season in the NFL as he tallied 1,318 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns. But Maclin was a free agent and he left Philadelphia to sign a five-year, $55 million deal to join former Eagles head coach Andy Reid with the Kansas City Chiefs. In 2013, quarterback Nick Foles burst onto the scene by throwing 27 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions for the Eagles. But Foles was traded to the St. Louis Rams this week in exchange for quarterback Sam Bradford. The past few weeks have also seen the Eagles release longtime veterans in guard Todd Herremans and defensive end/outside linebacker Trent Cole. And the only thing that these moves have done is to make the folks on Broad Street scratch their heads.

When Kelly came to the Eagles it appeared to be a match made in heaven. When Reid was fired by the Eagles, he left Kelly with a speedy team that he was capable of working with due to his coaching philosophies. But Kelly has parted with that speed and you cannot forget about him simply releasing wide receiver DeSean Jackson last year.

The main problem going on right now with Kelly is that he has simply allowed his ego to get the best of him. This off-season Howie Roseman was relieved of his duties as Eagles general manager and he is now the team’s executive vice president of football operations. Now along with being the Eagles head coach, Kelly is the team’s general manager and the only person that he has to answer to in the organization is team owner Jeffrey Lurie which gives him free reign to make whatever personnel decisions that his heart desires.

But the National Football League is not run like things are in college. At Oregon, Kelly’s word was law and he could recruit and control players to fit his system. However in the NFL, for the most part it is the players that make more money than the head coaches. And those same head coaches are charged with adjusting their system to their players.

Riley Cooper

Kelly’s spread offense has been a success in its first two years in the NFL as the Eagles have finished second and fifth respectively in total offense under him. But unless Kelly has an ace up his sleeve, the Eagles are going into next season with Riley Cooper slated to be their top wide receiver which doesn’t leave you with a ton of optimism as he has gained just 2,091 receiving yards in five seasons in the league. Kelly’s system also puts a ton of pressure on the quarterback to be a runner and thus no signal-caller in his two years with the Eagles has been able to make all 16 starts as they take their fair share of hits. Now Kelly is turning to a quarterback in Bradford that is 18-30-1 as a starter in the NFL and he hasn’t played a full season since 2012. You cannot coach speed in the NFL and you can also not afford to have consistent turnover at the quarterback position like the Eagles are currently having. Under Kelly, the Eagles have used four different starting quarterbacks. Kelly’s reasoning with deciding to part with so many talented players is beyond logic. The fans in Philly have been behind Kelly so far, but we all know that the folks in the City of Brotherly Love will turn on you in a heartbeat if they don’t agree with what you’re doing. At this point Kelly better hit a grand slam at the NFL Draft this spring to improve the talent on the Eagles roster or the folks in Philadelphia will turn on him while reminiscing of the days when Reid roamed the sidelines there.

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