Following the horrific 2012 football season, the Philadelphia Eagles decided it was time to begin a new regime and let Andy Reid ride out into the pastures of the NFL coaching pool, waiting until his next stop. His next destination wound up being Kansas City and he is now enjoying a road of relief and new found success, as his Chiefs are 8-0. In Philadelphia, we were enamored by the idea of breathing new life into a city and team who has been floundering in mediocrity for far too long. We were labeled as the gold standard not too long ago by Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, but the one thing he never imagined is we would be conceivably the cubic zirconia’s of the NFL instead of the fine diamonds and jewels. In the midst of regaining our previous success, Chip Kelly was brought in to steer us in to the world of evolution and leave all of the other 31 teams in the dust. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case and people are already pondering the what if’s or how come’s, instead of still understanding there is still lots of work to be done, in order to stay on the right path.
After going back and looking deeply into the first 8 games of the 2013 season, I come with an overall feeling of mediocrity again, but keeping calm to the fact that this is only a learning year for the coach and the players. That being said, I decided go look back to 2012 and compare the first 8 games to 2013 and see how much of a difference the Chip Kelly offense has made. Here is the breakdown:
2012 (first 8 games) 2013 (first 8 games)
Record 3-5 Record 3-5
Pass Yds: 1720 Pass Yds: 1986
Rush Yds: 824 Rush Yds: 1203
Total Offense: 2544 yards Total Offense: 3189 yards
Figure 1: this all comes out to a + 33 pass yds and 47 rush yards per game…81 yds of total offense per game.
The interesting thing about these numbers is we are in the plus category for both statistics, but it has not translated to more victories. Obviously, there is more than just raw numbers that contribute to wins and losses, but I think looking at the view of running the ball more then we are accustomed to, shows that Chip knows you need a running game to win in the NFL and also shows he understands that Lesean Mccoy is there best overall player. The one thing that concerns me is, even though this is a rebuilding year, the players might feel ready to jump off the Chip ship because the results are not going the way they envisioned. Chip Kelly has to be careful, as he is walking a fine line with veterans, who he is preaching a different culture from what they are used to hearing. In the confines of new surroundings, they will initially buy into the system, but if that system fails to operate or be successful they will tend to question it and start to go on their own statistical path of self promotion.
In my opinion, we cannot judge Chip Kelly, or this team for that matter because of the new systems in place and for the simple fact that our future QB isn’t even on our roster right now. We have to understand that Chip is trying to run his offense with his glass half full. The things that need to be taken from these games so far is improvement from game to game, play calling and emotion. I think the offense has been in a stalled state of regression, but in part due to injuries and uncertainty at the quarterback position. Furthermore, the play calling has been suspect to say the least, but keep in mind this is a year of adjustment for the players as well as the coach. Lastly, the one thing the team has not lacked so far has been emotion. This team has battled through each game, playing to the last minute, even if they couldn’t develop an offensive chemistry. Therefore, if I would have to grade the Eagles so far it would be a C+ because of inconsistencies on the field, but an overall product that is workable. The road is going to be long and bumpy, but I think this team will be back to prominence one day with Chip Kelly under the helm. So what’s your grade so far?
BY: Tony Cutillo (@TCutillo23)