Continued Patience Needed in Evaluation of Chip Kelly
In sports we often define success through wins and losses. Whether they’re monumental wins such as Superbowls, World Series’ or NBA Championships, or simply a week 10, 27-13 victory over the Aaron Rodger-less, Green Bay Packers. Despite what your grade school coach told you, winning certainly matters. But in sports like everything else in the world, there are exceptions. Take Dan Marino for example; the guy never won a single Superbowl in his entire career, but I bet he could outplay 3/4 of the quarterbacks in today’s NFL and do it with statistical grace. I mean, it’s not like he wasn’t inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame or anything of that nature. In basketball, a popular example is often Charles Barkley. Once again, I believe this Hall of Famer could out play 3/4 of the league while performing exceptionally well on the stat-sheet.
The success I’m going to try and relay to you today is related to that of Archie Manning, the father of two NFL quarterbacks whose names you know all too well. Anyway, Archie Manning was, in the eyes of some (myself included), a successful NFL quarterback. Of course not all view him this way because he didn’t have staggering numbers like Peyton or the rings like Eli, but he was named to the NFL Pro-Bowl several times – and this was back when it wasn’t ONLY a popularity contest.
Now let’s shift to today, to a popular figure amongst NFL head coaches who’s offense is faster than that of a race horse. His name? Chip Kelly.
Now how does the Archie Manning story relate to the Philadelphia Eagles head coach? Well simply look at the Eagles mediocre-at-best 5-5 record. While he was at Oregon, Chip Kelly posted a phenomenal 46-7 record. He’s two NFL losses away from matching his college total. When fans alike view the Eagles 5-5 record and remember who is running this fast-paced, offensive scheme, they are quick to judge. Their judgment being that the Eagles aren’t a good team and that this “Chip Kelly experiment” has failed. But here’s the funny thing, it hasn’t!
Statistically speaking, the Eagles offense ranks 4th in the entire league. FOURTH! That’s what Kelly has been known for, right – his high-powered, fast-paced offense. That at least has been a clear success. Well then why if their offense is so good, are they just 5-5?
When we look on the other side of the ball, the defense, it’s ranked at 31st in the league in yards allowed. Not to bash on the defense because I do believe they’re improving very quickly, but at the start of the season, aside from the first half of the Redskins game they have been bad. Very bad. With all that said, let’s understand that Chip Kelly knew he wasn’t a defensive man so he brought in help.
Bill Davis, the defensive coordinator of the Eagles, completely switched the style of defense from last year’s Eagles team while under Andy Reid, to a 3-4 style defense. Contrary to popular belief among some NFL fans, that’s not something you can do overnight and expect immediate results. Have you watched the defense in the past couple of games? It’s obvious that they have improved a lot. Sure they relinquish a lot of yards, but they’ve been the true definition of bend-but-don’t-break defense as they have only allowed 2 touchdowns out of 10 opportunities in the redzone from opposing offenses.
The Philadelphia Eagles are 5-5 tied atop the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys. The offense has played well all season, with the exception of 2 games, and the defense is getting better at the right time. Right now I believe this is the Eagles division to lose. Chip Kelly, being the smart, successful man that he is, won’t let that happen.
Interested in writing for LastWordOnSports? If so, check out our “Join Our Team” page to find out how.
Football fans…check out our two partnered NFL podcasts - Thursday Night Tailgate Radio and Overtime Ireland. Both shows bring you interesting commentary, critical analysis and fantastic guests including former and current NFL players, coaches and personalities.