Jun 17, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks Matt Barkley (2) and Mark Sanchez (3) during mini camp at the Philadelphia Eagles NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Has It Dawned On You Yet?
The Philadelphia Eagles have been spoiled. From Donovan McNabb, to Michael Vick to Nick Foles, the team has a pretty good idea of who the starting quarterback was going to be from one year to the next. Suddenly, in 2015, after two seasons with ten win six loss records, we’re not sure who will be our starter, or even who will be an Eagle?
We ended 2014 with an injured Nick Foles on the IR list, and Mark Sanchez behind center. We start 2015 with injured Sam Bradford on the rehabbing list, and Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, and GJ Kinne all waiting in the wings to compete for playing time.
What about the one who shall not be named? What about, oh heck, I’ll name him, Marcus Mariota? Some point to the fact that he is a quarterback who has succeeded in Chip Kelly’s Oregon offense system. With that fact, the team should do everything in it’s power to reunite the Mariota with Kelly. But have we learned this year that Kelly prizes system over an individual player? The move to get Bradford was, in my opinion, a public admission that the leap to Mariota was simply to great of a leap to make from the 20th spot. In short, Bradford is the closest thing to “excellence” in the 2015 Eagles budget. Does that mean we fail miserably in 2015?
To date, the head coach has taken NFL quarterbacks, thrown them into his high powered offense scheme, and expected them to run the team up and down the field. Funny thing is, they have. But they are standard NFL quarterbacks with standard NFL quarterback coaches with a standard NFL offensive coordinator. The scheme is Kelly’s, and his alone. While Kelly supervises everything, he cannot be all places at all times. And the very fact that he is the head coach places him too high in a food chain to handle every question from a player unfamiliar with the scheme. In short, there is too little of the Chippah to go around. 2014 was a perfect illustration of what happens when that happens.
Ryan Day is more than a new rookie NFL quarterback coach. He’s been there – learning the system and working it from behind center. He understands which keys are most important and when, as he had been one of the first to do so. He doesn’t have to “buy into” the system which he once lived and breathed as a player, he’s already there. He already “gets it”. He’s taken those same principals and applied them in his own version of quarterbacks and offenses at the collegiate level.
At Boston College, his offense had a red zone proficiency of 32 touchdowns out of 33 attempts, good for a 96.9% effectiveness and tied for 2nd best in the nation. His offense also scored, averaging 27.2 points per game in 2013. Finally, his offense knew how to run too, churning 212.5 yards on the ground. In short, he’s a Kelly guy through and through.
Much can be said by quarterback coaches who have moved on, but what has not been hinted at is how satisfied Chip Kelly has been, or better yet, hasn’t been, with the play behind center. At each annual review, coaches are given feedback about their responsibility and whether the team is satisfied with goals accomplished over the course of a year. If a coach does not hear a standing ovation, they know it’s time to quietly put their name out to their coach associate, agent, and friends and see if they get picked up elsewhere. The fact that the Eagles have hired their fourth quarterback coach in four years suggests that it’s more than the quarterback coach themselves who are restless with the position. Perhaps at the annual review, the recommendation has been “we think it’s best if you hook up elsewhere” and the team and the coach part ways quietly. Perhaps not, but the team has not fought to retain the services of any of it’s quarterback coaches yet. That’s telling in itself.
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