Nov 27, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running backDeMarco Murray
(29) is gang tackled by the Philadelphia Eagles defense in the game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Is Kelly Putting The Fight Back Into Philly?
Mariota this, Mariota that… blah blah blah. To read what fans and news exists currently in readable form, you’d think the Eagles fortunes are somehow mystically and cosmically tied to the quarterback prospect out of the University of Oregon.
What is critical, vitally important, and should be at the top of the Eagles “TO DO” list is sticking the fight and the fire back into this team. We know the phrase “We’re from Philly and we fight” like we had spoken it ourselves. This one resonated with Philadelphia from the moment it was uttered by head coach Chip Kelly. He didn’t say “they”, he said “we”. That’s significant, and we’ll discuss why that is a little later.
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But let’s check out the Eagles “toughness” factor? Yes, this is an arbitrary assignment of gut check, playing above expectations, winning through adversity. In 2013, the Eagles mid point found themselves flailing at three wins out of eight games. That was as expected. But in that second half of the year, they “clicked”. Perhaps it was the ultra hot hand of quarterback Nick Foles? Perhaps it was the surprising agility and strength of nose tackle Bennie Logan? It may even have been a frustrated running back in LeSean McCoy whose time and finally come? When it did, he took advantage to run roughshod over eight NFL teams on an incredible seven win run for the playoffs. But whatever the reason or reason(s), the team definitely had fight, spunk, guts, fortitude.
When 2014 arrived, I saw the trip to the west coast to face the San Francisco 49ers as that test of fortitude. Running back Frank Gore, (who has since agreed to come to Philadelphia to play and then changed his mind and decided he wanted to play behind a passing offense) has a propensity to speak loud and long when someone places an open microphone up to him. In 2012, after squeaking by the Eagles in a two point victory due to a missed field goal, he talked about the Eagles quitting. 2014 was a chance to prove the Eagles did not quit. The game would be a test of just how tough the Eagles 2014 team was, and how their season would play out.
In the end, the team lost a close game.
The Eagles would go on to lose six games. While not bad unto itself, they lost games to teams who they would eventually be competing with for playoff spots. In the end, they failed on each head to head tie-breaker and would sit out the 2014 post season. They failed to rise up. They failed to help themselves. They failed to make the playoffs.
Fast forward to 2015. Gone are many familiar faces: Todd Herremans, Trent Cole, James Casey, Casey Matthews, Nate Allen, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, and Nick Foles. We now have DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, Kiko Alonso, Byron Maxwell, and William Thurmond, and Sam Bradford.
But the real question is, do we have our toughness back?
Next: Tough Times In Philadelphia