Eagles Analysis: So far, so good for Chip Kelly


Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When the Philadelphia Eagles gave head coach Chip Kelly full power over the roster and the draft, I was not particularly happy. History suggests that very few head coaches can handle both roles successfully, it appears that Chip Kelly is no normal head coach however. I was initially worried that Chip Kelly would reach for extremely good athletes but not great football players after reading multiple posts about his size and speed requirements for certain positions.

I was proved wrong when Chip took wide receiver Nelson Agholor with the 20th overall pick as he could have easily taken Breshad Perriman who is bigger, stronger and faster than Agholor but not a better player. This one pick calmed me down and I have also loved a lot of Chip Kelly’s free agent signings. He may have overpaid for someone like Byron Maxwell but the Eagles badly needed a good cornerback.

Chip has taken a chance on multiple players who have previously been injured because he realizes he can get these players cheaper. So far, this plan is working extremely well. Sam Bradford looked excellent against the Packers and it is becoming quite evident that the St. Louis Rams would have never traded him away had he not suffered two serious knee injuries.

The best signing of free agency could easily be Walter Thurmond who Chip has moved to safety.

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Thurmond has shown in preseason that he is able to do what the Eagles require from their safetys as he is able to man up with opposing receivers in the slot and cover tight ends. Thurmond signed with the Eagles on a 1 year deal worth $3.25 million, how much is he currently worth to the Eagles? Chip was able to get a talented player like Thurmond on a cheap 1 year deal because he has previously been injured. Thurmond has reportedly been making plays all throughout training camp and already has 2 interceptions this preseason.

Chip also saw a deficiency in the market at running back where he was able to sign the offensive player of the year last season, running back DeMarco Murray, and in return significantly weaken the Eagles biggest rivals in the Cowboys. The Eagles probably slightly overpaid for Murray and decided not to overpay for Jeremy Maclin. Many saw this as a stupid move but Chip realised that wide receivers were simply getting paid too much at the moment in the currant market and they are easier to replace in his system.

However, you can’t put a price on how important Murray was to the Cowboys success last season. If Murray has half as good of a season this year as he did last year, nobody will be worried about how much the Eagles paid him. Especially if the Cowboys struggle this year without Murray and the Eagles win the NFC East.

Although Chip didn’t want to lose Jeremy Maclin, he knew he could replace him with cheaper options. Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff look like the prime candidates to replace Jeremy Maclin’s targets in the offense right now. Does anyone really miss Maclin? Maclin is a phenomenal and very underrated player in my opinion but at the moment in looks like Chip made the right decision to spend that money on the running back position and use draft picks on wide receivers and trust that his scheme can get them open.

Finally, who still wishes that the Eagles had done whatever it takes to get Marcus Mariota? Would the Eagles be a better football team right now with no Sam Bradford, Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks or Lane Johnson but with Mariota on the roster? Don’t forget they also wouldn’t have drafted Eric Rowe or Nelson Agholor and they also wouldn’t have a first or second round pick for the next couple of years.

Sam Bradford could still get injured and then the Eagles will not look very good this year. Walter Thurmond could get hurt again and the Eagles safety position will be back to being terrible. Chip took risks on all of these players and put faith in his sports science knowledge to keep these players healthy. We have seen how careful he has been with DeMarco Murray in practice, he has rarely fully practiced, yet he looked very sharp against the Packers too. Chip Kelly’s high risk plan might yet fail but it is so far, so good.

Next: Eagles vs. Packers Analysis: Defense and Special Teams

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