It’s been a strange time to be a Philadelphia Eagles fan. In a matter of weeks, we’ve gone from hoping the Eagles would win a terrible NFC East and host a playoff game to wondering who the next head coach would be.
I’ve been off for a few weeks, so I’m going to catch up a bit before jumping forward in this week’s Monday Morning Touchdown.
1) The Washington Redskins game
I was there for the 38-24 defeat at Lincoln Financial Field. A few things stood out. First, this team finds so many ways to beat itself. From Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford missing a wide open tight end Zach Ertz for a sure touchdown, to wide receiver Nelson Agholor dropping a perfect pass that hit him in the hands, to DeMarco Murray fumbling away a perfect pitch on a play he might have otherwise scored a touchdown – but instead allowing a Washington scoop-and-score that pretty much ended the Eagles’ season.
All Murray had to do was catch the ball. The edge was perfectly sealed. There was no one for at least 20 yards and then, well, who knows. But he put the ball on the ground to kill the season and head coach Chip Kelly.
I haven’t even discussed the defense, which was abysmal as usual. I’m just thankful that, hopefully soon, Billy Davis will officially be gone, too.
2) The firing of Chip Kelly
I think Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie made the most idiotic decision of his ownership when he fired Kelly. He set the Eagles back a decade or more and has turned this franchise into the Cleveland Browns.
It made no sense to fire Kelly, a head coach with a clear direction who had just been given full control over personnel in January 2015. What, because the Eagles didn’t win a Super Bowl this year, we’re going to change general managers? Then how come Howie Roseman keeps getting more opportunities?
I’ve heard people criticize Kelly’s offense as predictable, which is an absurd accusation to level against him. Why? Because everyone is predictable. This is why NFL teams spend so much time watching film of their opponents. If no one was predictable, there would be no reason to do this. Kelly was no more predictable than any other coach in the NFL.
If you want to make an argument against Kelly, I think it’s that the team was sloppy. Some would point to his practice style, which focuses on repetitions and leaves corrections to the meeting rooms. But the first two years under Kelly weren’t like that, so was this a result of his methods or simply an aberration?
And as for his personnel decisions, people have some pretty poor memories. This same amazing roster Kelly supposedly disassembled went 8-8 and 4-12 in the last two years under Andy Reid and got that coach fired. Kelly was building a team that fit his vision of what it took to win, and such a construction project takes more than one season. To remove Kelly when he’s in the middle of that kind of conversion was the most idiotic decision Lurie could make. Kelly is a unique coach with unique needs. The roster will not fit the needs of the next coach, meaning more years of turnover and turmoil.
Get ready for a long time at the bottom of the standings, everyone. Get ready to be Cleveland.
3) The New York Giants game
Yeah, I know, by winning the game the Eagles went from having the 10th pick in the draft to the 13th pick in the draft. But they also avoided a trip to London and Bradford showed off more of why Kelly invested so much in his acquisition.
If this game showed anything, it’s that the Eagles need to bring Bradford back long term in order to have any chance of being relevant. He’s a quality quarterback in a league of mediocrity.
4) The coaching search
The Eagles lost out on who was widely reported to be their top candidate when former Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase was hired by the Miami Dolphins.
This might have been the best thing that could have happened for the Eagles. I never understood the alleged infatuation with a guy who led a mediocre offense in Chicago.
But this guy being a leading candidate is a further indictment of the decision to fire Kelly. Really? This was the plan? Hire a guy with no real history of success?
5) The one candidate who makes sense
Former Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, who is now in the same job with a Carolina Panthers team that went 15-1, should be on the Roseman radar. Somehow, though, he has not been brought in for an interview.
This means one of two things: 1) McDermott is the top candidate and the Eagles are waiting to interview him last, assuming he’s going to knock their socks off, or 2) Roseman and Lurie are too clueless to know a good thing when they see it.
McDermott never got a fair shake when he took over for Jim Johnson, the late Eagles defensive coordinator who he came up under. But he has proven in Carolina that he learned much from his mentor, plus he’s a Philly guy, plus he has pretty much gone on record saying he wants the job.
Enough messing around. Bring McDermott in and give him the job.
6) Tom Coughlin
7) What makes the most sense
Bring in McDermott, who will keep Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator, who will help the Eagles to bring back Bradford.
Or, just be the Browns.