Jeffrey Lurie’s hiring of Chip Kelly had long been viewed as a risky one with high upside, but also with plenty of room for failure.
Before his time in Philadelphia, Kelly had experienced nothing but success. He was instrumental in turning Oregon into an elite college football mainstay, and was regarded as one of the bright offensive minds in the world.
At the end of the Kelly era, winds had changed. His offense was sliding, his team’s record was sinking, and his defense was breaking.
The Eagles were out of the playoff picture for the second straight season, which didn’t sit well with a fanbase and organization spoiled by Andy Reid’s four consecutive trips to the NFC Championship game in the early 2000s.
The Eagles begin a crucial three-game stretch with a big showdown against the NFC’s second-best team at home. How will Sam Bradford and company handle the red-hot Cardinals after two emotionally-charged wins? Only time will tell. Until then, a bunch of writers took their best shots at predicting the outcome.
Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer. (USA Today Sports)
Although the NFC East has been bad as a whole this year, the Eagles have played a couple of really good teams outside of their division in Carolina and New England. But this week, Chip Kelly said Arizona is as good as any team they’ve faced.
“Yeah, they are. It’s an outstanding team in all phases. They have got talent,” Kelly said. “They are playing really well on defense. Patrick [Peterson] is playing as well as I’ve seen him play; he’s one of the top corners in the league, if not the top corner the way he’s playing right now. TyrannMathieu is playing outstanding at the nickel spot and safety. They are very active and blitz more than any team in the National Football League.
“Carson Palmer should be in the conversation of the MVP right now in terms of how well he’s playing and you have [Michael] Floyd and you have [Larry] Fitzgerald. You have a really talented football team that’s going to come in here. We played them two years ago here and it was an extremely close game. We played them down there until the last play of the game. We know we have our hands full and are playing one of the top teams in the National Football League this week.”
To get a better feel for the potential MVP and his teammates, we rounded up the Eagles’ coaches comments about them. Here’s what they said, plus stats detailing where the Cardinals rank in the NFL in points per drive, yards per carry, passer rating and turnovers per drive on both sides of the ball. Read more »
In this installment of Opposition Research, we spoke with Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic about what the Eagles should expect Sunday against the Cardinals.
What are the Cardinals’ strengths and weaknesses?
“Offensively, their strength is throwing the ball and they’ve got a lot of threats. They are very deep at receiver, beginning with LarryFitzgerald, MichaelFloyd, JohnBrown and J.J. Nelson, a rookie who’s been productive. And they’ve got a quarterback in Carson Palmer who’s playing as well as anyone in the league. Read more »
Bruce Arians, a Paterson, N.J., native, was slated to interview with the Eagles during the offseason after the 2012 NFL season about the team’s head coaching job after the Eagles parted ways with Andy Reid.
Arians, who had coached Temple from 1983 to 1988 — he opened his conference call Wednesday by asking, “How about those Temple Owls, baby?” — was excited about the opportunity to interview with the Eagles. To this day, he considers Philadelphia “like home.”
So he was surprised when the Eagles called to cancel their interview when he was in Chicago to interview for the same job with the Bears.
As the value of Marcus Mariota is debated, one topic that comes up is the fact that he did not run a pro-style offense at Oregon. As such, there is a leap of faith involved that he will be able to execute on this level in a way that he has never been asked to before.
Bruce Arians on Thursday was asked whether the idea of college systems versus pro systems are outdated concepts at this point.
“No,” he said, “because so many times you’re evaluating a quarterback who has never called a play in a huddle, never used a snap count. You hold up a card on a sideline and he kicks his foot and throws the ball. That ain’t playing quarterback. There’s no leadership involved there. Now, there might be leadership on the bench, but when you get them now and you give them verbiage and they have to spit that verbiage out, use a snap count, change a snap count, they are light years behind. Light years behind.” Read more »