The Tragedy That Changed Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly with service members during the team’s Military Appreciation Day in 2013. Photograph by Matt Rourke, AP

Chip Kelly with service members during the team’s Military Appreciation Day in 2013. Photograph by Matt Rourke, AP

Schools were let out the day Army Sergeant Joshua Lengstorf returned home, and the kids, waving small American flags, joined the rest of the community along the side of the road.

His body was flown from Afghanistan into Eugene, Oregon, where a police escort waited to assist in the hour-plus drive south to Douglas County. Businesses in the neighboring towns posted signs of support in their windows. Locals lined the streets. The closer they got to the heart of Roseburg, the larger the crowd became.

“We went through some of the small towns that he lived in, and it was just packed,” says Josh’s widow, Jesse. “It was that way all the way down and even to the funeral home. I think that’s when we realized that this is a big deal.”

Some 500 people gathered to pay their respects on that day in January 2010. Among them was then–University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
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This Just In: Chip Kelly Is A Good Coach…

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu - USA Today

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu – USA Today

Read Mike Missanelli on why Chip Kelly’s gaudy numbers might not get the Eagles to the postseason.

Since Chip Kelly is heralded by the Philadelphia media and fan base as a genius who revolutionized football, I decided to take a look at Kelly compared to his peers.

The best way, maybe the only way, to rate NFL head coaches is by wins and losses. With that criterion, many in Philadelphia will be surprised to find out that Kelly is not even the best of his class. That distinction goes to another guy with Philadelphia ties; former Temple head coach Bruce Arians, who took over the Arizona Cardinals job the same year Kelly took over the Eagles job. In fact, Kelly has the exact same record as the man he followed as Eagles head coach, the much-derided Andy Reid.

Here is the win loss record of the seven men who became the new coach of their respective teams in 2013:

Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals 21-9
Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles 19-11
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs 19-11
Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers 17-13
Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills 14-16
Mark Trestman, Chicago Bears 13-17
Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars 7-24

Of those seven teams, only Arians’ team is assured a playoff spot with two games yet to play.
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…But the Eagles Might Still Miss the Playoffs

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Read Larry Mendte break down the numbers showing Chip Kelly is one of the bestter second-year coaches in the NFL.

The Eagles might likely miss the NFL playoffs this year, and the legend of the fall might be the very same guy who built the team into a playoff contender.

Such is life in the NFL, where one can be riding high one week, then shot down with one loss on a chilly Sunday night. And that loss, against the hated Dallas Cowboys, at home no less, has had such a chilling effect on the fan base; it may as well be the Ice Age around here.

Miracles do happen, however. If the Eagles win their last two games, they would be 11-5 – a better regular season record than last year, by the way. And they could very well get lucky with a few well timed losses amongst the other contenders. But until that happens, fans are left in a stew of blame. How could a team that, for an entire season, carried such hopes for greatness, fall so flat at the end? And who is most responsible?
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“Toys for Tots” Party at Chima

Kristin Pultro, Nick Albater and Amanda Giddings,

Last night the law firm of Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy P.C. and Philadelphia Eagle Jeremy Maclin – along with his foundation JMac Gives Back – teamed up to collect more than 600 toys for Little Smiles Pa. In an evening filled with holiday cheer, city leaders and business executives from across the region gathered at Chima Brazilian Steakhouse in Center City. During the evening the Eagles’ “Green Magic” bus arrived with a donation of 300 toys, which Zarwin Baum and Maclin will deliver to Shriners Hospital for Children on Thursday. The remaining toys will be distributed by Little Smiles Pa. to other area hospitals.

Photos after the jump »

Jim Kenney’s Mean Girl 101

Jim Kenney, Chris Christie

Jim Kenney, Chris Christie

Like most people who were tweeting from the Linc on Sunday night, I’m going to assume that Councilman Jim Kenney wasn’t putting much thought into his 140 characters.

An Eagles fan, the possible mayoral candidate was annoyed when he spotted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie snuggling up to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in the skybox. Here’s what that looks like:

Admittedly, part of me likes that a Philly politician would not only publish those tweets but defend them. Councilman Kenney – who has a history of Twitter tantrums – didn’t take them down, explaining, “I have a big nose and he has a fat ass. Just as life deals you.”

But, as much as I enjoy Philadelphia’s unique brand of feisty real-talk, I can’t help but think the same thing I think every time someone attacks Christie for his weight: Kenney sounds like an idiot, and he probably needs a hug.

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Cowboys Fan Chris Christie Watches Game from Jerry Jones’ Box

christie-cowboys

Last night was pretty much a total loss for the Philadelphia Eagles. The team fell into a 21-0 hole in the first half but rallied to take a 24-21 lead — only to lose lose to the hated Cowboys, 35-27. Making it worse, after two consecutive losses the Eagles are now likely to miss the playoffs after starting the season 9-3.

Making it even worse: Chris Christie was in the owner’s box with the Cowboys’ Jerry Jones! How will Christie-loving Northeast Philly Republicans vote in 2016 now?!

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Is It Already Time to Plan for the Eagles’ Next QB?

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

The Eagles season is far from over and already the provocateurs on Philadelphia sports talk radio are speculating about next year and the years after. The favorite topic of the speculation set is the future of the quarterback position, ripe with options.

  1. Start Nick Foles next year
  2. Re-sign Mark Sanchez and start him (less popular after the Seattle game where Sanchez was less than mediocre)
  3. Trade with the Washington Redskins for Robert Griffin III, also known as RG3, and start him.
  4. Draft the quarterback of the future and start him or let him play behind Foles for a year.

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5 Reasons to Fear Sunday’s Eagles-Cowboys Game

Photos | USA Today Sports. Tim Heitman (left), Dennis Wierzbicki (right)

Photos | USA Today Sports. Tim Heitman (left), Dennis Wierzbicki (right)

The Eagles playoff chances dangle at the mercy of the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night, and this mantra keeps echoing in my head: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Why should I feel this way? The Eagles dominated the Cowboys on one of the best Thanksgiving Days any Philadelphia fan could have. They proved they were the better team, even though the mercurial Mark Sanchez was the quarterback. The Cowboys’ vaunted offensive line crumbled like feta cheese that day — and that is supposedly the best element of their team. In addition to that, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is a notorious December choker, and he’s taking the field with cracked rib cartilage and a double fracture in his backbone.

I’m not a sky-is-falling guy. I consistently urge folks to move past that Philadelphia fan mentality of impending doom. And yet I have this nagging feeling that we could lose Sunday’s Eagles-Cowboys game, finish with an 11-5 record, and perhaps lose the final wildcard playoff spot via an NFL tiebreaker. (For the Birds to survive after this, the Cowboys would have to lose one more game this season).

To sort this out in my brain, I yield to a bullet point presentation:

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