Eagles Wake-Up Call: Who Needs Who More?


Matt Kartozian / USA Today

Matt Kartozian / USA Today

MOBILE, Ala. — Today’s question from reader Seth, via e-mail:

I have a question for a potential Wake-Up Call topic. Who needs the other more? Is it Chip Kelly that needs Marcus Mariota more, or does Mariota need Chip?

Let’s start with Kelly. We’ve directed plenty of criticism his way when warranted (see year-end evaluation here).

But there is something to be said for the fact that he took a 4-12 team and has strung together two 10-win seasons. Does he deserve blame for the way the Eagles finished 2014? Of course. Still though, this team has competed pretty consistently since Kelly has taken over.

As for Mariota, let me admit that I need to do some more homework on him before offering a fully educated opinion on his skill set. But given his measurables and athleticism, combined with what you hear about his work ethic and character, he seems to have the foundation for someone who should be successful.

I think too many people lean on the “system” label, but as Kelly once said: If your system is not QB-friendly, you have a bad system. I agree 100 percent with that statement. Molding scheme to personnel is one of the most important jobs of any coach.

So I guess my stance is: I don’t believe either necessarily needs the other. I think Kelly can field a winning team without Mariota, and I think Mariota can have success at the NFL level without Kelly.

But there is of course the question of expectations. The truth is the Eagles finished 10-6 last year despite their quarterbacks, not because of them. At some point, Kelly has to determine whether Foles can be more like the guy we saw in 2013 or whether he’s unwilling to go through another season where his signal-callers turn the ball over and fail to connect with open receivers.

So to me, any report suggesting Kelly will try to trade up for Mariota is obvious. He’s done nothing to hide his love for the Heisman winner, a quarterback who fits every aspect of what he’s looking for. But this isn’t a fantasy auction draft. In the coming months, Kelly will have to assign a cost value to Mariota.

Depending on how much he decides to give up or not give up, we’ll likely get an answer to the question of how much Kelly thinks he needs Mariota.

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WHAT YOU MISSED

Mel Kiper Jr. thinks that Mariota would be an ideal fit for the Eagles offense but might need to sit and watch if he lands with another team.

Various national media members have the Eagles looking for defensive backs in their mock drafts. One has Mariota slipping to No. 18.

Will Kelly be able to handle all of his new responsibilities? Or does he have too much on his plate?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Running backs coach Duce Staley advises everyone to relax. Via Geoff Mosher of CSN Philly:

Relax, the former Eagles star halfback said.

Chip’s got it covered.

“You just do your job, whatever it is,” he said after the North Team’s morning practice at Ladd Peebles Stadium. “Chip will handle that. Chip has been doing an awesome job putting together the guys that he needs to get into the room and then taking care of that. You just handle your job and that’s what you’re here to do.”

During an interview on 97.5 The Fanatic, Jeff Garcia expressed interest in the Eagles’ opening for a QBs coach:

COMING UP

We didn’t get to the Marcus Smith II story yesterday. It’s coming today as we say goodbye to Mobile.