What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Chip Kelly. (Jeff Fusco)

Chip Kelly. (Jeff Fusco)

After another monumental loss, Chip Kelly and the Eagles are reeling at 4-7. There are plenty of opinions to be had on the Birds’ beleaguered head coach, and where the season went wrong. We’ve rounded up the highlights for you.

But first, a transaction note: the Eagles placed Nolan Carroll (broken ankle) on IR and signed Jaylen Watkins off the Bills practice squad. A fourth-round pick of the Eagles in 2014, Watkins was released during final cut-downs this summer. The Florida product appeared in three games for the Eagles last year and posted three tackles and a pass defensed.

Now onto the roundup.

Did members of the Eagles quit? At least one player on the Lions thinks so. More from NFL.com.

While still alive in the lowly NFC East, the Eagles have allowed at least 45 points in back-to-back games for the first time in franchise history. Still, safety Malcolm Jenkins said he hasn’t seen a lack of effort, telling CSN Philly that “there’s nobody I look at and can say that they’re slacking.”

That’s not what the Lions saw, though, with one Detroit player telling NFL Media’s Albert Breer: “We made them tap out. … guys just looked like they didn’t want to play anymore.”

Whether or not they’re quitting on Kelly, the result speaks for itself. After all the hoopla over this program’s exotic offense and team-building prowess, the Eagles look completely lost in the woods. Kelly on Thursday went to bat for his players — many who he handpicked — saying that he still believes in them and sees his charges working as hard as ever. So does the fault fall on him?


For Kelly, the problem hasn’t been coaching, writes ESPN’s Bill Barnwell. The problem has been his failure as a GM.

Kelly used the credibility he had earned as a coach to justify making a series of big bets on his personnel decisions. It looks, months later, like those bets haven’t panned out. It seems like a classic case of the Peter Principle, in which a person is promoted to the level at which they fail after succeeding previously.

That’s not uncommon in football, and it shouldn’t invalidate what success Kelly achieved as a coach. Think about Dick LeBeau, who was a great defensive coordinator before failing miserably as Cincinnati’s head coach. He was fired and eventually made his way back to Pittsburgh, where he was again a wonderful defensive coordinator. Wade Phillips, Rod Marinelli and Norv Turner are similar examples. Struggling as a general manager shouldn’t prevent Kelly from serving as an above-average coach.

The problem for the Eagles, then, is that they might not be able to get Kelly the coach at this point without Kelly as their general manager. It would be a humiliating climb down to give up personnel duties, and Kelly will have plenty of offers to run college programs if the Eagles fire him. The offseason power struggle between Kelly and deposed general manager Howie Roseman, who remains in the organization, may have sufficiently poisoned the well for Kelly to take his old role in Philly.

Thursday’s loss to Detroit buried the Eagles for good, writes USA Today’s Chris Chase, even in the hideous NFC East.

The Philadelphia Eagles are like that turkey in your oven. Done. And turkeys.

Entering Thursday, the Philadelphia Eagles were the only team to play three or more games on Thanksgiving and have an undefeated record (6-0). That streak ended feebly and disastrously on Thursday, when the Detroit Lions, who were 1-7 just 12 days ago, gave the Eagles the equivalent of a pumpkin pie to the face, blowing them out 45-14 (it could have been so much worse) and allowing for the possibility that by the time the team gets home and finishes their Thanksgiving dinners, they could be in last place in the NFC East.

If last week’s blowout loss to Jameis Winston and the Bucs was riding the mine elevator down to rock bottom, Thursday was the arrival at the destination. “I don’t think this can get any uglier for the Eagles,” Troy Aikman, not one to express hyperbole, said on Fox. Why not? Because the Eagles quit on Chip Kelly.

The Chip Kelly experiment is failing, writes Frank Schwab of Yahoo! Sports, and his lack of a good quarterback is what’s doomed him.

[Steve] Spurrier’s starting quarterbacks with the Washington Redskins were Patrick Ramsey, Tim Hasselbeck, Shane Matthews and Danny Wuerffel. [Nick] Saban’s Miami Dolphins picked Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees. [Butch] Davis was choosing between Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb.

You want some college-to-NFL success stories? How about Tom Coughlin and Pete Carroll. Coughlin had Eli Manning. Carroll had Russell Wilson.

Here’s the fact about Kelly, as the pitchforks come out and try to drive him back to college: He’s 24-19 as an NFL coach with two double-digit win seasons in three years, and he has never had a quarterback anyone would say is very good.

In his press conference Thursday evening, writes the Daily News’s Sam Donnellon, it was readily apparent that Kelly’s swagger is gone.

The swagger is now completely gone, replaced by the look of someone who has just discovered he was headed south all the time he thought he was driving north.

Confused, tormented, forlorn – Chip Kelly looked and sounded like a man who had taken a left turn into hell as he took questions from an assemblage that he no longer regarded with bemused antipathy. If there was nonsense in the room – and there was – it was coming strictly from the podium now as he reached deep into the book of clichés to explain the unfathomable, and the unthinkable.

After back-to-back losses of the ugliest possible fashion, Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice writes that Kelly’s ‘culture’ never really existed.

As we are all well aware of by now, Chip Kelly has put an extreme emphasis on bringing in and/or retaining players he feels are good culture fits. He infamously jettisoned some who were not. [Jason] Kelce, clearly, is a high character player among several others on the Eagles roster.

Unfortunately, Kelly likely realizes that he asks his players to buy in on a hell of a lot more than other coaches around the league. Faster-paced practices, far fewer days of rest, and pressure to adhere to other sports science measures like sleep monitoring are just a few examples of that. And so, Kelly’s emphasis on players who will buy in is really more of a necessity than it is some kind of innovation.

Unfortunately, it’s also unrealistic. If this were the NBA, a few star players with high character can keep a 12-man roster in line. In the NFL, you are never going to get anywhere near 53 players to buy in to your approach, unless of course you’re winning, which obviously, the Eagles are not.

ESPN’s Louis Riddick raises a this point about the way Billy Davis and the Eagles chose to cover Calvin Johnson yesterday.

There are $10.5M reasons why CB Byron Maxwell should have immediately been made to shadow Megatron EVERY play after [Nolan] Carroll was injured.