Thursday, March 12, 2015

Your Arrogance Offends Me

Editor's Note: The majority of the post was written prior to the signing of Demarco Murray.

Chip Kelly - Commander in Chief

I really considered Chip Kelly a borderline genius. He has seemed to make an offense go even when you’re not sure why it should. I don’t know that I doubt the man as a coach, but now that he’s taken over the player personnel responsibilities of the Philadelphia Eagles it feels like he’s let his ego get the better of him.

I keep going back to the Liam Neeson line from Taken when he talks to the thugs he knows are responsible for kidnapping his daughter.

“Your arrogance offends me”


I don’t think I’ve ever encountered arrogance like I’ve seen from Chip Kelly. I’ve felt it since he showed up here from Oregon but its been validated over the past 72 hours. I’ve never encountered a man who feels he’s more above talent than Chip Kelly. It's like he thinks anybody can do the things his talented former players can do, just because they play football for him.

I feel like I’m in a nightmare starring Andy Reid’s evil brother. As Eagles fans, we enjoyed great times with Reid. You can’t take away from the success he had here, but in the end when the talent ran out, in part because of Reid’s “I’m smarter than every one else here” attitude, Reid was unbearable. 

Reid talked down to the media. Condescension was thick. He did what he wanted to do and fulfilled his obligations to the media in a way that would make Greg Popovich seem endearing. And you know what? Andy Reid had a proven track record to give him some leeway to have that kind of attitude. He was responsible for picking Brian Westbrook in the 3rd round and Trent Cole in the 5th. He picked Donovan McNabb over Ricky Williams.  He might not have won a Super Bowl but he came closer than anybody else in Eagles history.

So what am I talking so much about Reid for?

Because Chip Kelly is making me miss Big Red and I’m the same guy who called for Reid’s head in this 2012 post.

Chip certainly came in hot during the 2013 season, setting Eagles scoring records and running an offense at a pace the likes of which nobody had ever seen in the NFL. He had a great regular season run fueled by a miraculous half-luck, half-talent, half-system aided all-time performance from quarterback Nick Foles.

Foles had a career year. Desean Jackson had a career year. Lesean McCoy had a career year. For chrissake Riley Cooper had a career year.

Remarkably, impossibly, insanely, Riley Cooper is the only one still employed by Jeffrey Lurie.

The Desean release just still grinds my gears. It’s the first domino in a mindset decision wise that has really trended the opposite of common sense and into the direction that Chip Kelly knows something we as fans don’t. Of course, Chip should know things we don't know as fans, but it'd be nice if any of those things seemed to make sense in making the Eagles a better football team.

It’s like I always have to talk myself into whatever Chip is trying to do, but logic gets in my way. Here’s what it’s like for me trying to justify the jettisoning of proven talent in my own head.

So long Desean..
If we forget about all of the off the field stuff for a minute, can you find a more valuable receiver to an offense than a guy like Desean Jackson? There’s just so many things he can influence positively that there is no way he isn’t worth the money if he’s performing at a peak level. Even the casual fan can understand that Desean Jackson has the kind of speed that worries a defense. It’s gamebreaking speed. It’s the kind of thing that can’t be replaced.You can’t tell me that the Eagles offense wouldn’t have been better this year if Desean Jackson wasn’t out there being Desean Jackson. But since we had him under contract we must’ve got something in return for him right? No, the smear campaign that the Eagles PR squad punted on didn’t do much for Jackson’s trade value, but a guy who just put up 1300+ yards and 9 TD has to be worth something right? Nope, we just cut him.  

Jackson's absence had to make things harder on the Eagles offense in 2014. You don’t think Lesean McCoy may have suffered a bit from safeties not being worried about Jeremy Maclin or Riley Cooper getting behind them? You don’t think Lesean McCoy may have struggled a bit if he had to run behind an offensive line that started 10 different men? Oh, Shady still ran for 1300+ yards for the third time in the last four years and is only 27? Okay. Shady did have a ton of touches and you always have to sell high on a running back. What did we get back? Shady has to be worth quite a bit performing at that kind of level and is still a few years before his age 30 season. Oh. We got back Kiko Alonso from the Buffalo Bills in exchange for Shady? What did he do last year I don’t follow the Bills that closely? Oh, he tore his ACL and didn’t play the whole season? Okay, at least he was really good his rookie year when he came out of Oregon... So the Birds have cleared some cap space and sent Shady packing. It’s hard to take because a guy with talent like that does not come around too often, but of course Chip’s system can allow anybody to plug in at running back and be productive. He knows what he’s doing.

Pour one out for your Eagles 25 jersey..

So now what’s this? Chip doesn’t think it’s necessary to re-sign Jeremy Maclin? Wow, Maclin is coming off a year just about as good as Desean’s 2013. He didn’t even have the benefit of Desean attracting attention on the other side of the field. He must’ve wanted a ton of money? Oh, it was reported to be a difference of $2 million between what the Eagles offered and where he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs? I guess all that extra cap space wasn’t for a guy who obviously has the chops of a premier wide receiver. Man, that leaves us with Riley Cooper as our number one wide receiver. Okay? I guess.

We hardly knew ya Jeremy. Hey Andy..

Oh. My. God. Chip is trading Nick Foles for Sam Bradford? The same former number one overall pick Sam Bradford that has blown out his knee two consecutive years running? The same Sam Bradford that underwhelmed in St. Louis even when he was healthy?! Okay, the Eagles at least had to have gotten some compensation back from the Rams considering Foles is able-bodied and has a record of success from the past two years that can’t even compare to Bradford’s inability to stay on the field. Oh, what’s that? The Eagles actually gave up next year’s second round pick in this deal? You’ve got to be kidding me! What does Chip know that we don’t?!? He’s officially gone off the rails after this move. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how you’d want to give it a go with Sam Bradford over Nick Foles. To be fair, I don’t think either of these guys has what it takes to win a Super Bowl but the biggest kicker for me feeling like Chip has lost any form of a cohesive plan is the money owed to Sam Bradford. I thought we traded Lesean McCoy because he made too much money? At least McCoy was productive. Sam Bradford is coming in to Philadelphia with a $12.9 million salary and a $16.9 million hit against the salary cap. So let me recap this deal. The Eagles traded Nick Foles, a guy who went 14-4 under Chip Kelly and is scheduled to make $1.4 million this year, for Sam Bradford who if he can stay healthy through training camp will be stepping foot on an NFL field for the first time in 22 months. That’s hard to take and hard to understand as a fan of the Eagles. The fact that Chip also gave up a second round pick in the deal is staggering. There is a slim amount of solace in the deal in that the Eagles do receive a conditional 3rd or 4th round pick from the Rams in 2016 if Bradford cannot stay on the field. I just don’t get it..

So what could possibly come next?

Miraculously, Chip was able to fall ass backwards into saving face the day after it appeared like he fell flat on it. Somehow hated rival Demarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys was expressing interest that he wanted to come play for the Chipper. Somehow, some way, Chip and the Eagles were able to sign the biggest free agent on the market in reigning offensive player of the year Murray.

You have to thank Chip’s offensive system, and most likely Murray's former Oklahoma Sooner teammate Sam Bradford, for attracting a talent like that but the acquisition still feels odd to me. I have my doubts that Chip Kelly expected to have Sam Bradford and Demarco Murray as his QB1 and RB1 heading into the 2015 draft. I certainly could be wrong, but it just feels to me that he got lucky that Murray was still available and was willing to sign with the Eagles after Chip’s world seemed to be crashing down on him. The fact that the Eagles still signed oft-injured running back Ryan Matthews the same day they signed Murray also is quite perplexing considering the Eagles could sorely use a wide receiver with the loss of Maclin. But hey, I'm sure Chip knows something we don't.

Welcome to the squad Demarco

The bottom line is that Chip made about 13 straight moves that displayed an increasing level of arrogance. To some degree you need that ego to get to the level he is at, but  when you haven’t won jack shit in the NFL it remains to be seen whether that kind of superciliousness is warranted. You see arrogance from coaches all the time. Bill Belichik comes to mind. I follow Phil Jackson on Twitter and that guy is just a smug prick. But you don’t think of Belichick and Jackson without thinking about Brady, Jordan, Kobe and Shaq. Right now I think about Chip Kelly and I think about Desean Jackson and Lesean McCoy, so he can tone down that arrogance a bit until he actually wins something.