What the hell just happened?
The Eagles were 9-3 with four games to play and in complete control of their own destiny. Now, three weeks later, I’m writing abut their season ending and the season isn’t even over yet. Just a stunning turn of events and possibly the worst collapse I’ve seen as an Eagles fan in my lifetime. I’ve seen a lot too, including those brutal playoff losses under the Reid era, but never an outright collapse like this.
What’s alarming about this collapse is that this isn’t the Reid era. It’s the Chip Kelly era! These sorts of things aren’t supposed to happen anymore. I mean, sure the Eagles weren’t winning a championship this year or next, or possibly even the next year. But they were way ahead of schedule after last year’s unexpected playoff run, possibly had a franchise quarterback in Nick Foles, and were on track to keep improving as evident by that 9-3 record this year. Don’t think Reid ever collapsed like this, in fact he only seemed to win in December, not lose.
Now, I don’t know what to think about this team, the coaching staff and where they stand as compared to the rest of the NFC. I said on Twitter after the Redskins loss, that I could’ve rationalized finishing 11-5 and missing the playoffs. While it would’ve been disappointing, at least you knew where this team stands, which is
Hopefully this collapse motivates returning players (so, not you Bradley Fletcher or Cary Williams) to never let this happen again and the coaching staff to sit back and evaluate they way they do things. Why it took 16 weeks to bench Fletcher is beyond me and everyone else who watched the Eagles this year. Why did Darren Sproles see less reps throughout the year? Why did Zach Ertz breakout game come in week 16 and not week 3 or 4?
If Chip is the football mind everyone seems to think he is, then he’ll find ways to get this thing back on track, and if that means parting ways with Billy(or is it Bill?) Davis, he should do it. Yes, he didn’t have the best secondary talent, but he never even explored the alternatives. I wrote at the start of the season, that I’m all in on Big Chip. Currently, Chip’s approval rating is down to about 75-80 percent.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around how we were looking at a second-round bye and wondering if the Eagles could win a rematch at Lambeau, to now hoping they lose this last game at New York for a better draft pick.
Maybe the worst thing to happen to this team is that they went to the postseason last year when no one expected them to go that far. They won a historically bad division, and caught many lucky breaks such as no Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau and no Tony Romo at the end of the season.
In hindsight, we probably should’ve seen this coming, after all the Eagles weren’t a dominant 9-3 and with the help of a very good special teams unit, they were able to mask offensive and defensive deficiencies for most of the year. The always excellent Birds 24/7 blog has a good post here about the Eagles turnover problem and questionable discipline. Plus, when you have Mark Sanchez at quarterback, Casey Matthews at middle linebacker and the aforementioned corners, how far can you realistically expect to go in the playoffs?
There’s still a lot to like about this team, but I’ll get to that in another post.
The hope and optimism that things would be different under Kelly has dissipated and who knows when it will return. The honeymoon is over. Get to work, Chip.