McMullen on the Eagles: Strange Style is ‘Injuring’ Kelly’s Reputation
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Competitive advantage is a legitimate concept coaches in the NFL must take into account when dealing with injuries and disseminating information to the media but when you're planning on placing your ailing kicker on season-ending, injured reserve and auditioning his potential replacement, there's really no upside to playing dumb.
Yet, that's exactly what Chip Kelly did Monday morning by poopooing how serious Cody Parkey's situation really was.
News had already broken that the Eagles were bringing in placekickers for tryouts Monday after Parkey aggravated a groin injury, which first surfaced in the preseason, before the team's 24-17 win over the Jets in North Jersey on Sunday.
"Cody got hurt in pregame a little bit yesterday, so just precautionary measures," Kelly claimed. "He did play in the game for us and kicked well when he was in the game but I haven't gotten anything today in terms of in-for-treatment and what's going on with him. We'll see."
Parkey made his lone field-goal attempt from 30 yards in the win over New York but struggled mightily with his distance on kickoffs. During his brilliant rookie campaign, Parkey banged nearly 50 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks (46 of 98, 46.9 percent) but that number had dropped to an NFL-worst 21.5 percent through three games.
"Obviously he didn't get his kickoffs -- kind of adjusted how he was kicking the ball off," Kelly continued. "Didn't get his kickoffs where we normally get the kickoffs. I thought he did a good job with that, and then obviously he was consistent in the kicks we asked him to do."
Kelly, though, stuck to his disinformation campaign.
"It's a new injury in his leg, so he said he felt the pain," the coach said, also claiming no roster move was imminent.
"Everything's precautionary, just to make sure," he said. "We’ll see what Cody's status is. Again, he obviously played in the game and was good in the game. We'll just see where he will go from here."
Where the Eagles went was shutting down Parkey for the season with what an NFL source confirmed to 973espn.com was a torn groin, not some kind of new leg injury as Kelly offered. Oft-injured former Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis will now handle Philadelphia's kicking duties moving forward.
Meanwhile, starting right guard Andrew Gardner could also be done for the season after spraining his right foot just before halftime on Sunday. The veteran, who was replaced in the lineup by Matt Tobin, is believed to need surgery, indicating a potential Lisfranc issue.
“I know he went out of the game,” is all Kelly would say regarding Gardner’s status. ”We’ll see what happens when I get back and meet with Chris (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Chris Peduzzi) and Doc (Head Team Physician/Head Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Peter DeLuca, M.D.) after this."
Finally, Kelly did actually know inside linebacker Kiko Alonso was seeking a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on his partially torn ACL in his surgically-repaired left knee.
“Just to get a second opinion in terms of what our doctors saw,” Kelly said when asked why he went to see Dr. Andrews. “Most players here do go get a second opinion.”
Former San Diego Chargers team physician Dr. David Chao confirmed there are typically two options for a player with a Grade 2 ACL sprain (a partial tear). Alonso could sit out a few weeks and rehab the knee with the intent of playing with a brace and hoping for the best or he could undergo revision ACL reconstruction surgery.
Chao believes the best path for the 25-year-old Alonso would be to have the surgery and miss the rest of the season with an eye on his long-term future. An NFL source confirmed to 973espn.com that is also the Eagles thinking but Alonso is having a tough time with the idea of shutting it down for a second straight season.
In a broader sense, Kelly's continued subterfuge regarding injuries in a little puzzling.
Everyone around the Eagles knows what a hands-on leader the coach is so it's hard to believe he is not in constant contact with his team's medical staff and well aware of the potential outcomes with these and other injuries.
And if there was any chance players like Parkey, Gardner and Alonso would be back in two to three weeks, it would be a prudent decision to keep Jay Gruden and the Washington Redskins guessing in advance of Sunday's game but that's not the case.
Remember, Kelly will be back in front of the media Wednesday, discussing the outcomes of all of these issues so what exactly is the added 48 hours doing for the Eagles' organization and Kelly's reputation?
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen