“Shame On Us” Says Chip Kelly
After a 9-3 start to the season, the Eagles have now lost back-to-back games at home, to not only fall to 9-5, but also out of the playoff picture. After their 33-10 blowout of the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, it was almost inconceivable that the Eagles would find themselves in this situation, but according to Chip Kelly, they have no one to blame but themselves.
“Right now, we’ve only got nine wins,” Kelly said Wednesday. “I mean, for us to think of questions like that, that doesn't help us beat Washington. So I don't really think about it. If we win 11 games and it's not good enough to get in, shame on us because we didn't win the right games. That’s the bottom line. That's what this whole deal is all about and we know it going in.”
Kelly isn't deflecting blame, and putting sole ownership on himself and his team....as he should. The five Eagles losses this season (San Francisco, Arizona, Green Bay, Seattle, and Dallas) have all come against winning teams, with four of those teams currently in the NFC playoff picture. Last season the Eagles went 10-6, won the division on the final game against the Cowboys, and failed to convert their home-filed advantage, in a wildcard loss to the Saints. In year two under Chip Kelly, have we seen progress?
Let's say the Eagles, are able to bounce back, and win their final two games of the season, starting Saturday afternoon in Washington. That will put the Eagles at 11-5, one more win than last years team. Regardless of the record though, if the Eagles fail to make the playoffs, I have a tough time anointing this season a success. Sure they may have made progress, but incremental progress at best.
I completely understand, and would agree with those that look at this Eagles season, as one where they battled through adversity. A season that was marred with injury to the offensive-line for the first half of the year, that saw your starting quarterback (who wasn't having a good season to begin with) have to be replaced by his back-up mid season due to injury, as well as losing the heart and soul of your defense. Still, despite all of those challenges, the Eagles were in a prime spot to represent the NFC East yet again, with a critical game at home, in front of their fans, and they blew it. An unfortunate trend through the first two seasons of Chip Kelly's tenure.
For all the early success and praise Chip Kelly has received in only his second year as an NFL Head coach (including from myself), the glaring red flag has been his inability to beat those teams ahead of him in the pecking order. His roster is not as laden with as much talent as he'd like, and its starting look pretty clear that he has yet to find "his" quarterback, but despite all that, he still has had his team in situations to win, and they have come up short. Time will tell as Kelly continues to build this team, and I still believe he is the right the coach, with the right system (as exhausting as it may be), to get the job done. Until we see this Eagles team though take a leap forward (not baby steps), many will continue to question Kelly. At least we know one thing, he realizes much like we all do, that they have no one to blame but themselves.