Sunday, November 22, 2015

The End Of Chip Kelly

Limited Time Engagement

We were always going to get here, folks.

There were any number of smoke screens along the way. A fun pre-season. A good half or two. A win against an equally aimless NFC Least opponent. But you are your record, and this 4-6 team is now 5-9 in their last 14, and it's getting worse and farther away, not better.

You can't squander Pro Bowl offensive talent (DeSean Jackson, Evan Mathis, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin) and get nothing back in return without it turning into a disaster.

You can't overpay mediocre at best players (Mark Sanchez, Riley Cooper) and not have it eventually mean that you don't have the money to overpay guys who are actually good (Maclin again).

You can't keep defensive coordinators (Billy Davis) who don't adjust their scheme to match their personnel (last year, Bradley Fletcher) and have it work out.

You can't put GM power into the hands of a man (Kelly) who has seemed, more often than not, insecure, overmatched, and ignorant.

You can't run the same offense, year after year, regardless of whether you have the offensive talent that makes it work, while ignoring the fact that the rest of the league has caught up to it, especially when you aren't in the middle of a tempo run.

You can't have a locker room filled with people who are better at getting along than they are at playing football.

You can't bank on the fluke aspects of special teams to show up year after year to make your team look better than it is.

You can't afford to leave the most important personnel group on the team -- the offensive line -- in a place where there are no draft picks or free agent signings. For years.

You can't build a team through free agency.

You can't trade for an injury-prone, non-mobile, and ready to retire QB (Sam Bradford), put him behind that turnstile line, and have it all work out. You also really can't overpay for that guy, with a killing draft pick going over to get him.

You can't whiff on your first round pick (WR Nelson Agholor, invisible), your second round pick (CB Eric Rowe, can't get on the field over street meat EJ Biggers), have your (history of being hurt) third round pick get hurt (LB Jordan Hicks, who the defense has looked lost without)... and make anyone who are watching the games think you deserve employment.

You can't rush to trade one of the best RBs in franchise history (McCoy) for an injury-prone MLB (Kiko Alonso), then try to sign a ready for the glue factory RB (Frank Gore), then pivot to a guy who can't stay healthy (Ryan Mathews), and a wildly overpriced free agent who was utterly spent in a 450 carry year (DeMarco Murray), while releasing a cheap and competent back up (Chris Polk)... and claim that there is anything in place that resembles a plan.

You can't, in other words, continue with Kelly. And that has been obvious to anyone who wanted to see reality for over six months.

We will, of course, continue with Kelly. Owner Jeffrey Lurie hates to admit mistakes, hates to eat contracts, hate to be seen as anything but a less lucky version of Robert Kraft. Because it is hard to just lose games hand over fist in the NFL, and because even this post-mirage team has 5 wins to go with those 9 losses, they might even win at some point. Because the NFL Least has just one .500 team, they might even still have "Meaningful" football left in them.

But anyone with eyes knows better. Anyone with ears that heard how very little Eagle Fan booed today -- because they have checked the hell out of this team, as they should and must -- knows better. Anyone with anything better to do, and that includes anyone with as much as a Netflix subscription, has better things to watch.

The only question now left is whether the scales have fallen off the eyes of everyone, how empty the stadium will get, whether the ratings will still be there, and whether or not the fan base will force Lurie's hand with demonstrations, apathy, bonfires and the like.

Or whether Kelly will have the good sense to leave before he's pushed.

Today, we saw the end.

How much more of it will anyone watch?

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