Chip Kelly came to Philadelphia to win football games. It's his philosophy: "Win the Day". It sounds so simple, but it needs to be said.
My job is to win right now. How do you think I’d be received in Philly if I told them we were going to write this year off? Those people that are waving to me on the streets right now? That ain’t going to happen.
The NFL offers great parity, as Mike Kaye discusses in his "Worst to First article". Teams that are terrible one year can rebound the next with the right moves. Building a team incrementally is a viable option in the NFL. Compare this level of competition to the NBA, where it's a league dominated by superstars. Only a handful of NBA teams are legitimate contenders each year, and there's a clear edge for the team that possesses the league's best player. (Hello, LeBron James.) Building incrementally doesn't work in the NBA like it can in the NFL. This is why the Sixers are tearing down their roster in order to "TANK" next year to get a high draft pick in the 2014 NBA draft. However, losing games isn't the only priority for the Sixers next year. It's also about getting the chance to evaluate the young talent on the roster. Player development is the main priority.
Compare this priority to the Eagles and their quarterback situation. Some will state that keeping Michael Vick on the roster doesn't make any sense. Both Nick Foles and Matt Barkley are better options because even if they're not better than Vick now (which is up for debate and some contest they are better) they potentially have more value to the team going forward than Vick does. Some essentially see keeping Vick as a wasted year. They will argue it's necessary to evaluate the young talent at QB.
There is some legitimacy to that argument. It would be ideal if Foles or Barkley won the QB competition because they're on very inexpensive contracts. They also could be prove to be a long-term answer at QB. Meanwhile, Vick may be more of a short-term answer or not an answer at all. Maybe Vick is good enough to win the QB competition, but not good enough to help the Eagles contend for a championship. What good does starting Vick do for the team then? Vick might help buy the team an extra win or two, which could be good or bad. It could help the team be a step closer to a playoff berth, or it could put the Eagles out of range of drafting a good QB in the 2014 draft class. Michael Vick at a high level is a good problem to have because it means the Eagles will also be playing well. Vick playing "good enough" makes things tricky.
So while the youth movement argument holds some merit, it is a flawed argument when you consider Chip's priorities. Once again, Chip came here to win now. He's on a 5 year contract, and while the money is fully guaranteed, his job is not. If Chip proves to be a failure after his first 3 seasons, he could be on his way out of Philly. This is why Chip can't afford to at least challenge the young QBs in training camp and pre-season. That's exactly the reason Michael Vick was re-signed: healthy competition will ensure the winner earns his job. Everything indicates that the Eagles QB competition is wide open. If Chip truly wants to win now, he'll pick the QB that gives him the best chance to do so.
Chip Kelly must keep an eye on the future in some capacity; he can't entirely sacrifice the future to win now. But for the main part, it's the job of General Manager Howie Roseman to worry about building for the future.
At this point, it's not right to call the Eagles contenders. There are still many question marks up and down the roster, with QB being the biggest one. At the same time, it's not fair to write them off this year. A reasonably competitive performance in 2013 is not out of the question for the Birds. They truly are an exciting mystery team. The Eagles can become contenders when they prove they're worth of the title, most likely sometime after the first year of Chip's tenure.
While the Eagles absolutely need to find their QB of the future, they can't sacrifice this season trying do that. They still must find a way to compete now. Winning games is still the number 1 priority for Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles.