The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-3. They are off to a very disappointing start, especially relative to expectations heading into this season. But according to Chip Kelly, the team isn't that far off from being 3-1.
"We know we have the right players here," Kelly said. "We just-- it's a play here or a play there. We've lost a game by two and we've lost a game by three. We lost another game by ten; we've lost three games by 15 points."
"You hit two kicks and we are sitting here 3-1 and everybody's happy. There's no difference, it's that either that you either make plays or you don't make plays. And if you're not making plays, you have to continue to work on them so you can make the plays."
Kelly's not wrong about some missed kicks potentially being the difference between wins and losses this season. If Cody Parkey makes a 44-yard field goal in Atlanta, maybe the Eagles beat the Falcons. If Caleb Sturgis makes a 33-yard field goal and doesn't miss an extra point, Philadelphia could have left Washington win the victory.
But that's not how it happened. And Kelly is wrong when he says "everybody's happy" if the Eagles made those plays. The Eagles may be a few missed kicks away from being 3-1, but they are absolutely not a few missed kicks away from being an actually good team. Making those kicks doesn't fix the offensive line. It doesn't fix the awful run game. It doesn't fix Sam Bradford's struggles. And so on.
Kelly's Eagles are 2-6 in their last eight games played. They are a bad team right now. The pressure is on Kelly to turn things around and put the team in a position where he doesn't have to keep saying they're only a few plays away from winning.
More highlights from Kelly's press conference:
Offense is out of sync
Yeah, I don't think it looks like chaos. I wouldn't use that word. I think we've been out of sync a few times. But I think we have the right guys, and we're doing the right things. Again, we start off the game with balls a little bit low on the first pass of the game. Could he have caught it? Should he have caught it? We have to be able to help those guys out, too.
Run game struggles
I mean we've been doing things that we've been doing for a long time here; running inside zones, outside zones, sweep plays.
So, I think we understand what we're doing, but we're allowing sometimes too much penetration -- sometimes a back is not hitting to where he should have hit it. Second play of the game, if the back bounces outside, there's no one outside. The defensive end is showing his head to get around the inside, so if we keep it on the outside. So, it's not just one thing, it's a combination of a couple things.
We need to execute the plays better. That's what we need to do. [I'm confident we can execute] because I've seen us move the ball. I saw us move the ball in three consecutive drives, or three out of four drives in the second half against [Washington]. I saw us move the ball in the second half against Atlanta. Saw us move the ball against the Jets. So I have confidence in this group. We just have to do it on a more consistent basis.
Struggles don't fall on just one player
It's not just one guy. If it was one guy, it would be an easy switch; we can move ‘this’ guy in and move ‘this’ guy out. But it's a consistent thing. In the other games, we had key drops in Dallas on third down where the ball hits us in the hands and now we stay on the field. It's a third-and-5, we complete a pass for third-and-8, but the ball is dropped on a third-and-8, so then we are off the field. It's a matter of -- and again, it's not the same guy. It's a different guy each time where it's not one specific thing. There are plays to be made there; we are just not making the plays right now.
Does it concern Kelly that a different player is struggling on each play?
Yeah, it does. And they are guys that we know are good football players.
But the difference in this league, right now, is almost every game when you look up, is a less-than-one-score-game. It's a one score game in terms of -- I think 31 of the 62 games so far have been decided by eight points or less.
So it's a matter of making one more play than your opponent. We had a touchdown called back because we lined up wrong. That's the difference in a football game. We missed an extra point, we missed a field goal; that's the difference in a football game. We get a completion on third down, we allow a completion on the third down; that's the difference in the football game. It's just one play here or there and it's a different story when we are standing here today.
Should DeMarco Murray be getting more touches?
We all should be getting more touches on the offensive side of the ball, but when you only have 51 snaps on offense, there aren't a lot of touches. So we can stay on the field and snap it for 68, 70 plays, and we are going to have a lot more balance in our run and pass game because we are on the field longer.
Why is execution still a problem in Year 3 of Kelly's tenure?
I wish I knew that answer and then we could go out and fix it tomorrow and get ready to go play the Saints. But I think it's just a matter of—and you see it a lot. All of a sudden, someone makes a play, makes a spark and everybody starts kind of feeding off of that. I think it's such a game of confidence, and as you see it being played out across the league, it's the same exact thing. It's just who is going to maybe give us that spark to kind of bring the whole group along with them is kind of what we're looking for right now.
Sam Bradford's deep ball
I don't know about going forward. Sam is taking what the defense gives us. And in those situations, the defense gave us an opportunity to throw the ball over the top, and when they did that, we took advantage of it. So, it's the first time we've kind of had a chance to do that, and when we had the chance to do that, I think in doing it to three different guys, I think helps us. But we have always known we have had guys out there that can make plays. But if people are always going to play back and make us throw the ball in front of them, then it's going to be a different story. But if people are going to challenge us and try to kind of blitz us a little bit -- which Washington tried to do, tried to get an extra man in the box like Washington tried to do, then we need to be able to hurt them with our wide receivers and that's what happened on those three passed balls.
Why Marcus Smith was inactive
Special teams. And [LB] Mychal [Kendricks] was active, so then it came down to [LB] Najee [Goode] and [LB] Brad [Jones] on special teams as compared to him.
I like our leadership. I think our guys are doing a nice job. Again, we don't cover receiver up when we are in a different football game. We lost by three and we have a touchdown called back. We are not sitting here having this conversation questioning our leadership; I don't think leadership had anything to do with us covering off a receiver on a pass play.