Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is reportedly in danger of "losing the locker room" after Philadelphia's 1-3 start, according to a report from ESPN's Ashley Fox. Here's what Fox had to say in a TV appearance on ESPN:
Here's the transcript:
"I’m hearing some rumblings that Kelly could be in danger of losing the locker room. After all three of their losses, he has really put the blame for the losses on the players. After they lost to Washington on Sunday, he said ‘It’s not my scheme that’s failing, it’s the execution of the scheme.’ … which means it’s the player’s fault, and not [Kelly’s] fault."
Fox also added:
"And Andy Reid used to famously say: ‘I need to put my players in the position to make the plays.’ And that got to be very boring in Philadelphia, but that was a way to protect the players and Chip Kelly has taken the alternate stance, which doesn’t go over very well."
Fox isn't exactly an NFL insider, but she used to write for the Philadelphia Inquirer before joining ESPN, so she's obviously connected to the Philadelphia area.
Still, I question her assessment. I think the notion that Kelly has only blamed the players and not himself isn't true. Kelly never said anything about "it's not my scheme that's failing" after losing to Washington as Fox said he did. Check out this transcription of Kelly's postgame press conference and see for yourself. Here's what I imagine she was referencing:
On why this team is having a hard time finishing games:
"We are not executing. They play with great effort, but I don't think we are executing. It's the execution part and that's what I told them after the game. From an effort standpoint, I think they played hard. They gave it everything they got but we got to execute. We had a couple of key drops in the fourth quarter. We get those drops, changes the game. We had two key drops when we were trying to drive down the field. You catch those two balls and you give yourself the chance to win the game. You have to execute."
Even if you want to say Kelly isn't accepting the blame, he certainly did just that multiple times throughout this week. From Wednesday:
On third downs, what do you see are the issues on third downs and how to correct that?
I think a lot of it goes to first and second down. I think lack of success on first and second down. I've got to do a better job play-calling and put us in better situations so we've got a little bit manageable third-down situations, in terms of always being in third-and-long. Percentage-wise, you're just not going to convert as much as you are going to convert on third-and-short and third-and-medium. So I think it's an effort for us to do a better job on first and second down.
And then again on Thursday:
The last few times we've talked to you, it feels like you've been putting more on your own shoulders in terms of responsibility up there. On Monday, you were pointing to execution.
Execution is all of us. It's just your interpretation. It's always on our shoulders. If we don't win, I think every person in this organization takes responsibility. It's the one thing I'm proud of this group is we don't make excuses or allow others to make excuses for us. If we don't win, we are what we are. We're a 1-3 football team. So that falls on everybody's shoulders in this organization. Coaching staff, players. We're all in this thing together, and it's not one individual's fault. I think I've tried to stress that. You just can't blame it on this person. It's not just one individual's fault. It's all of us collectively have to come together and that's the message I've had to our team. If it's been interpreted here differently, it really doesn’t matter to me. I know the message that's sent to our team and I think they understand that.
I don't think there's any real evidence that Kelly is losing the locker room. Kelly got rid of a lot of the players who weren't buying in. The team is still playing hard. It's just that they're not playing well.
But these are the kind of reports that seem to emerge when a team struggles. So here we are.