Each week-ish, Patrick and Dave discuss the week that was. It's Two Guys Internetting Football!
Dave: Last week there was a lot of "we'll really learn about this team after the Lions game" talk. Well, we did. They've hit rock bottom.
And it's going to get worse before it gets better, next up is the Patriots, the Bills and Cardinals. 6-10 looks like a best case scenario. Seemingly an impossibility at the beginning of the season, Chip Kelly losing his job is a real consideration. This is the worst season I can remember. This feels worse than 2012. This feels worse than 1998.
The offense is unwatchable. The defense has fallen apart. Players are giving up. The coaches have no answers. It doesn't get worse than this.
If you're Jeffrey Lurie, what do you do?
Patrick: It all depends what happens the rest of the year. If the Eagles are competitive with the Pats and somehow string together three more wins, I think Chip would be able to plead his case. But short of that, I think he's gone. There's no coming back from a locker room that has turned on the coach. Keeping him around would be a middle finger to the players, and would account for a wasted year.
I'm still sort of baffled by all of this. Kelly himself said he doesn't know what's happening, and the players certainly don't seem to be any more in the know. It seems like things just started off on a bad foot, and the locker room wasn't cohesive enough to stay together - shades of the 2012 season. What do you think's going on in that locker room?
Dave: What's going on in the locker room is like yogurt left out too long, the culture has gone sour. *groans*
Seriously though, part of it is that so many people are having terrible seasons, some of which are unprecedented, that it amplifies the bad roster moves and coaching decisions. This is easily the worst season of Chip Kelly's career, and that has been and will be discussed endlessly. But there's other people having horrible seasons, and it only compounds the issues the Eagles have.
This is Jason Peters worst season, which in retrospect because of his age isn't too shocking. But it's also Jason Kelce's worst season, and Lane Johnson's too, which no one saw coming. Certainly the changes at guard contribute, but they're not why Kelce has had so many bad snaps or why Johnson has committed so many penalties. Jordan Matthews has been disappointing, as has Mychal Kendricks lately. You can blame Chip for a lot of woes, but not all of those.
In an alternate universe all the holdovers from 2014 that we expected to continue to play well do in fact play well, and the Eagles are (barely) in first place and no one is questioning if Chip Kelly has lost his locker room.
That's not me arguing that Chip should keep his job if things don't get better quickly. But it just shows how easily narrative can be formed and change. If things out of Kelly's control were going better, Kelly's would appear to have some control.
When it rains it pours.
When it rains it pours.
Patrick: The veterans' collective swoon has been a big issue, and that's to say nothing of this complete collapse we're seeing on defense. Bill Davis' group was playing very well early on, but this defense is unrecognizable. I'm not sure if this is a function of just being sick of playing under Chip or what, but it's not great. And as much heat as Chip is taking (and rightfully so) I think it's also fair to put some of that on the coordinators. Neither has been especially inspiring during their time here, even if you can cut Davis some slack for overseeing a scheme change. But when your offensive minded head coach's performance starts to flag, it'd be nice to see the defense step up. That hasn't happened for a litany of reasons.
The most dumbfounding thing to me is that no one seems to have any idea how to fix this. Clearly the season has gotten away from the Eagles, but the fan base is panicking - and you have nothing to give them? The number of times I've been in the locker room this season and seen guys just shaking their heads without any answers is demoralizing for me. So I can only imagine what it's like for them. And that goes into the whole "Chip is losing the locker room" narrative.
Dave: I don't want to read too much into soundbites, but the reactions by everyone on the team have been strange. You're not seeing too many of the time-tested cliches that teams that spiral out of control use. When coaches and players are saying "I don't know" rather than saying anything else, that's a problem. Even if you don't know, lie to us, we don't really care. Just pull up an article from after an Andy Reid loss and use some quotes from there. Instead it's "I don't know if the problem is me." If you don't know if the problem is you, then the problem is you. And judging by nothing really changing in the past two games--Josh Huff barely playing after scoring a touchdown again, Eric Rowe gets 6 snaps in a blowout vs Tampa, then he's matched up against Calvin freaking Johnson.... the problem is you and your staff Chip.
If there's anything to look forward to (spoiler: there isn't against the Patriots), it's that everyone has some extra time to recoup and regroup after a miserable week. The Patriots are going to beat the Eagles on Sunday, but if it's more of the same: lifeless play, one of Miles Austin or Riley Cooper almost always on the field, DeMarco Murray sweeps, DeMarco Murray wheel routes..... then this team is dead in the water.
But we said that coming off the bye and they've gotten worse. So dead in the water would be an improvement in terms, this team is more like sinking to rock bottom if it's not already there.