Chip Kelly's Junk Food Football Making Philadelphia Eagles Fans Queasy
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Eating healthy and in moderation is important, but sometimes you just want junk food.
You know that Geno's cheesesteak with Cheez Wiz and fried onions ("wiz wit'," for the uninitiated) is terrible for you, but man it just tastes so good. Particularly if you have spent the past eight or nine hours in and around Lincoln Financial Field sampling mass-produced domestic lagers and pilsners.
So you eat the cheesesteak and you enjoy every greasy, fatty bite. And for a little while you feel full and satisfied, which is great.
Then it happens.
Once that mish-mosh of steak, Wiz and onions hits your stomach, all bets are off. "Full and satisfied" turns into "do you think there's a bathroom nearby" in the time it takes Michael Vick to throw a pick-six.
This phenomenon is not unlike what Philadelphia Eagles fans are experiencing after six halves of Chip Kelly's up-tempo football product. That is, it was great early and it seemed like an okay idea at the time. Now, though, all indications point to a season full of the symptoms Pepto-Bismol was created to treat.
Because if you did not experience "indigestion, heartburn, nausea and upset stomach" during the 33-30 loss to the San Diego Chargers, you almost certainly succumbed to them during this week's 26-16 pasting by Andy Reid's Kansas City Chiefs.
It was easy to get swept up in the excitement of watching Kelly's offense boat-race the Washington Redskins off the field in the first half of their 33-27 win in Landover, MD. As long as you did not watch the defense play, you could pretend you were looking at a playoff contender.
Patience is the watchword for Eagles fans, who are still smarting from last season's 4-12 slow-motion train wreck. After what Kelly's Heroes did to the Redskins in the first half of the season opener, much of Philadelphia got caught up in the excitement of having what looked like a winner in town.
Except, since the first half gun sounded at FedEx Field, the Eagles have been outscored 79-53. That is an unsustainable trend for a team that, like a tennis player running around his backhand, has to win games by scoring enough points to keep its subpar defense off the field.
Which, incidentally, is part of the problem here. Even when the Eagles are scoring points, their offensive design of running plays without huddles and scoring every point via the quick strike means that the defense rarely rests even when the offense scores.
After barely winning the time of possession battle against Washington, the Eagles have held the ball for a total of 40:36 out of a possible 120 minutes in the past two games.
Criticize the defense all you like—how effective would you be at your job if you had to work twice as hard as your competition to do the same job?
There are other troubling signs from Kelly. The failed two-point conversion against the Chiefs was the sort of thing that would get you fired from a nationally-ranked high school football team, especially when the Eagles were still trailing when he called it.
And the time management issues at the end of the Chargers' game smacked of a guy who maybe knew all along that he was going to be a little in over his head when he initially refused to take the Eagles job, as reported by Philly.com.
Everyone wants to blame Michael Vick for what is going wrong with the Eagles, but that misses the point entirely. Nobody watched the Eagles in 2011 and 2012 and thought that Vick was a Pro Bowl quarterback surrounded by bums. They thought he was a mediocre quarterback surrounded by bums.
Plus, it is not Vick's fault that every time the offense really gets moving, opposing defenders suddenly cramp up like Everest hikers.
Maybe putting a quarterback who has trouble reading defenses and avoiding turnovers into a system that calls for him to read the defense on every snap—and, by the way, do it in a hurry—was not the best idea.
The season is not over yet, but with a likely strafing from the Denver Broncos in Week 4 looming and a probable 1-3 mark to follow that, you can see the end in the offing.
Someday, Kelly's smarter-than-you tactics and foot-to-the-floor offense might generate enough wins to deliver another National Football League playoff berth to Philadelphia.
For now, though, the Eagles are still that 4-12 team they were last season. It is a new look but it is the same team.
Keep the Pepto handy.
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