Eagles fans can’t stand losing. They have had to stomach disappointing playoff losses, a lack of stability at quarterback, and championship drought that has lasted 45 long years. Eagles fans are so desperate for a winning team, that they will start talking Super Bowl after an impressive preseason game. That’s right. Eagles fans will discuss the chances of winning the super bowl based on a game that doesn’t even count.
Its no secret that the Eagles are one if the most disappointing teams in the NFL. Right now, they vacate the bottom of the mediocre NFC East with a 1-3 record.But why? What is wrong with the Eagles right now?
Poor Roster Moves
Chip Kelly brought in a lot of new players this offseason, and while most of them were high on upside, they have been low on return and production. Here are the outcomes of most of their roster moves
- Byron Maxwell, one of the best corner in free agency, signed a 6 year, 63-million dollar deal. So far he’s been a huge disappointment for an Eagles secondary that lacks a shutdown threat. He consistently gets outplayed every week, including a week 1 loss in which he was burned by both Julio Jones and Roddy White.
- The Eagles traded star running back LeSean McCoy for Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso. While both players have played well overall, Kiko’s injury problems in Buffalo seemed to carry over to Philadelphia. Kiko still can’t stay on the field, and his most recent knee injury according to recent reports could take him a month to heal. McCoy recently has had his share of injury problems too, but his latest hamstring injury is less serious and could keep him out for about 3-4 weeks.
- After releasing pro-bowl receiver Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles needed a new 2 receiver, as Jordan Matthews would replace Maclin as the 1 receiver. The Eagles drafted tall and fast receiver from USC Nelson Agholor. However, the Eagles might be regretting releasing the experience that comes with a receiver such as Maclin. Even though Agholor made a nice one handed grab against the Redskins, he has made his fair shares of rookie mistakes which includes poor route running, and undisciplined play that results in many penalties. And Jordan Matthews hasn’t particulary played well as the Eagles new 1 receiver. Like Agholor, he runs poor routes and has had his fair share of drops. Overall, the Eagles wide outs have under performed.
- Sam Bradford (we’ll get to him later)
- Arguably, the biggest move the Eagles made this off-season was signing not one, but TWO of the most sought after running backs in free agency. While the run game wasn’t a huge problem or concern in 2014, the Eagles still traded star running back Lesean McCoy to the Bills and then brought in Ryan Matthews and Demarco Murray. Now, with Sproles, the Eagles would have the best tandem of running backs in the NFL! Well, on paper at least. Chip Kelly forgot that a running game can’t succeed without a good offensive line, and releasing two of their best players on the line (Evan Mathis and Todd Hermeans) is something the Eagles are truly regretting now. The Eagles run game is non-existent to say the least, ranking 30th in the league. That’s almost dead last. Demarco Murray has dealt with injuries and a lack of carries (something that he recently complained about to the media) and Ryan Matthews has either fumbled, or dropped easy passes. The only player that is playing well is Darren Sproles, who can still outrun, and out-juke almost any defender in the NFL.
The Eagles most controversial decision this offseason was trading quarterback Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for former 1 overall pick Sam Bradford. While Foles played poorly in 2014, at least he had a proven track record of winning. Sam Bradford has more potential and talent than Foles, but it seems that Bradford’s struggles in St. Louis are carrying over. Bradford still has inconsistent accuracy, poor pocket poise, and, at times questionable decision making. And while some of his struggles can be blamed on his terrible offensive line and under-performing receivers, it’s time for Bradford to put up or shut up. He must perform soon before he either get’s hurt or benched. Both of these options seem inevitable at this point.
Lack of team leader
There is a constant theme with all successful teams in the NFL: a team leader who is the face of the franchise. With the Eagles, there is no player in that locker room that I can point out and say “Now that’s the face of the franchise.” Not only did Chip Kelly trade his best players in the offseason, he also traded every leader in that locker room. With the influx of so many new players, the Eagles lack a voice. They lack a player who can put the team on his shoulders and motivate others to rally behind him.
Chip Kelly has to understand that this isn’t college. Talented players in the NFL just don’t come and go in 3-4 years. They stay with a team for at least 6 years or more. Trading away his best players has definitely affected the Eagles team chemistry.