Expectations couldn’t have been higher for the Philadelphia Eagles in Chip Kelly’s third season as the driving force behind the team’s direction. Granted with complete control of the personnel this past winter, Kelly overhauled the roster to his liking, but the early returns aren’t promising.
After the team’s embarrassing loss to divisional rival Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, players are at a loss to explain how things got so bad, so quickly.
“Maybe we got overconfident,” tackle Lane Johnson says, via Jenny Vrentas of MMQB.com “To where we believed we were just going to be unstoppable and steamroll everybody, and that hasn’t been the case … We’re in a daze right now.”
Kelly’s teams — in college and during his first two seasons with the Eagles — have always been run-first on offense. Through the first two games this season, however, you’d never know that has been the case if you just started watching.
Quarterback Sam Bradford, who was brought over in the trade that sent quarterback Nick Foles packing to the St. Louis Rams, has thrown 89 passes in two games already. Unbelievably, the Eagles have only run the ball a total of 33 times this year for a total of 70 yards — the worst total of any team thus far in 2015.
As a point of reference, last year, featuring freshly departed LeSean McCoy, the Eagles averaged 30 attempts per game last year, averaging 124.5 yards per game.
Free-agent running back DeMarco Murray, who was brought on board at the price of $40 million over five years, has been a non-factor, rushing for 11 yards on 21 carries. His two yards on 13 carries was dubbed “historically ineffective” by Elias, and there was no mistaking his frustration during Sunday’s loss.
The offensive line has been absolutely dominated thus far — both in the running game and passing game. Teams are getting pressure on Bradford with ease, and as illustrated above there are no running lanes for Murray and the rest of the team’s backs. During Sunday’s contest against the Cowboys, Murray was often met in the backfield immediately upon receiving the ball.
Bradford has also been atrocious, throwing four picks, and the interception thrown to Sean Lee in the end zone as he tried to fit the ball into tight end Zach Ertz was simply inexcusable.
It’s been really bad.
Center Jason Kelce didn’t try sugar-coating what’s happening in the locker room at this point, saying “Everybody is a little bit on edge, everybody is a little upset with how things are going. It’s just kind of the nature of things,” via Vrentas.
With a trip to New York next on the schedule to face the red-hot Jets, things could get worse before they get better.