September 21, 2015
They say, "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." It's a phrase with which pessimists -- and Eagles fans -- are all too familiar.
Even if Chip Kelly's Irish upbringing didn't teach him about Murphy's Law, he's getting a crash course in it this season.
Through two games, the Eagles are winless for the first time since 2007. But it's not just the fact they've lost both their games, it's how they've lost that's provides the darkest outlook for their short-term future.
Here's a look at some of the Eagles' new players brought in by Kelly how Murphy's Law has gotten the better of them:
There are two things that will almost guarantee you a spot on a Chip Kelly team, and it has nothing to do with your special teams prowess.
Kiko Alonso fits both of these criteria.
When the Eagles traded LeSean McCoy to Buffalo in exchange for the former defensive rookie of the year, some were skeptical and rightfully so. Alonso had missed the entire 2014 season, his second, with a torn left ACL after tearing his right ACL while playing for the Ducks.
Things didn't get off to a good start in camp when Alonso went down with a concussion on just the third day of practices. Once his head was cleared, Alonso missed even more time with tendinitis in his surgically-repaired left knee and didn't make his Eagles debut until the preseason finale against the Jets.
And after a solid outing against the Falcons that included a one-handed interception in the end zone, the young inside linebacker left the team's game against the Cowboys with a left knee injury and did not return. We'll find out more from the Eagles about the extent of Alonso's injury today or tomorrow, but no matter how severe it is, it's certainly not a good sign moving forward for the Eagles.
Had the above move never been made, the Eagles would not have felt the need to go out and spend $42 million for Murray over the next five years -- not to mention giving $11 million to Ryan Mathews.
And what do the Eagles have to show for all that money spent?
A historically bad rushing attack, one whose problems start with the offensive line.
This may be the most egregious of Kelly's offseason mistakes. Kelly let Todd Herremans, who started 125 games for the Eagles over 10 seasons, walk in free agency. That alone was crippling and made, at the very least, financial sense. Plus, at 32-years-old, Herremans was getting up there.
But then, they Birds also released two-time Pro Bowler Evan Mathis, who started 56 games in Philly over four seasons and 80 in his career, without any real plan for replacing either. Instead, the Eagles brought in a combination of young, unproven players and veteran journeymen to compete for their two guard spots.
Ultimately, those jobs were won Andrew Garnder and Allen Babre -- they had a total of 16 combined NFL starts coming into the season. And to say they aren't getting the job done, well that would be an understatement. Even after Sunday's loss to the Cowboys, Kelly said the reason they decided not to run on two straight plays from the Dallas three was because he didn't trust his line to get any forward movement at the line of scrimmage.
Instead, the Eagles drive ended in a Sam Bradford interception.
Even though he's been far from great so far this season, Sam Bradford isn't getting much help from the rest of the team, especially his coach.
Bradford's rust was expected -- even though his preseason performance against the Packers got everyone all excited -- but there have also been plenty of dropped passes (see: Matthews, Jordan AND Austin, Miles), miscommunications with receivers, and more.
It's hard to fault Bradford too much when there's little threat of a run to keep the defense honest. And perhaps, just maybe, asking him to throw the ball 88 times through the first two weeks was a little much.
Maxwell has 13 tackles, a forced fumble, and a pair of passes defended so far this season.
But he's also been picked on by opposing quarterbacks, and that's not what you want to see out of a guy you signed this offseason to a six-year, $63 million contract with $25 million guaranteed.
Against the Falcons, Maxwell had the worst Week 1 performance of any cornerback in the league, according to ProFootballFocus.
According to @PFF, Byron Maxwell was targeted 11 times last night. He allowed 10 catches for 179 yards, both worst in the NFL in Week 1.— Corey Seidman (@CoreySeidmanCSN) September 15, 2015
Against the Cowboys, he was somewhat better, but still got burnt on by Terrence Williams on a slant route that went for a 42-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
Maxwell was on the field for every defensive snap -- that over 40 minutes of game time -- and after the game, he told CSN Philly's Ruben Frank that he may have been a little tired on that play.
“You’re a human being, you get tired as the game goes on,” Maxwell said. “That’s how it goes.”
But before you jump on Maxwell for being tired, you need to question why he didn't get a rest.
After all, it's Kelly who decided to spend all that money on him, perhaps so much that the team was unable to add more depth at the position. Furthermore, he was out there for over 40(!!!) minutes, chasing receivers up and down the field.
If the Eagles could get anything working on offense, maybe Maxwell wouldn't be so gassed in the fourth quarter. When Chip's system is working, it's opposing defenses that are supposed to tire as the game goes on.
But as we've seen so far this season, the system is broken, and Murphy's Law is governing over the NovaCare Complex.