Despite being 4-7 and only 1 game back of the New York Giants and Washington Redskins for the NFC East division race, it's possible that the Eagles and Chip Kelly could be in trouble. Kelly started his Eagles tenure with back-to-back 10-6 seasons, winning the division in 2013 and barely missing out of the playoffs in 2014. Kelly made a lot of noise during the offseason, dumping long tenured veterans like RG Todd Herrimans, LG Evan Mathis, RB LeSean McCoy, and QB Nick Foles while picking up QB Sam Bradford, LB Kiko Alonso, RB Demarco Murray, RB Ryan Mathews, and S Walter Thurmond. Even with all of the fanfare, the Eagles had a slow start out of the gate and are treading water with a mediocre Giants team.
I think some of the issues in Philly are both scheme and personnel related, mostly dealing with personnel. The Eagles like to run an up-tempo offense with a pace faster than anyone else like Oregon does in the College Football ranks. The trick to the up-tempo offense is picking up 1st downs during the process, because consecutive streaks 3-and-out drives will tire out the defense. My belief is that even with the greatest scheme ever, you need to find the players that can execute your scheme the way it's supposed to be. Take for example the MNF game against the Bills. Rex Ryan developed a great game plan against the Patriots offense, but they busted 5-6 coverages and it wound up costing them the game. Without the players to execute the scheme, your scheme is not going to work they way you want it done.
In their most recent game, the Eagles embarrassed themselves on national television on Thanksgiving against a 3-7 Detroit Lions team. It seemed that they were incapable of doing anything, and while injuries don't help the players that were on the field were terrible. Detroit pretty much had their way with the Eagles, who pretty much quit on the game around halftime. It will be interesting to see how they respond to that type of adversity when they play the New England Patriots, whose offense is capable of doing more damage and whose defense is also better at stopping teams than the Lions. If there is one thing the Patriots can't do against the Eagles, it's letting their guard down despite all the bad football the Eagles have placed recently.
While listening to the ESPN Radio on the drive from Tucson to Phoenix, every news update included that news of an anonymous agent of an Eagles starting player roasting the Eagles head coach and claiming that he lost the team's locker room. Other quotes from that Pro Football Talk article include:
"Chip Kelly has lost the team," said the agent "Between the losses and his bull[bleep] methods that aren’t working, I can tell you that the players have tuned him out."
"Well, when you see DeMarco sliding before getting hit, you tell me – was that giving full effort?" the anonymous Eagle told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "You see that [stuff] and it makes you wonder."
If that rumor is true, then Chip Kelly is deep in hot water. However, I don't see the Eagles lying down against the Patriots on Sunday, because teams always try to play their best against the league's Gold Standard. Whatever is going on in that locker room, we probably won't find out the truth to these claims until the end of the season. For now, the Eagles are still very much in the playoff race, but there last five games will determine if the team bands together or falls apart.