By Peter Gleason
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie had a relieved look on his face yesterday at the Meadowlands after the Eagles held on the beat the Jets 24-17 for their first 2015 win.
Compared, that is, to the blank stare that was caught on TV last Sunday when the Cowboys bitch-smacked his Birds 20-10.
And, thanks to the AP, his quotes yesterday about Eagles Supreme Leader Chip Kelly were conventional wisdom:
“Chip’s smart, a great leader, understands the game, understands everything about how to build a roster and team in creative ways.”
Asked if he hired Kelly for being an unconventional thinker, Lurie said, “Absolutely it was on purpose. I thought he could really create and add a lot of energy and strategy and leadership to what we have going. We’re used to winning big in Philly, and this was a way to follow a terrific coach like Andy Reid with another terrific coach. That was the goal.”
Many Eagles fans are concerned with their team’s early-season struggles. The offense has not been the expected quick-strike, up-tempo nightmare for opponents yet. Sam Bradford has been mediocre at quarterback and running back DeMarco Murray has been a nonfactor.
Many people questioned Kelly’s decision to trade Nick Foles and a second-round pick to St. Louis for Bradford, who was 18-30-1 with the Rams and hadn’t played since October 2013 because of two ACL surgeries on the same knee. Foles had a breakout year in 2013, leading Philadelphia to the NFC East title. He was 14-5 under Kelly, including a playoff loss.
Still, Kelly refused before the Jets game to echo the anxiety of the fan base, which was in near panic mode.
“We’re always concerned about everything here, whether we start 0-2 or 2-0,” he said. “We don’t approach things any differently. We have to come back and go to work. You don’t pat yourself on the back when you’re 2-0 and you don’t change everything if you’re 0-2.”
Kelly, hired in 2013, won 10 games each of his first two years at the helm, and took control of personnel decisions after just his second season as head coach. He traded Foles and star running back LeSean McCoy, let top receiver Jeremy Maclin walk away in free agency, released his starting guards and a starting linebacker, and jettisoned three-fourths of his secondary.
“Finishing 10-6 and not going to the playoffs is just like going 4-12,” Kelly said before training camp. “I didn’t feel we were close at the end of the year. I knew we had to get better as a team.”