PHILADELPHIA -- Chip Kelly the coach can’t blame his general manager for the Eagles’ 1-3 start. And Kelly the GM can’t blame the coach.
That leaves the players, and that’s why Kelly has talked so much about “execution.”
ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski said on 97.5 The Fanatic Monday that Kelly is using classic “coachspeak” to explain his team’s struggles. Kelly the GM has acquired the players and Kelly the coach has devised the offensive system.
So if the players aren’t good enough or the system is flawed, Kelly is the only one to blame. By talking about “execution,” Kelly is saying the players are good enough and the scheme is sound. It’s just a matter of a few mistakes preventing the Eagles from succeeding.
“You just keep practicing and you keep working on it and you trust the guys you have,” Kelly said Monday. “We know we have the right players here. We just -- it's a play here or a play there. We've lost a game by two and we've lost a game by three. We lost another game by 10. We've lost three games by 15 points.
“You hit two kicks and we are sitting here 3-1 and everybody's happy.”
The Eagles certainly were within striking distance in a couple of their losses.
“The difference in this league, right now, is almost every game when you look up, is a less-than-one-score-game,” Kelly said. “It's a one-score game in terms of -- I think 31 of the 62 games so far have been decided by eight points or less.
“So it's a matter of making one more play than your opponent. We had a touchdown called back because we lined up wrong. That's the difference in a football game. We missed an extra point, we missed a field goal; that's the difference in a football game. We get a completion on third down, we allow a completion on the third down; that's the difference in the football game.
“It's just one play here or there and it's a different story where we are standing here today.”
The alternative view is that the Eagles have come out in their three losses and been outplayed in the first half. The Eagles have been outscored by a combined 39-3 in the first half by Atlanta, Dallas and Washington.
The Eagles have outscored those three opponents by a total of 51-30 in the second halves of the games.
Clearly, the Eagles are not as well prepared for games as their opponents have been. Whether that’s a failure of coaching or a product of inferior talent, it’s significant.
In his theory on the issue, Kelly used the “E” word again.
“We are not executing,” he said. “We need to stay on the field offensively in the first half and not be on three-and-outs.”