Found July 23, 2013 on
Football and Futbol:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the home of passionate sports fans who will talk Philadelphia Eagles football all day. They will certainly tell you the way they want to be heard is through celebratory chants down Broad Street on a chilly morning in February! But if you look at the facts, Eagles fans, minus the Superbowl wins, have been getting what they ask for the last few years. These are the same fans that were tired of Donovan McNabb coming short of a Superbowl win year after year and asked for a new QB after the 2009 season.
Two straight losses to the Cowboys in 2009 to end the season by Donovan McNabb , the most successful QB in franchise history , had fans supporting Kevin Kolb while they rode McNabb out of town. Change was needed then and since then change has been a coming. The most notable change came in the offseason of 2011. Eagles fans were excited after a rejuvenated successful run in 2010 led by QB Mike Vick and enthusiastically supported a free agent spending frenzy. Many fans and experts felt the Eagles were right at the doorstep and a few additional pieces could bring home the Lombardi trophy! Everyone remembers the infamous ‘Dream Team’ comments and all the prized free agents the Eagles brought in, like they never had done before.
The Eagles organization for years boasted they were pretty much the gold standard of NFL organizations using the same strategies for very successful runs from 2000-2010, minus a few injury plagued seasons they told us. So when the Gold Standard opened up to big signings the fans undeniably knew they were getting what they asked for. When the 2011 season produced only average results the fans were disappointed and spoke out, but realized the new pieces brought in did have prior success and that Andy Reid could turn it around with more time. Many fans always want drastic change every year when they don’t win it all. However, the respected fans and many experts were banking on Andy Reid righting the ship in 2012; and it should have been easy with all the talent on the roster. 2012 spelled even more injuries and more disaster. Eagles fans everywhere easily voiced the defense was an embarrassment, especially when compared to the way defense used to be played in Philly under former defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.
The organization let some of that chatter hit home and before long defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was gone and Reid was showing the fans he will even fire friends to do what is right for the organization. Well, the ship never righted itself and fans began demanding Reid be shipped out as well, only a few weeks after the release of Castillo. “Fire Andy” chants were in abundance at every home game late in the 2012 season. The fans were speaking again and Andy was gone the minute the season ended. Many fans were quick to voice an opinion for a new coach and they asked for Chip Kelly, the offensive whiz genius from the University of Oregon.
Now let’s be honest, no Eagles fan is truly happy unless they are winning every season, but the acquisition of Chip meant the Eagles were going in the right direction and the fans were being heard. Fans were tired of Reid’s calm, impassionate demeanor translating into an unacceptable personality he used for the last few months of his tenure here and they wanted excitement and personality in a coach to excite them again. From the first minute he was announced as the new Eagles Head Coach, Chip Kelly has been accepted by the city and fans have pushed away those disappointing feelings once again to welcome the man they asked for.
Chip Kelly, the 21st head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles stemming from 1933, will make this choice a good one as he will fix a few of the Eagles main concerns right away. Chip Kelly, in my eyes is a great answer to the question fans brought up this year. However, Chip Kelly knows now it’s time for the fans to ask about what is going to be done about the true elephant in the room; the loss of the turnover battle that have been killing the Eagles the last 3 years.
One way Kelly is looking to solve this problem for the Birds is by having already implemented a QB competition in the offseason and through training camp. Coach Kelly knows change happens from the top down and he needs to shore up the most important position on the field. It doesn’t take an expert to realize the ups and downs at the recent Eagles QB position are responsible for the team’s recent woes. Chip Kelly will start out by protecting the ball more on offense but knowing Chip his defense will go after getting the ball back too.
It’s easy to point out that both sides of the ball can take the blame when we look at the entire bleak turnover situation happening in Philadelphia the last few years. Chip Kelly coming in with his famous zero games experience at the pro level will tell anyone his number one job is to turn around the Eagles turnover woes. It’s the oldest cliché in the league, and it’s also one of true virtue: ‘You can’t win in the NFL without winning the turnover battle’. In fact, you can say the same thing for every level of football. Chip Kelly’s Oregon Ducks forced 40 turnovers in 2012 leading the nation and in Kelly’s impressive last 3 years at Oregon he was +43 in turnover differential. The +43 turnover differential far and away led his conference of the Pac 10 as Stanford was the next best team in the last 3 years at only +27 in their turnover differential. This turnover differential domination led to the conference title the last 3 years!
The Eagles were dead last in the NFC last year in the turnover differential. 15 teams in the NFC, that’s right, every single other NFC team has a better turnover ratio than the Eagles which spells disaster. The 2012 Philadelphia Eagles were -24 which is unheard of unless you want to be the laughing stock of your division. In comparison the Chicago Bears were the NFC’s best in this category with a +20 turnover differential.
The NFC champs, the San Francisco 49ers were a +9 in turnover differential and the Super Bowl champs, the Baltimore Ravens were also a +9 in turnover differential. These stats make it easy to see NFL success goes hand in hand with the turnover battle and when you look at it closely. Some of the blame has to go on the Philadelphia Eagles secondary, which is no longer the team’s strong point like it was for so many years, as they produced only 8 interceptions finishing 2nd worst in the league in that category. This is not a helpful stat to the Eagles situation by any means, but to give them credit they weren’t playing against their own poor offense filled with quarterbacks who turn the ball over at alarming rates.
Chip Kelly known as an offensive guru, surprisingly got his Oregon defense playing opportunistic football the last 3 years. The University of Oregon’s defense produced more turnovers each year the last 3 years, eventually leading the nation last year with 40 turnovers, tops in NCAA football. I fully expect Chip to treat and demand similar results with this Philadelphia defense. It will be a fun side note to see if Chip can instill any success on the defensive because everyone knows he came here for his offense. I feel when this Philadelphia defense sees how much pressure Chip wants to put on opposing defenses with his offense, it will make them better equipped for what new age offenses want to do them. Chips style of play and training camp will lead to better results not only for the Philadelphia Eagles as a club, but the defense will benefit from this total transformation from top to bottom. The Eagles fans have asked for total change and they are going to get it in the form of Chip Kelly with a defense that he will oversee producing many more turnovers than last year.
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