Monday, September 30, 2013

Chip Kelly and Steve Spurrier

Is it...
         1) too early?
         2) too easy?

In 2002, Steve Spurrier took a five-year, $25 million contract to coach the Washington Redskins.  He had revolutionized college football offensively with a wide open passing game that brought him great success and acclaim at Duke University and the University of Florida.

Spurrier's Redskins opened with a 38-7 preseason romp against the San Francisco 49ers -- preseason, yes, but confirmation to his supporters that his "Fun 'N Gun" would work in the NFL.

Well, it didn't.  Under the ol' ball coach's watch, the Redskins were unable to protect their quarterback -- whether Patrick Ramsey, Shane Matthews, or Danny Wuerffel -- and a 7-9 initial campaign sank to 5-11 in 2003 before Spurrier resigned to rejoin the college football ranks.

Surely this is what Chip Kelly sees when he looks in the mirror.

His 2013 Philadelphia Eagles, pushing the tempo in the style of his flashy 2007-2012 University of Oregon Ducks, hid their style before a grand Monday night showing in a 33-27 season-opening victory against (coincidentally) Washington.  Rick Reilly was breathless in his praise.  (All aboard the bandwagon!)

Since that opening triumph, the Eagles have:  lost 33-30 to San Diego, lost 26-16 to Kansas City, and lost 52-20 to Denver.  At the very least, we now know that Philly is a last place team in the AFC West, right beside the Oakland Raiders.

The Eagles have piled up yards each week, but meaningful points haven't accompanied those yards.  The offense's key players are getting increasingly banged up.  The defense, a poor unit to start with, has been tested all the more due to the offense's pace - and they've failed.  If Philly loses to the hapless New York Giants next Sunday, which could easily occur, there's a brewing disaster in the City of Brotherly Love, with a fanbase known for its impatience.

It's still early yet for Chip Kelly.  There's no shame in getting routed by Peyton Manning's Broncos.  Perhaps we should wait for 2014, with Kelly installing more of his own players and revamping the defense.

But we've seen college coaches fail in the NFL before, whether Spurrier, Nick Saban, or Barry Switzer.

Things are turning sourly familiar in a hurry in Philadelphia.

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