Catch your breath yet? The Eagles haven’t made a blockbuster move in four days. It’s difficult to find perspective when your football world is spinning at 500 mph. But now, perhaps, we can assess exactly where Big Balls Chip has left our favorite franchise.
Will Kelly’s March Madness lead to a title, or abject failure? Is there an actual plan behind this burning the village in order to save it? The result lies in the answers to these questions:
1.Will Sam Bradford be better than Nick Foles?
I’m dubious. But Chip believes Bradford will flourish in this offense – and is betting that the oft-injured Okie can avoid a third ACL tear. Show of hands, if you believe Bradford still lives up to promise of a No. 1 overall pick.
2. Can DeMarco Murray produce another All-Pro season?
He had 497 touches last year, and you’ve heard the stats on runners taking such abuse depreciating like an old Yugo. Murray won’t reach that workload working with Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, but are we sure the Cowboys didn’t ruin him?
3. Is there a lead receiver?
Jeremy Maclin is gone and Riley Cooper is inexplicably still here. I’m not buying that Josh Huff’s the guy. Is a potential game changer (DeVante Parker, Devin Smith) coming in the draft?
4. Will the offensive line be sturdy?
It was the backbone of 2013, the broken spine of 2014. Todd Herremans is gone, rumor has Evan Mathis headed for the Patriots. Jason Peters looked winded at the end of last season. Nothing works without the big boys.
5. Are the secondary changes enough?
Good riddance to Bradley Fletcher, Nate Allen and “Sconceman” Williams. A hearty welcome to Byron Maxwell. Full trust in Malcolm Jenkins. Is some combo ofWalter Thurmond, Brandon Boykin and Nolan Carroll enough at the other two spots? There’s got to be one more substantial pickup coming, right?
6. Can all this upheaval work?
Eagles fans only need to go back four years for the cautionary tale of Dream Team, which suggested flipping personnel like some drunken fantasy player can backfire. There’s no set-in-stone way to build a champion, but Kelly’s sure playing outside the tried-and-true here. Will a bunch of guys wearing “My Name Is…” nametags on Day 1 end up gelling?
7. Is Chip Kelly sane?
Really. I spoke with dozens of fans last week who called him a madman who’d lost his bleepin’ mind. Can you faithfully cross your heart now and repeat the oath, “In Chip I trust?”
So that’s seven questions – scratching the surface, really. If you honestly answered “yes” to, let’s say, five of them, well, you’re a true believer who can start making plans to visit Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara. If you’re down at two or three, you’re among the old-head Philly Fatalists I speak with on the radio each week.
Me? I’m a “yes” on four (2, 4, 5 and 7), which sounds a lot like 10-6 again. That could all change as things move on, of course. We’ll keep checking back.