As the Philadelphia Eagles prepare for the 2015 season, all eyes are on Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
There will be plenty of eyes on all the new additions to the team, but it’s hard to argue that the most pressure will be on the man who brought these players to Philadelphia: Chip Kelly.
While Kelly’s tenure as both Eagles head coach, and as an NFL head coach, is hardly a failure, it hasn’t quite been as much of a success as some in Philadelphia have hoped for. Kelly’s first season saw the team finish 10-6 and win the NFC East, falling to the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round. His second season also saw the team finish 10-6, however they missed the playoffs following three straight losses late in the season.
With the Eagles missing the playoffs in 2014, many questions needed to be answered in the off-season. Some of those questions were answered in the form of signings (such as signing cornerbacks Bryon Maxwell and Walter Thurmond to replace Nate Allen, Bradley Fletcher, and Cary Williams and help with the Eagles struggling secondary).
Another way these questions were answered was in the form of trades, and several of these were not minor trades either. Perhaps the two biggest trades of the offseason were the trades that sent quarterback Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams for quarterback Sam Bradford, and the trade that sent star running back, and Eagles all-time rushing leader, LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso.
While the addition of Kiko Alonso will surely help with the Eagles defense, the addition of Sam Bradford, who has suffered two ACL injuries in the same knee in the last three years, left many fans and writers alike scratching their heads.
So far, things seem to be going smoothly as the Eagles continue with training camp and get ready for the pre-season. However, the pressure of these acquisitions staying healthy and paying off has not decreased at all.
When Kelly arrived in Philadelphia in 2013, the Eagles were coming from a disastrous 2012 season in which they went 4-12. Fans were open to just about any and all changes at that point. Up until now, Eagles fans have been ok with the things Chip Kelly has done. However, things have changed in recent months. Many fans are still questioning Kelly’s decision to trade for the injury prone Sam Bradford.
While that remains to be answered, and won’t be until the team hits the field for the 2015 season, it could potentially make or break Chip Kelly as Eagles head coach. Both Kely, and Sam Bradford himself, have said that Bradford’s knee is 100% and Bradford said it feels good and he’s ready to go.
Bradford is not the only acquisition that is coming from a torn ACL. Linebacker Kiko Alonso, who was acquired from the Bills for LeSean McCoy, missed the entire 2014 season with a knee injury. This led many people to question the move for Alonso, despite the fact that he won PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year and was the only defensive nominee for PFWA Rookie of the Year after the 2013 season.
Whether Chip Kelly likes it or not, the fact is that if either one of these players were to re-injure their knee or suffer another serious injury that would cause them to miss significant time, there will be a considerable amount of blame place on Chip Kelly. Sam Bradford and Kiko Alonso are just two of several additions to the team this season, although they will be the most looked at and most scrutinized.
However, if things do not pan out for the Eagles this season and they wind up missing the playoffs again, nobody will be scrutinized more than Chip Kelly.
The pressure is on Chip, the pressure is on.