By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia eagles have reached a very important bye week just at the right time. The team has plenty of holes to plug if they are to make a second-half run to the NFC East crown and the NFC Playoffs. Chip Kelly made a number of moves in the off-season to build his ideal team, and thus far, it has been a disappointing season. Some players have been a nice surprise, but with others, it’s felt like Kelly pulled a trick on fans.
QB Sam Bradford: TRICK
It was widely suspected that Chip Kelly was prepared to do whatever it took in order to move up high enough in the NFL Draft to get his former college prodigy, Marcus Mariota. Trading Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams, he got Sam Bradford in return, which felt like a move to make another move. Of course, that never panned out, and now the Eagles are trudging along through the 2015 season with Bradford as the starting quarterback. Kelly may have tried to sell fans on the idea of having Bradford as a franchise quarterback, but nobody should be falling for that. Kelly is still scouting and in search of his real franchise quarterback three years into his job in Philadelphia.
RB DeMarco Murray: TRICK
After trading away LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills, the Eagles managed to lure free agent DeMarco Murray away from the Dallas Cowboys to make up for McCoy’s absence. Murray was clearly an experienced and proven running back, but the Eagles did him no favors by shredding its offensive line and putting Murray in a different type of offensive system, hoping it would all work out. It has not yet, as Murray has rushed for just 51.2 yards per game and three touchdowns. Maybe it will get better, but for now this is a bad trick.
RB Ryan Mathews: TREAT
On the other hand, the addition of Ryan Mathews to the running game has been well-received. Mathews leads the Eagles in rushing with 342 yards and three touchdowns on 28 fewer rushing attempts than Murray. This has caused a bit of a running back controversy in the fan base, as Mathews appears to be a better fit at times in the Eagles offense. Do not expect Kelly to abandon Murray, but Mathews needs to remain a complimentary player with a good share of carries.
WR Jordan Matthews: TRICK
The second-year receiver may be leading the team in receiving with 398 yards, but Matthews has had some unfortunate drops at times, and that may be in his head. It is far from the time to push a panic button and suggest Matthews will never get over his case of the drops, but the Eagles need him to step up in the second half of the season and make a few more plays.
LB Jordan Hicks: TREAT
Jordan Hicks has had to step into a more critical role in the Eagles defense due to injuries to starters. To his credit, Hicks has more than delivered as a fill-in. Entering the bye week, Hicks is tied for the team-lead in total tackles with Malcolm Jenkins (43). No Eagle defense-man has more solo tackles than Hicks, who has 37.
DB Byron Maxwell: TRICK
Maxwell has been abysmal to watch cover receivers and make tackles. Of all the new players brought onto the roster this off-season, Maxwell may be the biggest miss. He does have 36 tackles with five pass deflections and an interception, but his fundamental tackling abilities leave a lot to be desired.
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.