By Kevin McGuire
Following a third straight loss the narrative for the Philadelphia Eagles has been written, suggesting Chip Kelly has lost his team. Not so fast, say some of Kelly’s players. Kelly still has some support in the locker room and he continues to be a coach with no intention of giving up and leaving to return to the college gridiron any time too soon.
Bennie Logan, Brandon Graham Voice Support for Chip
In preparing for the New England Patriots on the road this weekend, some of the Eagles players have taken their opportunities with the media to lend their vocal support for their head coach. Eagles defensive lineman Bennie Logan went on WIP this week to confirm Kelly’s commitment to succeeding in Philadelphia. Logan was not alone in his show of support for the head coach. Brandon Graham also made a point to defend Kelly as the head coach and placed the focus on the players stepping up and digging out of the hole the Eagles currently sit in.
“I think Chip is doing a great job, we just have to hone in all together and just make sure we stay close,” Graham said, according to Tim McManus of Birds 24/7 from Philly Mag. The way things are going, a head coach in the NFL can quickly lose control of the locker room. It may not get a whole lot easier this week.
Chip Staying Put
How many times will Kelly have to deny rumors about his return to college football? Who knows, but some key openings in college football’s annual coaching carousel have been filled, which likely means the Kelly discussion for potential college jobs will soon be put on ice until next season rolls around. USC closed the door on the Chip Kelly rumors with the hiring of Clay Helton this week, and other big-time programs like Georgia, South Carolina, Miami and Maryland reportedly have their vacancies filled, or soon will. This closes the door on another year of Kelly to college rumors, but we have not likely seen the last of these rumors. Keep in mind, if UCLA’s Jim Mora jumps at an opportunity to return to the NFL, Kelly will quickly be thrown back in the rumor mill.
Can the Eagles Still Win the NFC East?
Entering this week’s NFL action, the Eagles will be sitting just one game back in the loss column of the first-place Washington and New York Giants. Both are 5-6, while the Eagles are 4-7. Dallas is 3-8. Yes, this division is abysmal, but somebody has to win it, and the Eagles do still have a chance. But what will the odds look like after this weekend’s road game at 10-1 New England, which is expected to result in a fourth straight loss and drop the Birds to 4-8? Josh Paunil of Birds 24/7 crunched the numbers to determine the odds the Eagles can still win the division, and the results are not so great. Per Paunil, the Eagles have just a 17 percent chance of winning the NFC East. New York is the favorite, with a 43 percent chance of winning the division.
We’re STILL talking about the Eagles Quarterback Situation
We are heading down the final stretch of Kelly’s third year in Philadelphia and there is still a rather important question that has yet to be answered. Who is Chip Kelly’s franchise quarterback? The answer is not likely to be Sam Bradford or Mark Sanchez, although that is all that is available to work with now. Dave Spadaro of PhiladelphiaEagles.com digested the state of the quarterback situation in town, but the answer is clear the Eagles must find a way to pluck a franchise quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. No successful NFL franchise goes four years with a head coach without giving him an opportunity to draft and groom his franchise quarterback. It’s time to do some serious scouting as college football’s bowl season gets ready to roll.
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.