After allowing 90 points in their last two games, the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s safe to say, are in trouble. In fact, it might be safe to say that Chip Kelly has lost the locker room.
If he has, it wouldn’t surprise Bart Scott in the least.
“When you devalue players and it’s more about the system and bringing people in and if I have the best season I’ve ever had and I’m still expendable – that’s all find and dandy when you’re winning,” the NFL on CBS analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “But when you lose, how many people are going to stay in that boat with you and is going to toe the line in the same direction? I think right now guys are thinking about should I lay it on the line? I’m injured. Should I put it on the line for this guy when he could either one, jump ship, or two, hasn’t shown a history of having been loyal to his players? He’s gotten rid of players that have performed at a high level for him. When that happens, guys won’t play injured. They won’t risk their careers for a coach like that. That’s what you see, I believe.”
Kelly is not alone in his approach. Bill Belichick, for example, is known for shrewd player management. Belichick will get rid of a player a year or two early, regardless of what that player has done for him in the past.
There is, however, one key difference: Belichick wins.
“(When) you go there, you win championships,” Scott said. “You go there, you’re going to win at least 12 games. That’s fine. Let him pull that same stuff with Jimmy Garoppolo and they’re losing and he’s still trying to pull that. What happens is you won’t be able to lure the free agents there either. If I’m a free agent, I’m not going to go with Chip Kelly because as soon as my guaranteed money is out and I have a bad season, he may get rid of me.”
Not every franchise, Scott said, is like that, and he cited the Pittsburgh Steelers as an example.
“Come on, let’s be honest,” Scott said. “Troy Polamalu stayed a year or two too long, but they did that because of what he had laid on the line for them in previous years. Ray Lewis, he probably was done a couple years before they actually felt him go, but they (kept him) because they (appreciated him). Now you think about Terrell Suggs. You think about organizations that show their appreciation. That’s why you play injured. That’s why you come back from surgery. If you’re Terrell Suggs, you come back from a torn Achilles and play in the Super Bowl and risk hurting it again because you know that they care about you as a person and they don’t see you just as a number or an athlete. They see you as a member of your family.”
Still, DA doesn’t see Kelly leaving Philadelphia. Neither does Scott.
“I think he wants to prove to everybody that he can be successful in the NFL,” Scott said. “With that being said, though, I think he has to take a real look at his approach. He has to look at his approach and all of his scientific analysis and things like that. Because at the end of the day, for me knowing people that have played for Chip Kelly, what you see is what you see every year: You see them getting wore down because the number of reps in practice, the number of reps that the defense has to take in games, and now this defense, which was performing at a high level, looks tired. You want to build up and be playing your best football in November and December, but if I don’t have any legs and the other team has legs, then they’re going to have that extra oomph that I don’t have.”
The Eagles (4-7), who have lost three straight and four of five, play the Patriots (10-1) in Foxboro this Sunday. Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. ET.