One of the hallmarks of a coach who’s losing his team is that we begin to see stories in which anonymous sources question the coach’s methods and the team’s competitive. That’s happening in Philadelphia this week.
After the Eagles’ loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday dropped the team to 4-6, NJ.com quoted an agent “who requested anonymity because of fear of retribution against his client” as saying that the players don’t buy what Kelly is selling.
“Chip Kelly has lost the team,” said the agent “Between the losses and his bull[bleep] methods that aren’t working, I can tell you that the players have tuned him out.”
The agent also said there’s at least one player on the team who’s using an injury as a reason not to play, even though it’s an injury he’d be able to play through, because “he won’t play hurt for Chip.”
Without knowing the identity of the agent, it’s impossible to assess the veracity of his claims. It may be an agent who feels that his client should be paid more and is upset that Kelly hasn’t agreed to give him a new contract. But what’s clear is there’s an atmosphere in Philadelphia in which people know they’ll have a sympathetic ear when they take anonymous shots at Kelly.
Another anonymously sourced story in Philadelphia had a player saying that when running back DeMarco Murray slid instead of trying to break a tackle, it showed that Murray isn’t fully invested in the team.
“Well, when you see DeMarco sliding before getting hit, you tell me – was that giving full effort?” the anonymous Eagle told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “You see that [stuff] and it makes you wonder.”
At the moment, the anonymous sources questioning the Eagles’ heart are a whisper. If they lose to the Lions today, those anonymous sources will become a roar. And that roar may be announcing the end of the Chip Kelly era in Philadelphia.