As bad as last season was, Andy Reid’s offense was never shut out. Chip Kelly wasn’t working with a full deck, but that was no excuse for how ineffective his offense was in the Eagles’ 15-7 loss to the Giants on Sunday. For the second straight week, he wasted a strong effort by the defense and now the Eagles have more uncertainty at quarterback after Michael Vick re-injured his hamstring. Here are some observations off the game:
-- At first, I was hard on Kelly after last week’s 17-3 loss to the Cowboys. But after watching the coach’s tape it was fairly clear that his play-calling did a fine job getting receivers open. Nick Foles just kept missing guys with both his arm and eyes. This week, I was a little harder on Kelly and his scheme, but I held back again because I’m not sure how much was his fault and how much fell on the quarterback’s shoulders. But this is two weeks now that the Eagles have failed to score a touchdown against defenses that aren’t exactly strong. Coordinators are catching onto Kelly’s tendencies and he has to find a way to counter their moves. I delved deeper into that topic in my column for the newspaper. But Vick injury or no Vick injury and Matt Barkley or no Matt Barkley, Kelly’s offense should be able to score at least in double figures with LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and a decent offensive line.
-- Kelly made a number of dubious decisions that others have done a fine job of dissecting, including colleague Mike Sielski. Here’s my quick take on the most obvious ones: Fourth down and 10 at the Giants 32 early in the third quarter and Kelly elected to go for it. A week earlier when the Eagles faced fourth down at the 42 before the half, Kelly had Alex Henery trot out and try a 60 yard field goal. He missed. An attempt on this occasion would have been around 50 yards, but it would have been into the wind. “There was pretty good wind there,” Kelly said. He said special teams coach Dave Fipp suggested that Henery wouldn’t have been able to make it based on pre-game warm-ups. The Eagles trailed, 12-0, at the time. The odds of Henery making a 50 yarder would seem better than Barkley converting on 4th and 10, but I can’t kill Kelly for his decision. A quarter later, the Eagles trailed, 15-0, and faced fourth down and four at the Giants 47 with 10:21 left. “It was a two‑score game,” Kelly said. “So I knew we were going to stop them. I have great confidence in our defense.” I don’t like this decision one bit. Imagine how the offense felt when Kelly opted to punt? The offense had traveled into Giants territory only a few times up until that point and this was an opportunity to get something going. The Eagles defense got the ball back to the offense with just under seven minutes remaining and Barkley moved them back across the 50. But the drive stalled again and Kelly had no other choice but to go for it on 4th and 20 and they failed.
-- There’s been some talk that this could have been the last time we see Vick in Eagles green. Bob Ford made a strong case. I’m not so sure, considering the quarterback situation with Foles still out with a concussion and Barkley obviously not the answer right now. The Eagles are also only one game back in the NFC East after the Cowboys lost. They’re still in this thing. So for those wishing that Kelly would tank the season to get a high draft pick, it’s not going to happen. The Eagles may lose out on their own accord, but as long as the team is in the hunt, there’s a strong chance Vick will be back under center. He still gives the offense its best chance. But he has to be 100 percent. Who knows how long the aging quarterback is healthy again.