THEY ARE ALL too familiar now, the names used to indict Eagles general manager Chip Kelly. Evan Mathis should still be on the offensive line. Jeremy Maclin should still be catching passes. At this point, maybe you wish Shady was still here, too.

Nick Foles? Ah, not so much.

But here are some names often overlooked, names that might have as much, or even more, to do with why the Eagles have lost three games this season by a total of six points.

James Casey. Chris Polk. Casey Matthews. Brandon Boykin.

Each was a valuable contributor to a special-teams unit that was extremely special last season. Each made considerable contributions as the Eagles built a 7-2 record that included close victories over the Colts (30-27), the Redskins (37-34) and the Rams (34-28). Aside from Boykin at nickel back, each played sparingly elsewhere, allowing them to focus almost entirely on their special-teams responsibilities, allowing them to contribute huge plays at opportune times that were a big reason - perhaps the biggest in retrospect - why the Eagles were in a much better situation at this point last season than they are this year.

The Eagles scored seven touchdowns on special teams last season, blocked six punts. Darren Sproles led the NFL in punt-return average. They surrendered one return touchdown all season, and did not have a punt blocked.

There have been two punts blocked already this season. Sproles would have to have a monster second half to repeat. There have been missed field goals, bad snaps, long returns allowed.

Last Wednesday, I asked Kelly why his special teams were not so special, and he said this:

"I disagree. I think our special teams are playing very well."

He also lauded the Eagles' punt coverage, which made his comments during Monday's day-after news conference - which followed a bad snap on a failed field goal, a blocked punt, some paltry punt returns and a big return allowed - seem a bit confusing.

Because then, Kelly said, "Last year we were outstanding in the special-teams aspect, and we haven't had the contributions," and later he added, "I don't think we did a great job in holding up to get Darren started and give him an opportunity to get going a little bit."

Chip had this much right on Monday: Winning and losing in the NFL often comes down to a play or two. The difference between last year's 10-6 and where the 4-5 Eagles seem headed is a razor's-edge existence, often defined by the plays made when the ball is kicked from one team to the other. Tackle Lane Johnson said Sunday that he was used to an offense that was "putting up points like crazy," but the real truth about last year is the same kind of ineptitude that now plagues them was greatly masked by a special-teams unit that was by far the NFL's best.

This is where GM Chip Kelly fits in. The depth and versatility he said was so important upon his arrival to the NFL as a coach has been greatly compromised by the decisions made since he moved to the top of the personnel chain.

Take Chris Maragos, for example, brought here to bolster special teams after a long return doomed the Eagles late in their 2013 playoff game with the Saints. In their ninth game a year ago, he took nine defensive snaps at safety as they beat Carolina, 45-21, to run their record to 7-2.

On Sunday, Maragos was on the field for 29 defensive snaps and 33 special-teams plays. To put that in perspective, Connor Barwin played only four more snaps.

"When you have different assignments defensively, your horizons change in terms of all the things you have to think about throughout a game," Maragos said. "Physically, too, you are expending a lot more energy in other places."

Once a special-teams standout, cornerback Nolan Carroll is now an integral part of the defense. Boykin was traded, of course. Impressive rookie JaCorey Shepherd tore an ACL in training camp, and it seems clear now that the Eagles have little trust in their second-round draft pick, Eric Rowe.

Rowe did not take a single defensive snap Sunday and played nine plays on special teams.

Bryan Braman, another of the special-teams specialists brought here after the New Orleans playoff loss, took nine defensive snaps all of last season. Employed occasionally to rush the passer (Trent Cole is also gone), he has reached that total already this year.

"There are a lot more moving parts this year than last year," he said. "I felt like it was a little more set last year than this year. Personnel issues and stuff like that. Offensively and defensively. Special teams is the first stage of what suffers from those personnel changes . . . You get new guys in there. Same technique. Different execution. It's a little bit harder to know your co-worker, to really understand how he plays so you can play off of it. And be able to complement each other."

In short, to be special.

They are not. And it's not hard to figure out why.

Just look for the guy in charge of personnel.

On Twitter: @samdonnellon

Columns: ph.ly/Donnellon