If there was a play this season that epitomized the notion that some Eagles were giving less than 100 percent for Chip Kelly, it actually didn't come in Sunday's utterly pathetic, 45-17 drubbing at the hands of the Buccaneers, although there were plenty of candidates.
It came last week against the Dolphins, a week after the Eagles had beaten the Cowboys and seemingly had momentum for salvaging their season. It came after they had taken a 16-3 lead and as they were driving for what appeared to be another touchdown.
It was third and 1, and DeMarco Murray got the handoff. He turned the corner and appeared to have the first down. But rather than finish off his run, he saw 185-pound cornerback Brice McCain coming at him, and he slid to the ground just barely beyond the first-down marker.
Millions watched it on TV and thousands saw it in person at Lincoln Financial Field, but the people it should matter to most were Murray's teammates. And at least one, when asked on Sunday whether he thought the Eagles were giving it their all, noticed.
"Well, when you see DeMarco sliding before getting hit, you tell me. Was that giving full effort?" said an Eagles player who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "You see that [stuff], and it makes you wonder."
Murray was not available for comment after the Bucs game.
Where there is one, there are surely others. Other Eagles who bust it every practice and every game who can't help but be bothered when a teammate so easily gives himself up and other Eagles who, for whatever the reason, have started to check out.
"I believe so, but, hey, I don't know," receiver Josh Huff said when asked whether he thought every player was giving 100 percent. "I believe everyone is giving their all, but then again, may not be. I don't know. All I can [do] is speak for myself."
It's difficult to say for certain that Murray, despite the evidence on that play, is shirking from contact. And it isn't certain that the Eagles are starting to bail on the season and possibly Kelly because of all the mistakes over the last two weeks.
But when one player questions another player's effort, it does suggest something larger about the institution. Kelly dismissed a question that wondered whether his players still believed in his plan after putting forth such a performance against a rebuilding Bucs team.
"I don't think anybody played well today, and I don't think we're talking about beliefs," Kelly said.
Several players said they still supported their coach.
"Of course. He's the head coach," tackle Jason Peters said. "There isn't any quit in us around here. We're going to fight until the end whether it's a win or a loss."
But actions speak louder than words. Peters pulled himself from the game in the fourth quarter. He missed the last two games with a back injury and was a game-time decision yet again. He obviously played at less than 100 percent, but the curious handling of his injury over the last few weeks suggests, at the least, that player and coach aren't on the same page.
For the second straight week, right tackle Lane Johnson said that he didn't know where he was starting until right before the game. Last Wednesday, Kelly said minutes before practice that Peters was sitting out. However, when the session opened, the 12-year veteran was in full uniform practicing.
"It was just miscommunication," Peters said. "It isn't anything major. It's no big deal."
It seems all of the Eagles' miscommunications - of which there have increasingly been many - aren't a big deal. Mark Sanchez and Darren Sproles argued with each other following a screen pass that was intercepted and returned for an add-insult-to-injury touchdown in the fourth.
"We got that cleared up real quick," Sanchez said.
The argument continued as they both walked to the sidelines until Peters felt compelled to step in between.
"We're OK," said Sproles, who expressed his frustrations with his playing time last week to The Inquirer.
The Eagles defense was most definitely not OK. There were at least a dozen missed tackles. Bill Davis' unit had been steady for most of the season, but has become as permeable as Miles Austin's hands. Tackling is 50 or so percent effort.
"It's no time to fold up and quit. I still think guys believe in the plan," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "Today it's defensively, and so I don't think Chip hurt his reputation with the team at any point because he has nothing to do with that."
Kelly has responsibility for everything. After the Andy Reid volcano erupted, Kelly rebuilt the Eagles out of ashes. He changed virtually the entire program. And many of the changes were new to the players and required faith - Tuesday practices, more strenuous Saturdays, sleep monitors, up-tempo practices, to name a few.
The Eagles seemed to buy in, and the ones who didn't were discarded. Of course, the Eagles won 19 of their first 28 games under Kelly. They've now lost nine of their last 14. Winning cures all, losing exacerbates everything.
The Eagles are still, amazingly, only one game out of the NFC East lead. There's still something salvageable. But the players' efforts, or lack thereof, suggest that a recovery is unlikely. Kelly said that he didn't think his players quit on him on Sunday.
"They may have lost focus," he said, "but I wouldn't use the word 'quit.' "
How about halfhearted?