Eagles coach Chip Kelly in full spin mode
THE GAME outside the game is in full spin mode these days. Chip Kelly, feigning indifference at how he is perceived while at the same time trying to mold that perception. Against an increasingly bewildered group that is often bullied out of obvious follow-ups to mind-melting answers, most of which boil down to this essential thought:
THE GAME outside the game is in full spin mode these days.
Chip Kelly, feigning indifference at how he is perceived while at the same time trying to mold that perception. Against an increasingly bewildered group that is often bullied out of obvious follow-ups to mind-melting answers, most of which boil down to this essential thought:
You can't be serious.
Here are the highlights from Wednesday's 11-minute news conference, Kelly's first since ESPN reported that DeMarco Murray had complained to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie about his lack of carries in Sunday's 35-28 victory over New England.
Murray did not seek out Lurie. He just wound up sitting next to him on the flight home. Everybody sits in first class. It's one huge, happy plane.
By the time Murray sat next to Lurie, he already had expressed his displeasure about how he was used to Kelly. Even though later in the session, Kelly indicated that Murray had been made aware before the game that the plan was to use Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner more to combat New England's defensive plan.
Brain hurt yet?
Wait, there's more.
Kelly said Murray is the player he expected him to be when he signed him to a big contract last offseason.
Kelly said Murray is the person he expected him to be when he signed him to a big contract last offseason.
It looks different, he said, because Dallas had more weapons last year than he does this year - particularly Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. As for why Murray's yards-per-carry average in this offense is less than that of Ryan Mathews, Sproles or Barner, Kelly seemed to suggest - amid a real rabbit-hole answer - that they all had benefited from better offensive execution than had Murray.
You don't believe him? He says he doesn't care. Not since Don King have I sat in front of someone who can argue so effectively that what you are seeing is not really what you are seeing. You thought Mike Tyson was knocked out? No, Buster Douglas was knocked out. The first knockout obliterated the second knockout (King actually said that). And so on.
Those who thought Kelly would not be able to handle the Philadelphia media, or the national media, the way he did in little, old Oregon were badly mistaken. Kelly has the enviable ability to speak fast and say close to nothing when he needs to, and when it comes to questions about individuals, his relationship to those individuals, and their productivity, he often needs to.
Especially this season.
This season, he has needed this skill to obfuscate the obvious cracks in the kumbaya that existed around this team in his first season. Back then, a team that had lost 12 games the season before was so excited about winning that the players would have drunk Kool-Aid if their new coach told them it would help. LeSean McCoy loved him. DeSean Jackson loved him. Both men had career seasons.
Two years later, McCoy says he won't even shake his hand. Jackson is gone, too, as is Jeremy Maclin, who made us forget about Jackson's ability to stretch a defense, at least for a season.
Kelly bet that Jordan Matthews and rookie Nelson Agholor could fill that void, especially with the accuracy of Sam Bradford's arm. He bet that Murray and Mathews would more than make up for the missing McCoy. He bet that he could afford to lose Evan Mathis and not draft an offensive lineman.
He has yet to admit he was wrong about any of it. The closest he has come might be when he said Wednesday, "We're not exactly where we want to be offensively from any aspect . . . I'm frustrated."
But he also traced that to Jason Peters being hurt and Andrew Gardner getting hurt and even Bradford getting hurt - "different moving parts," he said.
Tell it to the Patriots.
Only twice this season has the Eagles offense scored 24 points on its own. Go back to a time before Bradford and Murray were here and Gardner was a valued replacement - last year - and you will see mighty offensive struggles there, as well. Masked, especially early in the season gone sour, by exemplary special-teams play.
That happened again Sunday, which led to Murray's disgruntlement, which led to an entire week's worth of bad buzz that most teams would deem a distraction, especially following, arguably, their best win of the season.
On Wednesday, DeMeco Ryans and Malcolm Jenkins - last week's malcontent - said it had not been.
And Murray? He has refused to answer questions until Thursday, guaranteeing at least another day of this.
Kelly was asked about this, as well, in the wake of a big win.
"What comes out of the media, I don't really care about, to be honest with you," he said.
That might even be true. What Kelly doesn't seem to get, though, is that what's been coming out of the media this season, by and large, took root in his locker room.
On Twitter: @samdonnellon