The Pope is coming to Philadelphia September 26th and 27th. Plans for the way the city is handling his visit (and I use the word “handling” loosely here) were recently unveiled. The Mayor is blaming the Secret Service for what appears to be complete overkill in locking down a large chunk of the city. The Secret Service (of course) doesn’t comment on such matters aside to say “they’ve got this.” (Insert shudder here) My takeaways are many city residents will be scared out of town, many potential visitors will cancel their plans to come into town…and individuals who do make the trek to town to catch a glimpse of him (and I use “trek” and “glimpse” most accurately here) likely will shorten their life expectancy.
Chip Kelly is already in Philadelphia. Plans for the way he is handling the 2015 edition of the Eagles (again…”handling” used loosely) have yet to be unveiled. He blames the local media (which he amazingly continues to be amazed at the number of reporters even after a couple of years here) for creating false expectations of player statuses, reminding them his sole responsibility is to only get them ready for the season opener. My takeaways are his lack of consulting with others led him to coach in the wrong NFL city…and now giving him the keys to run this franchise will ultimately shorten a Philadelphia fan’s life expectancy.
The Huffington Post noted at the beginning of the month Philadelphia was in a state of panic over the Pope’s trip here.
But as of yesterday we now have a “Papal Visit Playbook.” So…there’s that. (I guess the football jargon was used to try to placate frustrated Philly football fans)
At least someone is trying to share some information where people will and will not be able to stay, move, locate to, etc. while His Holiness (not Chip, the Pope) is in town. Finally. The news is not pretty and I suspect the Pope’s visit will generate some bad press for us.
That’s OK. We’re used to it.
The 2015 training camp of the Philadelphia Eagles has featured the following:
- Kent Babb of the Washington Post wrote a fascinating piece on Kelly. Among the highlights…Chip was previously married for seven years (news to most everyone)…several years of his life are hard to fully document…and his boss and fellow coaches at Oregon admit they didn’t know much about him even after working year after year in the crucible of big-time college football. Bottom line is he’s the most mysterious figure in the NFL. Even more so than the hooded guy up in New England.
- Chip has been peppered with questions about how he handles players off the field, the overall culture of his team and even a charge or two of racism. A few former employees have been quoted on such subjects as the door hit them on the way out of Philadelphia.
- And speaking of former employees…starting quarterback Nick Foles and franchise running back LeSean McCoy were traded away while top wide receiver Jeremy Maclin walked away over money (and let us not forget the dropping of WR DeSean Jackson while Kelly technically was not running the whole show). Two starting offensive linemen and a top d-liner and starting nickel DB were also allowed to exit. To heighten the logical apprehension about the 2015 Eagles…Kelly has been extremely reluctant to let his top two key newcomers QB Sam Bradford and RB DeMarco Murray even practice. Their status “updates” started out being about “getting stronger” and “low electrolytes” – more of his famous sports science than sports. Now, Chip’s press conferences are chippy at best when it even comes to committing if these guys will play in exhibition games (they didn’t last weekend).
- The local media, not getting anywhere with their questions, has started to report more on the alleged cohesiveness and togetherness the composition of the squad now has rather than the outlook. Young, fast, familiar (I think at last count there were seven or eight former Oregon Ducks on the roster) and collegiate of mind (i.e. willing to be lab rats monitored repeatedly regarding their bodily fluids, where they are at any given time, etc.). The phrase most often used on sports talk radio here is “Chip Bots.” To reduce the apprehension about so many starters and stars being sent away, Chip Kelly speaks more about his system being in place and keeps talking about Opening Day as all that matters. The code of the double speak and non-speak is “trust me.”
I am playing amateur shrink here but I suspect those people Chip Kelly does have in whatever inner circle he possesses did not properly assist in the preparation for him to operate as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles…let alone being in charge of their personnel as well. Good heavens, we all used to take to the Internet to blast Andy Reid for not letting us have a peek behind the curtain of team strategies, performance evaluations, injuries, etc
This is a classic case of if you think it can’t get worse…you are wrong.
Oh sure, teams always have a certain cloak of secrecy they try to maintain. The Chicago Bears just announced rookie wideout Kevin White can’t even play yet and may miss the whole season. They didn’t even let their fans in on the possibility. ESPN.com’s Jon Greenberg buries the team, going on to claim reporters know not to believe 90 percent of what they hear in press conferences. OK…then why have them? Because the ones in Philly are looking more and more ridiculous.
Chip Kelly is also looking more and more uncomfortable. He still tries to let us all know he’s the smartest, most clever guy in the room but there is a tinge of meanness now setting in. Fans in this town want to follow their team. Throw us a few crumbs, Chip. We aren’t getting them and the face of the franchise is a scowl.
And the season hasn’t even started yet.
I suspect Bradford was a Plan B after not being able to move up in the draft and get (Oregon’s) Marcus Mariota. I suspect Murray was a Plan B after not being able to get Frank Gore. Bradford is another acronym injury waiting to happen. Murray…what does he realistically have in the tank for this season while running behind a line not the caliber of the Cowboys? Why so careful with both in a new system for each…and a reworked line?
Again playing shrink here…even being highly competitive and wanting to win…does Chip have to win more so with “his guys” and “his system?” Having gutted the roster as he has…it makes you wonder. It may actually not be enough for Kelly to win football games. He might not be satisfied unless he also looks like some kind of Holy genius in the process.
Say a prayer.
Better yet…get the Pope to come in early.
If he can get through security…