When the name Chip Kelly is mention in Philadelphia, it still causes Eagles fans' blood pressure to rise. With the team heading into its fifth season since Kelly's departure, it is almost universally agreed upon that the Kelly era was a colossal failure. The Eagles having immediate success after his departure also showed that Kelly just wasn't a fit for this team. However, there is one thing that Eagles fans should all agree on that we miss about Kelly -- his sports science program and healthy teams.
Every year, Football Outsiders breaks down each team's injuries and just how significant they were to the team's success or failure in terms of AGL (Adjusted Games Lost). Back when Kelly was the head coach, the Eagles were consistently one of the healthiest teams in the NFL: 2013 - 2nd 2014 - 5th 2015 - 6th
The Eagles kept Kelly’s sports science program around after his departure, but just how much of the program was kept was never really known. At first, everything seemed fine in 2016 in Doug Pederson's first season controlling everything. Carson Wentz started all 16 games in his rookie season and was the first Eagles quarterback to play in all 16 games since Donovan McNabb in 2008. The Birds ended up finishing 4th in AGL in 2016.
In 2017 the team's healthy significantly dropped, but no one really cared because the Eagles defeated the Patriots with their depleted roster to win their first-ever Super Bowl title. The Eagles ranked 13th in AGL that season.
In 2018 the team tried to make another playoff run, but this time their health definitely played a factor in them not winning back-to-back Super Bowls, as they ranked 31st in AGL.
It was a rinse and repeat situation in 2019, as the Eagles had to overcome significant injuries to win the NFC East, but the injuries made sure that they couldn't advance in the playoffs. The finished the season ranked 21st in AGL.
Now we are still two weeks away before the Eagles kick off their 2020 campaign, and the team is already dealing with injuries that will affect their AGL rankings.
They have already lost two of their offensive linemen (Brandon Brooks, Andre Dillard) for the season. Now the team is praying that 38-year-old Jason Peters, 32-year-old Jason Kelce, and 30-year-old Lane Johnson can stay healthy and play every single snap this year to try to make sure Carson Wentz stays healthy.
Not only are they dealing with an aging offensive line, but they are dealing with older receivers as well. Alshon Jeffery could miss the first 6-8 weeks of the season with his lisfranc injury, and DeSean Jackson hasn't played all 16 games in a season in seven years.
At this point, Eagles fans don't have any optimism left of the team remaining healthy the rest of the way. The fans have tried to blame the team doctors these past few seasons, but it is now clear as day that the doctors weren't the problem. The Eagles will need to revamp their approach to sports science and maybe bring back Kelly's program fully if they want to see healthier rosters moving forward.