For two-plus seasons in Philadelphia, football fans have been subjected to a rash of puff pieces about the dynamic program taking shape under coach Chip Kelly.
Philly's latest setback raises plenty of questions about Kelly's progress as a program-builder, with at least one Eagles player wondering if everyone is giving their all.
Speaking anonymously to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the unnamed player pointed to last Sunday's loss at home to the Dolphins. Holding a 16-3 lead over Miami and driving for another potential touchdown, running back DeMarco Murray took the handoff on third-and-1 and appeared to be headed for a first down. Instead, Murray eyed 185-pound cornerback Brice McCain closing in and decided to slide. Short of the sticks.
"Well, when you see DeMarco sliding before getting hit, you tell me. Was that giving full effort?" said the anonymous Eagle. "You see that (stuff), and it makes you wonder."
"We got that cleared up real quick," Sanchez said, with Sproles telling reporters: "We're OK."
Asked Sunday if everyone on the roster was giving their all, wideout Josh Huff said: "I believe so, but, hey, I don't know. 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."
Peters came out strong in favor of Kelly, saying "of course" players are still all-in: "He's the head coach. 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."
Kelly himself acknowledged that his players on Sunday "may have lost focus, but I wouldn't use the word 'quit.'"
Getting crushed by a young Tampa team was more than just the players, though, with coaches delivering a milquetoast defensive game plan that left the Eagles vulnerable.
["It was technique issues, it was fit issues,](/share/page/site/nfl-com/Read more at http:/www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/20151123Eaglessufferplunderfulloss.html#7zPFlXmvJZtmQDOG.99) I could have put us in better calls," said coordinator Billy Davis, per Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News, while safety Malcolm Jenkins called out everyone for being flagged for too many men on the field on a key third down.
"You just have no clue as to what you're doing (if you have 12 players on the field)," Jenkins said. "It looks bad on the coaching staff and it looks bad on the players as individuals, especially at that time, because you're holding onto every ounce of enthusiasm and momentum that you have, and you just give it back by having a really elementary brain (cramp). It's tough."
A game out of first place in the NFC East, the Eagles are far from finished. Still, this wasn't the vision sold to us. Far from an NFL revolution, Kelly's current roster is characterized by skittish quarterback play, a withering ground game and a dearth of big plays. Have we mentioned the defense?
For all the ink spilled over Kelly's unique approach, this Philly club lacks anything resembling an identity in 2015. What Eagles fans have been left with is not just bad football, but boring football.