Philadelphia Eagles: What’s Ailing Jason Kelce?


After an underwhelming 3-3 start to the season, there have been plenty of disappointing players for the Philadelphia Eagles, but perhaps only one which truly surprises.

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There was plenty of hype (and salary money) coming into the year for new acquisitions such as Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray and Byron Maxwell. However, although each has generally been a letdown so far, it’s not necessarily a shocking discovery.

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Bradford – even when healthy – has done very little on the field during his seven years in the league to suggest he’s anything more than a bust of a No. 1 overall pick.

Murray certainly did plenty on the field last season with Dallas. But it was within an offensive system that was essentially built to his strengths: with a QB behind the center, allowing a quick-developing north-south approach; a one-cut-and-go type deal.

Maxwell was also a product of a favorable system, where his weaknesses – such as the inability to keep up with speedier receivers – was masked by a dominating supporting cast and far less playing time than he’s gotten now.

It’s hard to find a similar alibi for Jason Kelce, one who at least indirectly affects the opportunities for the aforementioned Bradford and Murray.

The Pro Bowl center is now in his fifth year on the Eagles, most of that time as not only one of the most consistent and reliable offensive linemen on the team, but in the league. By all accounts, he is playing injury-free, and although there were changes made on either side of him, the system has basically remained the same.

Most concerning is that the vast majority of his regression can be chalked up to mental mistakes, be it a mistimed snap or one which flies over the quarterback’s head – both of which occurred once more against the Giants.

To Kelce’s credit, he has held himself accountable, but still hasn’t been able to right the ship.

“All of my mistakes have been my own doing,” he said in an interview with Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer after the Eagles’ loss to the Cowboys last month, “…but they’re all mental mistakes.”

Mental mistakes happen. But when they happen consistently for nearly half a season, especially by someone who by all accounts is a very intelligent and cerebral individual, it becomes elevated from beyond just mere brain farts.

Two games later, after another deflating loss – this time to the Redskins – Kelce again showed contrition, but this time lumped the entire offensive line into the mea culpa. “Right now we’ve got to pass block better, we’ve got to run block better, we’ve got to communicate better,” he told Andy Schwartz at  “There’s just way too many mistakes, way too many errors, especially at this point in the season, and we’re costing our team wins right now.”

Since then, the team has not lost. The rest of the line has looked better. But Kelce has not.

Effort is clearly not the issue – he passes the eye test there and often wears his heart on his sleeve on the field. No injuries have been disclosed or look apparent. And if it’s simply mental, one would assume the explanation – and remedy – could be equally as simple.

However, to date, one has not been provided and the mystery remains.

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