Ron Costello

Friday, November 27, 2015

On the Ocean City beach, when our daughter Jen was four, she would point to the heavens and say, "Look mama, airplane pulling words."

Jen, of course, wasn't at Franklin Field during the 1968 football season when the fans hired an airplane to "pull words." But it wasn't for Coppertone or Best Crabcakes in Wildwood.

Jen was pretty smart so if she was at Franklin Field in '68, she might have said, "Look mama, airplane saying Joe Must Go."

Former Bulletin sports columnist Sandy Grady — whose every  sports column I read sitting on my wagon before I delivered the words — wrote, "Joe Kuharick couldn't sell iced tea to a Tasmanian at a dried up water hole."

Kuharick, who once held the distinction as the only losing coach in Norte Dame history, went 28-29 in five seasons with the Eagles.

Chip Kelly is no Joe Kuharick. Not by a long shot.

But the buzzards are circling.

As the Oregon Ducks head coach, Kelly was 46-7, plus 2-1 in three Rose Bowl appearances. He led the Ducks to the  National Championship game in 2011, losing to Auburn, 22-19.

No doubt about it in four years, Kelly was a highly successful college football coach. The thing is, maybe — for his own good — he should have stayed in the college ranks. In three seasons as the Eagles coach, Kelly went 10-6 each of his first two years — one and done in the 2013 post.

A pretty damn good start, aye?

Now year three, at the 11 game mile marker, he's 4-7, and the 10-0 Patriots up next at Gillette Stadium. With his star quarterback, Sam Bradford, pacing the sidelines — that scary blank stare suggesting he doesn't need another head slam — and a backup who seems fine until his first interception, and the next, and the next.

Mark Sanchez's interception record with the Jets looks like the Dow Jones Report on a good day. He had 11 for the Eagles last season and in two games already has four.

The defense has been riddled worse than the Syrian air defense.

Trading the popular and hard-nosed running back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo and signing free agent running back Demarco Murray, has been, so far, well, Shady. True, one season a trade doesn't make, but Murray hasn't lived up to expectations.

The offensive line has had Bradford and Sanchez running for their lives — like the latest Chainsaw Massacre movie, in 3D — a  huge reason Murry can't find open holes.

If they're not there — the holes — Murray ain't going nowhere no matter how good  he is.

There are more problems. But, certainly, after two back-to-back 10-6 seasons, Kelly's team has gone 'vooooosch,' like the air has left the balloon. The question is, which mess to fix first.

Does the Faithful stay patient, and wait for a good coach to find his pro football legs?

Or maybe Kelly — like Nick Saban, Pete Carroll, Dennis Erickson, Lou Holtz, Frank Kush, and Steve Spurrier — is best suited for the college game.

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