PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Meaningless or not, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said he’s playing Sunday’s game against the New York Giants to win.
Kelly and the Eagles were eliminated from playoff consideration when they lost to the Washington Redskins on Saturday and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday to clinch the NFC East.
The Eagles, 7-2 at one point, and 9-3 just three weeks ago, have lost three games in a row. The Cowboys are 11-4.
Kelly said he doesn’t plan to play backups or others who didn’t get much time during the year, including backup quarterback Matt Barkley instead of Mark Sanchez.
“Yeah, we’re not benching Mark,” Kelly said. “No. He went, what, 37 of 50? Let’s get that straight. We’re going (there) to win the football game. There’s no ‘hey, let’s go see what we can do.’ Our job is to go up and play the New York Giants and we’re going to do everything we can to beat the New York Giants.”
Kelly says players earn playing time. Those who play the best in practice get to play on Sundays. It doesn’t matter if the division title is on the line, or if it’s a game where the outcome has no playoff implications.
In Kelly’s world, there is no looking ahead to next year, not while there is still a game to be played.
“If they warranted playing time, and we’ve been with these guys since preseason camp, then they’ll play,” the second-year coach said. “But we are not going to turn around now and say because you haven’t beaten anybody out in the last 15 weeks, we’re going to let you play this week.”
The Eagles beat the Giants, 27-0, early in the season. A lot has changed since that game. The Eagles went from 9-3 to 9-6 and the Giants have gone from 3-9 to 6-9.
Kelly would like to see the losing streak end and get a 10th win, even if it doesn’t come with a playoff berth, and at the expense of seeing some younger players.
“The upside is we’re going to win a football game and that’s what this whole organization is all about,” Kelly said. “It’s not about trying to see what the future is. It’s about we got a game. I would not be fair in any of my beliefs and I would not be fair to any football player right now if I said to some guy ‘Hey, I know you’re a better player, but I’m going to play a younger guy now.’”
NOTES: Kelly said quarterback Nick Foles (broken collarbone) will not be cleared to play this week. Foles has been out since week nine when he suffered the jury in Houston. … The coach said by the time he turned on the Dallas game, Sunday, it was over. “I was here and then flipped to it and was 28-0. There wasn’t really much left for the second half.” … Kelly defended much-maligned cornerback Bradley Fletcher, saying “I thought Bradley had a good year.” Fletcher, after allowing three touchdown passes to Dallas’ Dez Bryant two weeks ago, allowed two 50-yard passes to Washington’s DeSean Jackson on Saturday.
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