He was set to revolutionize the NFL, with his unique offense and quirky personnel moves. Instead, he took a team brimming with potential and broke it down to a team with plenty of holes, lots of question marks and no real cohesiveness or long term plan.
Chip Kelly certainly made a wave in the NFL. Many are shocked that Kelly is gone and that Philly wouldn’t give him another chance but I have to say it seemed only too obvious to can the former Oregon man.
Kelly tried running the Philadelphia Eagles as if it was a college organization, instead of a professional team. He wanted total power to build the team up rather than coach the pieces he was given. There was no check on his power and that led to him making some questionable moves. He jettisoned fan favorites and impact players such as Nick Foles, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy. He gambled on DeMarco Murray, Sam Bradford, Ryan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Kiko Alonso and still others. Kelly built the team he wanted, and it failed.
However, the system he introduced worked. His fast paced offense focused on moving quickly, running more plays and keeping the defense off balance showed tons of potential to work in the NFL and even had great success in Kelly’s first two years. I think Kelly still could be a coach in the NFL, just not in Philadelphia.
The ideal team format for Kelly is one that has a strong defense and an offense full of speed and quickness. The Eagles never had a good defense under Kelly, which led to lots of collapses late in games. Kelly also proved that he could coach, but should not be given control of personnel decisions. He implemented a system with guys like Jackson, Maclin and McCoy, all of whom fit the prototypical stature for players in Kelly’s offense, and then though he could do better. His plan backfired.
Rumors have linked Kelly to Tennessee, who is currently in between coaches and has former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota on the roster. Mariota was Kelly’s greatest triumph at Oregon, as he hand-picked him in the recruiting process to run his unique offense. I think Kelly could fit well in Tennessee, as long as both he and the team are patient. The Titans need to make sure the general manager works with Kelly to bring in players, but ultimately that the GM has the final say and not Kelly himself.
I also think Kelly could find himself taking the Texas job next season. A move back to the collegiate level might be good for him as he tries to move on from the debacle he created in the City of Brotherly love. Texas has reportedly been trying to nail down Nick Saban for some time now but landing a high profile coach like Kelly could help turn their program around. It would appeal to Kelly too as he would have all the resources he needs to build the team how he wants along with a healthy contract to boot. That marriage could work out perfectly.
Otherwise, I don’t really see Kelly attracting a whole lot of attention from other pro teams. I think Tennessee might be the only team who would give him a chance.
As for the Eagles, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made about the structure of this team going forward. No matter who takes over the team, I cannot imagine that they will keep Sam Bradford. Bradford was average at best and highly inconsistent throughout the whole season. I for one think that Mark Sanchez would have done a better job of leading this team than Bradford did. The Oklahoma product’s contract is up at the end of this season so letting him walk should be easy for the Eagles.
DeMarco Murray also strikes me as a major question mark. Rumor has it that he wants out but with a new coach likely coming in at the beginning of next season, Murray could be made the cornerstone piece to build around in Philly. He is a talented running back who fits a zone run scheme. He simply was not a system fit with the Eagles under Kelly. He and Ryan Mathews could be a great tandem to build the new Eagles offense on.
There is going to be a major overhaul in Philly during the offseason. The defense has some intriguing pieces in Fletcher Cox, JaCorey Shepard, Mychal Kendricks, Eric Rowe and Jordan Hicks. The offense needs a lot of work. The offensive line needs some new blood and the receiving core is unreliable. Not to mention the quarterback position needs to be solved.
Whoever enters as the next coach will have a lot of work to do as soon as they step through the door. The Eagles are not that far away from competing in the NFC East, as we saw this year but they have some holes at key positions to be addressed.
Firing Kelly was the best thing, for both sides. The Eagles did not respond well to Kelly and the latter desperately needs a fresh start.