Chip Kelly has been relieved of his duties before the final week of the season with a 6-9 record. Kelly was supposed to be the next offensive genius to take the NFL by storm. He is one of two coaches in NFL history to win the division in his first season as a head coach. Unfortunately for him, a pair of 10-6 seasons without a playoff victory in his back pocket, earned him more control over player personnel and that didn’t pan out. However, the front office deserves blame for giving the power to him for one offseason and pulling the plug without a second go-around.
I’m not here to back up Kelly for mediocre results. To be honest, he only had one offseason to assemble a roster. The front office was apparently on board with taking a chance on a rusty Sam Bradford. I actually believe that Bradford earned a starting opportunity next season, whether it’s for the Philadelphia Eagles or some other team, but that’s a different story. Sure, some players that Kelly released or traded had some harsh things to say. On one hand, those blockbuster type of decisions had to be cleared by the front office team, and on the other, those players were in Philly for years and were disgruntled with a new sheriff in town.
Look, CEO Jeff Lurie was more than patient with Andy Reid long after his run of success. Lurie thought about the future and simply believed the environment to be toxic. Those allegations about Kelly being unapproachable, well, no one wants their supervisor or manager at work to carry out that type of environment so I agree with the change of scenery there. Kelly led the Eagles to a better record in his first three seasons than the great Chuck Knoll did once upon a time, as well as Bill Belichick in the early going. The front office absolutely needs to be held accountable for giving Kelly that much power without allowing him some time to implement his vision.
The whole DeMarco Murray situation is a different story to touch upon in the offseason, but for now, there were reports about his bad attitude with the Dallas Cowboys and that trickled its way into the Philly locker room. Murray was reportedly a great teammate when he was the feature back, but not so much as just another player on the roster. So, with his early season struggles and getting outplayed by backups, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Murray wasn’t the greatest teammate again. Plus, despite being the leading rusher in 2014, he felt entitled after his stint in Dallas where they promote an atmosphere of celebrity and the players always get to converse with the owner. That’s exactly what Murray did on the plane with Lurie, regardless of how the conversation was initiated.
Kelly will surely land on his feet to coach next season in either the pros or at the college level. I don’t believe that he would return to the collegiate level so soon. I see him better suited at the pro level with a young team and a complete rebuild, hence the convenient Tennessee Titans with quarterback Marcus Mariota. Everyone will be talking about the opportunity and understandably so. How about the Colts job with Andrew Luck, or the Saints job with Drew Brees, or Matthew Stafford in Detroit, if those were to become available? Not to say that Kelly deserves the benefit of the doubt, although he does have a 26-21 record.
Maybe Kelly gets a call to become the new coach for a Los Angeles team, perhaps with Philip Rivers, to return to the west coast. Maybe Josh McDaniels gets another shot to become a head coach again, and that could bring the friendship of Belichick and Kelly together, possibly making him the Patriots‘ offensive coordinator. The opportunities will make themselves known as early as Black Monday, the day after week 17 is in the books.