The Chip Kelly era: over before it really started

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Chip Kelly’s time in Philadelphia is no more, and it seems it may have been cut short before anyone can really know if his plan would have worked.

As many have heard by now, the Philadelphia Eagles fired their head coach Chip Kelly Tuesday night, with one game left in the season. The Eagles missed the playoffs for a second straight year, after losing to the Washington Redskins this past Saturday in what turned out to be Kelly’s final game.

The Eagles made the announcement via Twitter:

Let’s get one thing clear: Philadelphia management fired Chip Kelly. I was confused at what the word “released” meant. Were the Eagles holding Kelly hostage? Where did they release him? Into the wild? The firing was more surprising to some than others, and the way the organization went about the firing was unique all in itself. That tweet above is time stamped 7:12 p.m. last night. It turns out the team was able to keep things pretty quiet up until they official announced it, making it even more shocking.

Not bad for a team in a major market that was having a terrible season filled with rumors swirling since week one. The timing of the “release” is one thing Eagles’ fan can take away as a positive.

The organization pulled the plug on the Chip Kelly era prior to their meaningless week 17 game against the Giants. This gives management and owner Jeffrey Lurie a head start on the other 5-10 teams that will fire their head coach no the Monday following the final game of the regular season (also known as Black Monday).

Lurie has said the search for a new head coach has already started, which again is a good thing, even though the team will probably wait to make a move until the offseason. I swear, if the Eagles fired Chip Kelly and end up hiring Chuck Pagano, I am not sure what I will do.

Sorry about that. Philadelphia’s football team, and the players still under contract, now find themselves in a world of unknowns. None of the players are safe, as is the case whenever a new boss is hired for any job.

The team is going to look very different next year, no matter who the next head coach is. There is a strong chance the new coach will be chosen based on their ability to use the recently acquired DeMarco Murray more effectively than Kelly did.

Defense turned into a real problem this season, despite the large amount of talent in the front seven. The lack of depth in secondary proved to be one of the team’s downfalls, despite rookie Eric Rowe looking like a potential quality corner down the road.

There are major question marks at quarterback, as there have been for the past three seasons even since Kelly took over. Nick Foles didn’t appear to be the longterm answer, but letting Kelly trade him and a future second round pick to St. Louis is now a move that may be a thorn in the team’s side for years to come.

It’s roster moves like that that bring to my biggest question about this entire situation: Why now? I get it, Eagles’ fans are impatient, as is the organization. People running a football team should want to succeed and see growth in the right direction. I agree that’s a good quality to have.

But this is the same organization that gave Kelly full control of all football-related decisions just this past January. That shakeup within the organization was a huge deal, making is seem like the higher-ups were all in on Kelly for the long haul.

Firing (or “releasing”) Kelly less than a calendar year after giving him that control makes absolutely no sense. It shows weakness within the organization, and only further prolongs the rebuild of a team desperate to win now.

Kelly had two years, $12.4 million left on his contract, making the firing even more shocking. Where Kelly goes from here is now the story everyone is following. Fox Sports Jay Glazer spoke with Kelly shortly after being fired and tweeted some of the key takeaways from their conversation.

Glazer also said Kelly said he wants to stay in NFL, making a reunion with Tennessee and former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota very possible. It makes too much sense for everyone involved: Tennessee gets to look like they hit on the drafting of Mariota, and the team is currently at rock bottom, leaving only one direction they can go.

Kelly gets to come in and run his offense with a guy made for it in Mariota, while also being looked at a savior. Again, their is only one direction for this team to go, and that is up. If what Glazer said is true, Kelly being the head coach without having final say in personnel may just be the right fit.

I do believe Kelly is a good coach, and I do believe his system and way of coaching can and will work in the NFL. The man won 20 games in his first two season in Philadelphia BEFORE he got control of player decisions. The man can coach, I do not think that is in question.

The Indianapolis Colts may also be looking for a head coach this offseason, and they too have a quarterback that would fit into what Kelly likes to do. Andrew Luck is a smart decision maker, who, when getting rid of the ball quickly, can be very effective.

It would be just like the Eagles to fire a head coach prematurely, only to see him have big-time success with another NFL team. The Eagles now find themselves in a big mess, and probably at the bottom of the NFC Least. The Cowboys are still that accident waiting to happen that none of us can seem to look away from, and the Giants are one game away from more than likely also being in the hunt for a new head coach. It is a sad day when the Redskins appear to be the most stable franchise in the division.

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