Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Bell: Chip Kelly's downfall about more than coaching



That goes for Chip Kelly and Philadelphia Eaglesowner Jeffrey Lurie.

Three years ago about this time of year, Kelly was such a hot thing on the coaching circuit – you’d think he was Paul Brown and Jimmy Johnson rolled into one – that Lurie went after him twice to get him to leave the University of Oregonand revolutionize the NFL with his fast and furious offense.

Now Kelly’s package, at least in the City of Brotherly Love, is nothing more than a hot mess.

Meanwhile, Lurie’s former coach, Andy Reid, has a nine-game winning streak that has the Kansas City Chiefs headed for the playoffs.

Kelly won 10 games in each of his first two seasons, but his 26-21 regular-season mark includes zero playoff victories and the 6-9 debacle this season that has Philly up in arms.

But Tuesday’s ouster was undoubtedly more about how Kelly failed to deliver after Lurie shook up his front office structure and granted Kelly the power and authority to imitate Bill Parcells shopping for groceries.

Man, did that backfire.

Kelly spent what on DeMarco Murray? For this system?

Murray, lured with a five-year, $40 million free agent deal, is the ultimate poster child for what went awry for Kelly. The NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year last season after winning the league rushing title for the Dallas Cowboys with 1,845 yards, Murray has rushed for 633 yards in Kelly’s offense – averaging 3.5 yards per carry.

He traded LeSean McCoy for a former Oregon linebacker coming off a torn ACL, while Murray tanked. He didn’t bid high enough to prevent Jeremy Maclin leave as a free agent, a year after dumping DeSean Jackson. And now those two wideouts will be playing in January.

Kelly might have longed to have the clout to call all of the shots, but it’s clear now that he was not ready for that. Lurie evidently saw enough of this downward spiral, pulling the trigger just three days after Washington – projected for a last-place finish – won the NFC East crown at The Linc.

Generally, coaches get about three years to make their programs work in the NFL. Kelly got nothing more than that, having spent the collateral built during his first two years for more juice. He doubled down and lost. It’s striking that Kelly’s hand-picked personnel man, Ed Marynowitz, was shown the door, too, with Kelly. That symbolizes why Lurie made the move now, rather than to give Kelly another year to try to fix it.

Kelly seemed to be well-respected by his peers, most of whom had dealt with him to some degree while he excelled on the college level.

But the same could not be said of how one departed Eagle after another felt about Kelly. It’s one thing to have a no-nonsense program with certain standards. Yet some of the shots at Kelly from some of his disgruntled exes seemed so personal, like he couldn’t connect.

Sure, Bill Belichick runs a tight ship. But it’s not very often – and Belichick even brought Brandon Spikes back – that players leave the Patriots taking the type of shots that Kelly absorbed.

Coaching wins in the NFL, but talent provides the lifeblood for winning.

Kelly got rid of too much talent, and his coaching couldn’t make up the difference.

He might have been the smartest person in the room, but clearly Kelly is no genius when it comes to picking and paying the talent, then making it all work.

Now it’s back to the drawing board – for Kelly and the Eagles, now wishing that it didn’t come to this.

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