They did the impossible.
They made Chip Kelly seem the smart one, the sane one, the safe one.
Before the finishing touches are even placed on this nightmarish, dumpster fire of a coaching/philosophical/structural change by the Eagles, ol’ Chipster, only weeks after being summarily dismissed as the team’s head coach, comes across as a bastion of common sense and stability compared to the Eagles and the man who owns them, Jeffrey Lurie.
Heck, the San Francisco 49ers already deemed Kelly worthy of love by another professional entity with hiring him to run their show Thursday. Meanwhile, the same morning the Birds were being turned down by, what, their third or fourth choice as his replacement?
Apparently, playing with the grandkids has started to look a little more appealing to Tom Coughlin …
Make no mistake, don’t like Chip. Never have. Never will. He’s all hype and rapid-fire bluster if you ask me, and was from the moment he took his act out of the shadows of FCS-level New Hampshire to the lime-green spotlight of FBS power Oregon almost a decade ago.
Following the 2012 season and parting of ways with long-time coach Andy Reid, the Eagles wanted him, craved him, desired him – desperately. So much so they scorned the hottest coaching candidate among the NFL ranks, Gus Bradley, to make a last-gasp pitch to land Kelly.
Which they did.
Less than three years later, a stretch that included a 26-21 regular-season record and one playoff appearance, they parted ways with him.
Impetuous? Yes. Emotionally driven? Yes. Stupid? Uhhh … you be the judge.
With the Eagles emerging as the laughingstock of the NFL with a coaching search that has yielded nada despite Lurie’s self-proclaimed jump start on the competition by canning Kelly with a game to play, the latter has safely landed in a better situation on the West Coast than the one he had here.
Don’t believe it? Well, aside from the obvious upgrade in year-round climate, Kelly now fronts a franchise with a much newer facility, a front office now willing to work hand-in-hand with the head coach, and, not for nothing, two – that’s 2 – quarterbacks with better potential than Sam Bradford.
Sorry, pretzel-logic all you want with him being a former No. 1 pick in the draft and that all he needs is time to get the system and another year removed from surgery, but the Eagles’ incumbent starter at QB has neither the arm nor the wheels of either Colin Kaepernick or Blaine Gabbert. Just doesn’t.
Here’s the rub, if not the irony: The moment Kelly was fired in Philly, he became the best candidate on this year’s NFL coaching carousel. Not just for anyone else, but the Eagles, too. Regardless of my disappointment with him being hired in 2013 and disdain for his coaching acumen ever since, Kelly had better street cred and legit cred than anyone else out there.
Do we even need to bring up Doug Pederson or Pat Shurmur?
Yo, just as long as they don’t screw up the club’s next Christmas party, the Birds should go back to being one, big, happy family under Lurie. Perhaps they can get together next offseason to watch Chip in the playoffs.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
They’re filling up fast now, but when the 2015 NFL regular season was finished, several head-coaching jobs either were or became available. The following list contains those that were/are better than what Jeffrey Lurie and Co. have to offer in Philly:
NEW YORK GIANTS
Really, was anyone not aware of this? The job is in the top media market in the country, if not the world, and it provides any multitude of off-field opportunities, a strong organizational structure, a newer front-line facility, and a chance to work with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Eli Manning. No longer vacant.
Weather alone would make this more appealing to many candidates, as would the chance to have more say over player-personnel decisions than here. For all his detractors, Ryan Tannehill provides more hope and much more athleticism at QB than Sam Bradford does. No longer vacant.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Weather again, plus the ownership group likely learned a lesson with how it pushed Jim Harbaugh out the door, and the team has talent, not the least of which are skilled options at QB in Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert, either of whom could flourish in a read-option attack. No longer vacant.
Only the Giants’ and Dolphins’ openings offered more cap space, and the Titans are not bare in the talent cupboard, particularly at QB, where Marcus Mariota seems to be the real deal – if he can stay healthy. They also have the top pick in April’s draft. Still vacant.
TAMPA BAY BUCS
Again, climate, not to mention talent level on offense all across the board. The receiving corps is superior and the QB, likely 2015 Rookie of the Year Jameis Winston, is a far more attractive option than Bradford or anyone else the Eagles have. Still vacant.