Ever since the firing of Chip Kelly, heck, ever since some rough goings on to start the 2015 season, such words as “hiring Chip Kelly … mmm, that was a big mistake by the Eagles” have grown from quiet, almost excuse-me suggestions to confident, authoritative statements to beat-the-chest proclamations.
Oh, without question, the team was incredibly dumb to employ such a boob of a human being, they demand.
His offense wasn’t so hot, either, they debate.
Ummm, not for nothing, but give the clear thinkers among us a break, especially those who weren’t slobbering at the idea of bringing him to town in the first place and then genuflecting at his altar the first two years of his reign here.
Seriously, the loudest and biggest bitchers about the guy, not to mention those leading the cheers over his departure, are the ones who clamored the most for him to be head coach of Philly’s NFL franchise. Fans, media, players, former players, other assorted “experts,” they weren’t shy about their affinity for Kelly’s reputed “genius” … even though very few actually took the time to investigate the legitimacy of it.
Falling for that BS, from all the aforementioned to those in the Eagles’ front office who suffered the same man-crushing trait, yeah, it’s true, that was a mistake.
But, hiring him, hiring the guy they desperately wanted, the guy they had deemed the “best candidate by far” at the time, how can you fault the Birds for that?
Diving in some slimy, murky waters to get the deal done notwithstanding, the conviction it took to go after Kelly, who was every team’s top choice, not just the Eagles’ at that point, and eventually get him was a coup. There was no mistake about it.
His eventual fade to black from the city’s favor, inevitable or not, is immaterial.
The Eagles’ braintrust made a call on whom it wanted, and made the move. No hiccup. No hesitation. Not on their end at least.
No mistake. Period.
Frankly, we don’t even know if things ultimately wouldn’t have worked out with Kelly at the Eagles’ helm. Going 26-22 before getting canned prior to this season’s finale hardly qualifies as abject failure. Oh, that 7-12 run after his 19-9 start was not a good sign, but that doesn’t even seem to rank among the main reasons as to why he was let go, with owner Jeffrey Lurie more PO’d that Kelly putting football ahead of the Christmas party.
Uh, really? Think it would be a mistake for a coach, any coach, to do otherwise.
Really, if anything, it may prove to be a mistake that the club gave up on him so quickly.
Personally, glad he’s gone because never had a smidge of like for him or his coaching. Not here, and not really at Oregon, either, where the hype surrounding Kelly submerged the reality of what an incredible, no-lose situation he had been placed in there.
But no way will the Eagles be getting a “mistake” label from me for hiring him. They wanted him. They got him. That’s not a mistake.
Of course, neither is the price they may pay for doing so now. It’s just reality.
Like Sean McDermott. Like his background. Like his story. Like the fact he was a good interview for a sports writer. Like the reality that he was a quality player at a quality FCS football program who followed his dream to become a coach in the NFL, put in the time and made it happen.
That he has a strong connection to the Philly area, being born and raised there, gone to high school there, even coached with the pro team there, does nothing to hinder the appreciation, either.
But, really, truly, not really convinced he is the best candidate to be the Eagles’ next head coach.
So, not exactly upset with the Jeffrey Lurie-Howie Roseman-Tom Donahoe search committee for, up to now, omitting the former La Salle High standout from their seemingly come-one, come-all candidate pool.
If McDermott was a slam dunk here, it would be so easy. Everyone would be on board. Even the Eagles.
The kid is likable and local, well-spoken and experienced. He struggled when placed in a difficult situation here when legendary defensive coordinator Jim Johnson passed, but, safe to say, he has rebounded incredibly so as DC in Carolina, where his units not only consistently rank among the NFL’s best, but they entertain and sometimes dominate in a way that rivals, or even surpasses, Seattle’s defense in its recent heyday.
Thing is, he carries a stigma with working under Ron Rivera. Formerly a DC himself, and considered one of the very best, Rivera casts a large shadow over his protégé. Warranted or not, it is there and it does have people, including McDermott supporters such as myself, wondering just how much of the Panthers’ defense on that side of the ball is due to their current DC or their head coach.
Oddly cerebral as a coach considering his violent nature was so enamored by the likes of former William & Mary secondary mate Darren Sharper that the future six-time All-Pro and current prisoner of the Louisiana jail system tabbed him as “Mac Daddy,” McDermott isn’t the kind of a feisty, fiery and, frankly, egotistical leader that plays in this town.
So, yeah, he’d be my favorite choice here, but it makes sense if he isn’t for those making the call on who is the choice here.