The Philadelphia Eagles search for their next head coach ended Wednesday when they hired former Oregon Ducks coach, Chip Kelly. After originally turning down the offer on January 6th, and the majority of the media and fans believing that he was returning to college, Kelly took the time to think it over and accepted the job. While fans are excited because he was the sexy name out there and most are intrigued by his offense he ran at Oregon, this is really a risky move by Eagles owner Jeff Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman. If Kelly flops, they are setting the franchise back 3-4 years and the fans will kill them.
When the Eagles coaching search first began, I compiled a short list of coaches I would be interested in and Chip Kelly wasn’t one of them. I was leaning more towards current NFL coordinators, and if there was a college football coach I was interested in, it would be Nick Saban, who runs a pro style offense and defense at Alabama. When Kelly’s name came up as their prime target, I was all against it, but after doing some film study and deep research on Chip Kelly, along with his offenses and at Oregon and I kind of started to warm up to the idea.
Majority of people who haven’t watched Oregon play, have this notion that all they ran was read option, when in fact their passing game has plenty of pro concepts. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his staff spent two summers with Kelly studying his fast paced no huddle offense and his spread style passing game. Tom Brady isn’t a running QB obviously, and he’s been pretty successful using parts of Kelly’s offense that they’ve implemented into what they do. The Patriots have also utilized the fast paced no huddle offense and they led the league with running over 74 plays offensively per game.
During his press conference, I really was impressed with what Chip Kelly had to say concerning the current personnel the Eagles have. ”I’m going to look at everyone, and look at everything we can do to put the best product on the field,” Kelly said. “There’s nobody ruled in and there’s nobody ruled out at this point in time.” “It’s all based on what our personnel is. I’m not married to try to take a quarterback who can’t run and make him run, and a quarterback who can’t throw and make him throw. It’s putting your players in the best position you can to be successful and how you can score points.
The great football coaches have the ability to take what they have personnel wise, and adjust their scheme and produce great results. During the Andy Reid era, we often became frustrated with Reid’s unwillingness to play to his team’s strength’s offensively.
Defensively Oregon ran an attacking 3-4 base under Kelly and I would be excited to see that scheme put in place here in Philadelphia. The Eagles had arguably the worst defense in all of the NFL, and hiring the right defensive coaches, along with some personnel changes, is key to fixing this mess. College defensive coordinators Todd Grantham of Georgia and Kirby Smart of Alabama, have already been linked to possibly joining Kelly’s staff to run the defense.
If the Eagles are planning on making the switch to a 3-4 defense, with the 4th pick DT/NT Star Lotulelei could be in play, OLB Jarvis Jones from Georgia(who thrived in the 3-4 in college), and it would be hard to pass up on CB Dee Milliner from Alabama. Kelly said his defense will be play aggressive and fast and I’m looking forward to seeing who he hires to run it.
Finally, if you watched Chip Kelly’s special teams at Oregon, he put his best playmakers out there, so I expect to see DeSean Jackson back on the punt return unit. Jackson was one of the league’s best and dangerous return guys and he made the Pro Bowl at that spot. I also expect Kelly to draw up some plays to get the ball in Jackson’s hands, similar to how DeAnthony Thomas was used at Oregon.
The hiring of Chip Kelly has definitely revived the city and has it buzzing something vicious and the fans, along with myself are looking forward to seeing how it plays out.