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A Late Christmas Present for Eagles Fans: Chip Kelly Fired
I just got an email from Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie informing me that he has fired head coach / GM Chip Kelly.
No, Jeffrey and I aren't buddies. Actually, I am one of his biggest critics. It appears that the team sent out an email to all season ticket holders announcing this late Christmas present to their fans.
I have made a decision to release Chip Kelly this evening. I spent the last three seasons evaluating the many factors involved in our performance as a team. As I watched this season unfold, I determined that it was time to make a change.
As we move forward, the search for a new head coach will begin and will be led by myself, Don Smolenski and Howie Roseman. To the extent that we are able, we will try to keep you informed as we go through this process.
Pat Shurmur will be our interim coach for the Giants game Sunday.
We have also released Ed Marynowitz, Vice President of Player Personnel. Tom Donahoe, who has been our senior football advisor since 2012, will assume the role of senior director of player personnel.
I am determined and excited to select a new coach to help us obtain our ultimate goal.
Thank you for your consistent and enthusiastic support. It is always appreciated.
Chairman and CEO
Honestly, I can't believe Lurie did this. Lurie waited at least two years two long to fire Andy Reid, who coached the Eagles for 14 years, so I assumed that he would keep Kelly around for at least another year. Lurie will hold a press conference on Wednesday, but knowing what we know about Lurie and how he handles things, we will probably never know the real reason why he fired Kelly with one game still remaining in this season of bitter disappointment.
It's not as if Kelly didn't deserve to be fired. He did. I just didn't think my prayers would be answered. At least not this quickly.
Kelly's fate was sealed when he won a power struggle this past offseason with former GM Howie Roseman, who ironically is still with the team and Lurie indicated will have a hand in picking the new head coach. I seriously doubt that Roseman will be given his old GM job back, but somebody has to be hired for that job as well, since Ed Marynowitz was also fired.
Chip Kelly the coach had many issues with his gimmicky college offense that NFL defensive coordinators figured out after just one season. The novelty of just going fast wasn't working anymore and defenders talked about knowing exactly what plays the Eagles were running because Kelly's offense was so basic and predictable. But it was probably Chip Kelly the GM that ultimately sealed Kelly's fate in Philadelphia.
Kelly got rid of any players who didn't completely buy into his rah-rah college atmosphere and it bit him in the butt. He preached his culture and his philosophy over everything else, forgetting that talent wins in the NFL. It started when he released WR DeSean Jackson before last season. Kelly wasn't happy with the talent that Reid left him, even though those players got him to the playoffs in his first year and 20 wins over his first two seasons. That's when he decided to completely blow up the roster and bring in his own players when he got total control of personnel.
his past offseason he traded the all-time leading rusher in franchise history, LeSean McCoy for his old college LB, Kiko Alonso. I feel confident saying that this was the most lopsided player-for-player trade in the history of the NFL. Kelly also released both of his starting guards. RG Todd Herremans wasn't performing very well any longer, but LG Evan Mathis was a legitimate Pro Bowler last season. Mathis just had the audacity to question King Kelly and ask for more money. That might not have been so bad if there was anybody on the roster to fill in at the guard spots. What the Eagles had left at guard was garbage and it helped kill the entire offense. Kelly also decided that a QB who compiled the 3rd best QB rating in NFL history when he threw 27 TDs and only 2 INTs in that first playoff year, wasn't good enough. Kelly traded Nick Foles and a 2nd round pick to the St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford. Kelly once again gambled on an injured player coming back under his mythical sports science regime. But the draft pick is the thing that really sets the franchise back here because Bradford is sure to leave as a free agent after this season. I would also like to reiterate my original position that Kelly only traded for Bradford because he thought he could flip him in a trade with Marcus Mariota in the draft. A by-product of trading for Bradford was that the Eagles didn't have the money to re-sign Jeremy Maclin, because Bradford made over $10 million more than Foles. The WR corps was the worst in the NFL this season without Jackson or Maclin. And if that wasn't bad enough, Kelly also traded slot CB Brandon Boykin for a late round draft pick, without a reliable backup plan.
Do you think Lurie was right to fire Chip Kelly?
Snoop Dog Hates Chip Kelly (WARNING: Explicit Language)
Unfortunately, Kelly the GM wasn't even close to done yet. He decided to spend huge money in free agency. Nobody can fault him for signing the best CB available in the free agent market after how bad the Eagles defense was last season. But there was no reason to give Byron Maxwell as much money as they did. Kelly just proved that he didn't have a feel for how free agency works in the NFL. Roseman did, but Kelly made sure Roseman had nothing to do but work on contracts and count jock straps. Maxwell has been a major disappointment, but maybe he'll improve in a new defense when defensive coordinator Bill Davis is fried as well.
Kelly had to replace McCoy, so he made deals with free agents Frank Gore and Ryan Mathews. Mathews signed, but Gore had second thoughts after hearing about how Kelly runs practices from other players around the NFL. Gore decided he didn't want to go back to "college" and signed with Indianapolis instead. That led Kelly to panic and grossly overpay for DeMarco Murray. This isn't a second guess on my part, as I criticized the move when it happened. Murray logged far too many carries last season and the history of overworked RBs repeated itself, as Murray looks like a shot fighter at this point and he's still got $13 million guaranteed left on his contract. Kelly tried to say Murray was a better fit for his offense, but that just wasn't true. Everyone saw that when the games started. Kelly just panicked and didn't do enough research on Murray and his style before throwing way more money at him than any other team in the league would have even considered giving him.
It's hard to say how good Kelly is at the draft since he and Howie Roseman basically blamed each other for that horrific Marcus Smith pick. We will never really know who Kelly picked and who Roseman picked the first two years and it's a bit too soon to judge the most recent draft where Kelly had total control.
The other reason Kelly deserved to be fired is that he was an arrogant jerk. Hey, Bill Belichick gets to be an arrogant jerk because he's got four Super Bowl rings. His act didn't fly in Cleveland, but everybody seems OK with it in New England with all those trophies around the team complex. (Yes, Tom Brady certainly helped with that whole "genius coach" thing). Conversely, Kelly was going in reverse, so talking down to everyone and refusing to change anything that didn't work wasn't exactly an endearing quality. Heck, maybe Lurie realized that the face of his franchise was a negative in the minds of the fans.
I don't think Jeffrey Lurie knows the first thing about football, but he certainly seems to know a little about how to market his team. And he certainly knew that the majority of the fans and media had grown tired of Kelly's act rather quickly. If you're going to be a jerk, you better be a winning jerk. Kelly missed that last part.
I would also like to point out that I never liked Kelly from the moment he was hired. I questioned whether his offense would work in the NFL, but was willing to give him a chance. There is a reason nobody else in the NFL runs things the way that Kelly did. That's because Kelly's methods don't work in the NFL. The only surprising thing about the failed Kelly experiment is that Lurie realized that it was a failure so quickly. (See Reid's 14-year tenure)
What comes next for the future of the Philadelphia Eagles is for another article. For now I will just rejoice in the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles have finally done something right.
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause. His name is Jeffrey Lurie and he gave the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles a late Christmas present. He fired a terrible football coach and a worse GM. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.