Chip Kelly Won the Mutiny on the Eagles "Bounty"
I guess I was wrong when I said Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was going to head back to college in 2016.
Apparently, Kelly almost headed back to college immediately after Roseman fired Kelly's closest confidant in the front office, Tom Gamble on New Year's Eve. Kelly was so ticked off about owner Jeffrey Lurie siding with GM Howie Roseman in a front office power struggle, that Kelly marched right into Lurie's office and threatened to quit if he didn't get full control. You will never hear that from anybody in the Eagles organization, but it is obvious. Why else would they fire Gamble and two days later, turn around and give Kelly complete control of football operations? Chip staged a mutiny and Lurie was forced to hand over control of the ship to his head coach.
There were rumors that Roseman and Kelly weren't getting along all season, which is amazing since Roseman was the one who lured Kelly out of the college ranks two years ago. The two men apparently were fighting over final say over the roster since the beginning. During the news conference to announce his hiring, Kelly stated that he just wanted to coach football and Roseman could take care of all the other stuff. "I'm a football coach. I'm not a GM," Kelly said that day. Then Kelly started to assert his will by demanding which players would be on the roster. Sure it made sense for Roseman to get players that fit into Kelly's style of play on offense and the new 3-4 defense, but that's not all it was. The DeSean Jackson move was all Kelly. The most recent draft also had Kelly's fingerprints all over it. As a matter of fact, I heard NFL Hall of Famer Ray Didinger say that the relationship between Kelly and Roseman came to a head during the most recent draft.
Roseman and his scouts were in charge of scouting college players and setting up the draft board that the team would follow during the draft. Roseman got that type of power after he won power struggles with former GM Joe Banner and former head coach Andy Reid. Lurie gave Roseman all the credit for the 2012 draft that produced Pro Bowlers like Nick Foles, Mychal Kendricks and Fletcher Cox, along with Brandon Boykin and Vinny Curry. But he also absolved Roseman of any blame for horrible picks, such as Danny Watkins and Jaiquawn Jarrett, which is ridiculous since Roseman was the GM at the time. Anyway, once Kelly and his coaching staff saw the board before the draft, they immediately began adjusting it based on what they had just seen at the Combine and all-star games, such as the Senior Bowl. That did not sit well with Roseman.
It also shouldn't sit well with Eagles fans, since the team's 2014 draft was an unmitigated disaster. Marcus Smith is the biggest bust of the entire 2014 draft. The pick was a reach when Kelly made it and it only looks worse after a season when Smith hardly got onto the field in spite of numerous injuries at the linebacker position. I mean, how bad are you when the coaches would rather play Casey Matthews? He drafted one of his Oregon players, Josh Huff, a full round or two earlier than every other team had him projected. Huff's only positive contribution this season was that kickoff return for a TD. Everything else he did was a negative. Chip also reached and took DE Taylor Hart, from Oregon of course, in the 5th round, when every other team had him among their possible rookie free agents after the draft. Hart couldn't even dress on game days. At least Smith looked nice, standing on the sidelines in his clean uniform most games. The only pick that wasn't a complete waste this season was Jordan Matthews.
While the news of Kelly ultimately winning this power struggle with Roseman over control of the team is being received with only positive reactions from the fans, I have some reservations.
In 2002, Lurie decided to get rid of GM Tom Modrak and give full control to Andy Reid, much like he has done with Kelly now. Sure, Reid took the Eagles to the 2004 Super Bowl, but that doesn't tell the true picture of what the team became with the head coach making all of the decisions.
Only twice in the 10 years since that Super Bowl season in 2004 have the Eagles won a playoff game - 2006 and 2008. And since Modrak drafted Lito Sheppard in 2002, the Eagles have only drafted one defensive player, 5th round pick Trent Cole in 2005, who has made the Pro Bowl until Roseman took Kendricks and Cox in 2012. That is a bad track record for the head coach taking on all the responsibility of building the team and I'm afraid that is the direction that the Eagles are headed. That method simply does not work in the NFL
I know what you're thinking. Hey, doesn't Bill Belichick have total control over everything related to the New England Patriots? Yes. Yes, he does....since 2004. You also might remember that 2004 was the last time the Patriots won a Super Bowl. So that means that the entire time that Belichick has been the Imperial Grand Poo-bah of the Patriots, they haven't won a damn thing. Plus, Belichick had already won a few Super Bowls when Robert Kraft gave him complete control of football operations in New England. Chip Kelly hasn't even won a single playoff game in his two short years in the NFL.
Are you glad that Chip Kelly now has total control over the Philadelphia Eagles
Look, I'm ultimately happy that Chip Kelly asserted himself and forced Lurie's hand. Lurie has proven that he has no idea how to build a championship organization on his own and Roseman was his hand-picked guy to lead the franchise. That's a guy who never worked a day in his life and a guy with a background in law and accounting picking the players. Lurie has jettisoned many good football minds because they threatened Howie's power within the organization. Heck, Lurie even fired his best friend, Joe Banner, in order to give control to Roseman. But now, Lurie has finally realized that if he continued to stick with Roseman over everyone else, it was going to cost him Kelly.
The Eagles organization is trying to put lipstick on this pig, but it simply won't work. Roseman was demoted and no new fancy title, like Vice president of football operations, is going to change that fact. Roseman went from being in charge of picking the jocks on the roster to being in charge of the guys on the equipment staff who provide the jockstraps. Oh, and of course he'll go back to managing the salary cap. I wouldn't be surprised if his agent already has an interview lined up with the New York Jets regarding their vacant GM position. Roseman is a New York guy, who grew up a Jets fans, so it makes perfect sense. He wants to be the guy in charge of the football team, not just the salary cap.
Mutiny on the Bounty
As for the Eagles, Kelly may have lost his most trusted football adviser in the organization when Roseman fired Gamble, but he ultimately won the mutiny in the front office. Now Kelly will get to go out and hand-pick his own GM, which is pretty strange. (And it would actually be hilarious if he hired Gamble back, just to spite Lurie and Roseman) That isn't the way it's done in winning organizations around the NFL, but then again, the Eagles under Jeffrey Lurie's ownership have never won a damn thing, have they?