Last year, I wrote that Chip Kelly deserved one more year to see if his “mad scientist” moves paid off for him and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Well, one season later, the results of that experiment are quite conclusive: Kelly was never going to make it work in Philly. The Eagles fired him last week and then promptly won their season finale against New York.
But now the questions turn to Kelly. He made the jump from the juggernaut he built at Oregon to the NFL, with the hope to make his system work at the highest level of football. That obviously didn’t happen.
Or at least it hasn’t happened yet.
Kelly is currently out of an NFL job, but I don’t expect that to be the case for very long this offseason. Plenty of teams are without a head coach at the helm and for a number of them, taking a risk with Kelly might be all it takes for him land back in the NFL. And honestly, even with all of the baggage with what happened in Philadelphia, Kelly still has the potential to make it as an NFL head coach.
First off, Kelly is starting to show signs that he’s learning from his mistakes the past couple of years. Less than 24 hours after he was “released,” Kelly told FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer that he didn’t want total control of personnel decisions like he did with the Eagles. That ended up being his downfall as his trades and pick ups failed miserably.
But learning from mistakes is only human. And seeing as this was his first go around in a completely new environment, I think it’s acceptable to try something and then realizing that’s not the way to go. There’s no doubt what happened in Philadelphia made him at least a little bit of a better coach.
Also, there was a lot going against him in Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love has no love for teams that go nowhere and there was always going to be a ton of pressure on him to win from day one. But if he lands in a spot like Tennessee where there’s not a whole bunch of win-now pressure, he’ll have the time he needs to build the team he needs to be successful.
Of course, there’s still the chance that he won’t be successful no matter where he ends up. Not every coach is cut out to be an NFL head coach. It’s obvious that his exact system at Oregon doesn’t work in the pro game, and if he can’t adapt it to be a bit more inline with the way things are done in the NFL, then he won’t last much longer.
But there’s no need to completely write off Chip Kelly as an NFL coach after a failed stint in Philadelphia. There are plenty of NFL teams that need a coach and there was just enough potential shown in those three years with the Eagles that might entice one of those teams to take a chance on him.
And if that happens, who knows what might happen.