After just a year, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie appears to have handed Head Coach Chip Kelly the keys to the Eagles kingdom. Geoff Mosher from CSN Philadelphia quotes Lurie as saying, “I just give him [Chip] the benefit of the doubt,” with regards to the Eagles decision to cut Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
Now, whilst Chip Kelly did a remarkable job with the Eagles last season, did he really do enough to warrant such control? Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of Chip Kelly. However, I am still a little wary as it is very early days in his NFL coaching career.
Last season, the Eagles scraped to a first place finish in the NFC East despite down years from rivals New York Giants and Washington Redskins. The Divisional title was only secured at the death of a week 17 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, who were without the star quarterback Tony Romo.
In both games against the weak Washington Redskins, the Redskins looked like they could play themselves back into the game after the Eagles had built early leads. The Eagles rarely stamped authority over the full 60 minutes of a game, with Nick Foles‘ seven TD game against the Oakland Raiders being a notable exception.
The Eagles also had disappointing losses against the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings.
Throughout much of last season, the NFC East was mockingly referred to as the “NFC Least”. It, rightly, ranked among one of the weakest divisions in football. Was it really such an achievement to win the NFC East last year, given the strength of the opposition within the division?
Chip Kelly is still a coach learning his way in the NFL. It looks as if Kelly has a preference for players that he knows, a significant number of players drafted and signed in free agency have been from Pac-12 teams, the same conference that Kelly’s Oregon teams played in. This is human nature, with people always preferring to work with people that they know, but could it lead the Eagles to miss talent from other areas of college football?
There is no doubt that Chip Kelly is a remarkable football coach and a great offensive mind. However, if I was Jeffrey Lurie, I would probably be a bit slower to hand over complete control of the kingdom.