Philadelphia Eagles: Chip Kelly’s Seat Is Getting Warmer


Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly came to the league with a big reputation from college. So far, it’s a reputation that he has largely failed to build upon. How long can the Eagles give him before calling time on their big experiment?

Lauded as the next big thing from college football, the Eagles secured their man in 2013 following a rollercoaster ride of a search for their new Head Coach. Ultimately, the field narrowed to two men. Gus Bradley, now of the Jacksonville Jaguars, or Chip Kelly. The Oregon Head Coach was the Eagles’ number one target and he was duly handed an enormous, five year deal to become the Eagles Head Coach.

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The journey under Chip Kelly has been an interesting one for the Eagles. Kelly has instilled his philosophy across the entire organization. The weekly training schedule is different to most teams, players are given strict guidelines about their diet and sleeping habits, music blares across the fields during training. Things couldn’t be much more different from previous Head Coach Andy Reid.

However, the Eagles still seem to lack an identity. Yes, they’re a high tempo team, but that can’t be all that they do. After two and a half years with the Eagles, Chip Kelly is still searching for answers at key positions. At the quarterback position, Kelly has started Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford. He’s still looking for the answer under center. This offseason, Kelly pinned his hopes on Bradford and it has largely failed. Who knows what the Eagles do this offseason, but it’s far from certain that Bradford will be back in 2016, leaving Chip Kelly and the Eagles searching for their fifth starting quarterback in four years.

Who is the main man at wide receiver? The likely answer is second year receiver Jordan Matthews. The main problem with this is that Matthews plays best as a slot receiver and hasn’t excelled when given a chance to line up out wide. First round pick Nelson Agholor has been disappointing this season and will need to display a large increase in both production and reliability to project as the team’s number one receiver in 2016. When you bear in mind that Chip released DeSean Jackson and allowed Jeremy Maclin to walk in free agency, this is an embarrassing situation to be in.

What is happening in the running game? The Eagles projected to have one of the best running games in 2015. It hasn’t worked out like that. The three-headed beast of DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles has served to confuse the Eagles at times, as they over think personnel decisions and, more importantly, it has reduced Darren Sproles‘ touches. The Sprole train was explosive last year. Not so much this season.

Most importantly for Chip Kelly’s future in Philadelphia has been the amount of power that Kelly now wields. This offseason, Kelly won a power struggle with former GM Howie Roseman and was given complete control of the playing side of the organization. This is Kelly’s ship now and many of his deals so far don’t look that great. Would the Eagles swap Foles for Bradford again? I doubt it. Would the Eagles give DeMarco Murray a monster contract again? Probably not. Was Miles Austin worth signing? Nope. These deals stack up and instill doubt in the minds of the Eagles’ fan base and, undoubtedly, the ownership.

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Owner Jeffrey Lurie gave Kelly the keys to his team. I can’t see the Eagles moving on yet, but the doubts have to be there. Most crucially, the Bradford trade has cost the Eagles their second round pick in 2016. With clear issues at QB, wide receiver and on the offensive line, that second round pick would have been immensely valuable.

One scenario that could result in Kelly leaving Philadelphia may not be as far fetched as it first seems. If the Tennessee Titans came calling for Chip Kelly, it may be of value to both teams to explore a trade.

The Titans win, because Chip Kelly gets to be reunited with his star college quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Eagles win, because they would be able to claim back some decent compensation for their Head Coach. If they could thrash out a deal that gave the Eagles the Titans’ first round picks in 2016 & 2017, the Eagles should take it. That deal gives the Eagles a chance to make a clean break, whilst giving a new coach a realistic chance at drafting their men quickly.

While it’s unrealistic due to the amount of faith placed in Kelly, the best outcome for the Eagles may just be to move on from their Chip Kelly experiment.