It is now official that the Eagles will meet with Chip Kelly. The Eagles haven’t confirmed this, but multiple reports have said he’s one of 3 teams in the hunt. The Bills are another. The final team is the Browns…and Mr. Joe Banner.
Should we worry that Banner and Lurie are going head-to-head for Kelly, assuming he is the top target for both guys? Absolutely. The Browns have a new owner in Jimmy Haslam. I’m sure he and Banner want to make a great hire. Haslam is a huge Tennessee Volunteers fan. Back in 2010 he watched Oregon go to Knoxville and beat his beloved Vols 48-13. I think Haslam will be easily sold on Kelly as a great coaching candidate.
Banner would love to get the best of Lurie and the Eagles and steal away Kelly. Banner and Lurie were lifelong friends, but things got complicated in the last 2 years and Lurie sided with Andy Reid in a bizarre football love triangle. That set in motion the events that led to Banner hitting the road to Cleveland. I don’t know that Banner and Lurie are enemies. That seems a bit melodramatic, but Joe is anti-Eagle right now and would love to hire Kelly.
From Chip Kelly’s perspective, which situation is better? Hard to say. I think working for Jeff Lurie would appeal to him. Lurie will spend money. He’s hands-on enough that you can have a good relationship with him, but Lurie won’t micro-manage and pretend he’s a football genius. Haslam is a complete unknown. Most new owners want to be involved (Lurie was that way) and can step on some toes as they figure out what they’re doing.
I won’t do a full personnel breakdown because that would take a great deal of time and be very subjective. I do think both teams have some pieces that Kelly will like on offense. I’m sure he’d love the 1-2 punch of Shady and Bryce. I think he’d love the Eagles athletic OL. Celek is his kind of TE. I’m not sure about the WRs. My guess is that Kelly would prefer bigger guys, but he might really enjoy coaching someone with DeSean’s speed.
The Browns have a good OL that Kelly would like. Trent Richardson is a stud RB, but isn’t exactly what Kelly is used to. I think Kelly would like the Browns set of big WRs. They would need to upgrade at TE.
As for QB…neither team is ideal. Both Nick Foles and Brandon Weeden are pocket passers. We actually might have an advantage here. The Eagles spent a 3rd round pick on Foles. The team would love for him to be the starter of the future, but if he’s only a backup…that’s fine for a 3rd round pick. Weeden was a 1st round pick. He’s older. The Browns would probably hate to think of him as the guy who will keep the job until Kelly finds “his guy”.
Here’s the thing about QB…Kelly is a gifted offensive mind. He has built offenses around RBs and QBs. He’s had QBs run a ton and not all that much. He can and will adjust to his personnel. Kelly has a vision in his head for what he wants an offense to be. I don’t know exactly what that is. In college, it involves a mobile QB that can run just enough to affect the defense and open things up for the other players. We don’t yet know if that model is sustainable in the NFL. RG3 took a beating this year. Do you want to risk having your franchise QB getting hit that much?
For the short term, Kelly could go with Nick Foles as the starter. He would then look to the draft and try to find someone who is a better fit for what he wants to do. This is a poor group of top QBs so the pick might come in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round. Even that player won’t be a sure thing. We might have to wait for 2014 before Kelly could find the QB he really wants.
Or maybe he and Foles would hit it off. Maybe Kelly would sign some FA and love that guy. You never know. We need to hear Kelly talk about his vision for an NFL offense. He won’t do that until he’s hired somewhere. My guess is that he’d love a guy like Colin Kaepernick. Colin has a strong arm. He’s mobile. He’s also big enough that he can take hits and deal with them.
If the Eagles hire Chip Kelly, we’ll start talking about possible draft targets. Until the hiring, let’s concentrate on the coaching side of things. The bottom line is that there is a lot of mystery with Kelly and what he’ll want to do.
More than a few people have asked about Michael Vick. I don’t think Kelly would want him. Vick is a great athlete and has the mobility that Kelly would probably love. However, Vick also takes too many sacks and turns the ball over too much. Kelly is fanatical about sacks. He can’t stand negative plays. In Kelly’s mind, the QB should make a quick read and throw the pass or get rid of the ball if no one is open. Vick has bad habits that go back to Virginia Tech because coaches looked to him to be a playmaker and not a QB who simply ran the offense.
Kelly also would have to wonder what the upside is to keeping Vick. Clearly Vick is too old to be a player you build around. He’s a short term fix. Kelly might prefer a young QB that he can control better on and off the field. Vick is a Reid guy. After a bad game would Vick say something that accidentally or intentionally questioned Kelly vs Reid. The young or new QB is more likely to stay on message and say what Kelly wants. And of course, money is a huge issue. Vick would have to take a huge pay cut to even be worth possibly keeping. He might not want to do that. Vick might feel he could do better getting cut and hitting the open market.
I didn’t cover defense with either team because I don’t know Kelly’s feelings there. I’m sure there are players on both rosters that he would love and a few he’d hate. He would hire a veteran defensive guru to run that side of things. Kelly just needs to know that the team he’s joining has some defensive pieces to work with. Both the Eagles and Browns do. Guys like Cox, Graham, Thornton, Curry, and Kendricks are very young and have bright futures. Veterans like Cole, Ryans, Jenkins, and DRC have all been to a Pro Bowl.
What about misc factors? Both teams have good stadiums. Both have rabid fanbases. My guess is that Kelly would prefer to live in Philly, but that’s just a hunch. He’s been in Oregon and New Hampshire for the last 15 years. Moving to a big city will be an adjustment no matter which one he picks. I would think the Eagles would have an advantage in being in the NFC East. That means lots of TV games. The AFC North is the black ‘n blue division. Chip wouldn’t play that way, but I don’t know that he’d want to be playing those type teams if he had a choice. Weather should also be less of a factor with the Eagles.
The presence of Howie Roseman could hurt or help matters. Cleveland just fired Tom Heckert. They need someone to run their Personnel Dept. Kelly could help hire that guy, but there would be some unknowns. Roseman is established. He’s got scouts in place that he knows. Howie could talk to Kelly about specifics. Here is our grading system. Here’s why we picked the guys we did. This is how things work. Since Kelly is new to the NFL, he might like that foundation already being in place.
Of course, there was the report that Bill Belichick doesn’t like Howie Roseman and that could sour things. Chip Kelly has a relationship with Belichick and could ask his advice about teams and owners/GMs. We’ll know if Kelly takes the job that the report was likely bogus and more speculation rather than fact.
I think the Eagles should have the upper hand in the fight for Chip Kelly, but the over-eager duo of Banner and Haslam could change that if they blow him away with money and power. Normally Joe is a shrewd negotiator, but if he’s a bit desperate here, watch out.
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Andy Reid has met with KC. Next up is Arizona and San Diego. I think he could do great things in KC if he hired the right defensive coordinator. San Diego is probably the place he’d prefer to go.
Arizona seems least likely because I don’t know that the Bidwills will want to pay big money for a coach. Reid isn’t going to be cheap.
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BGN has a report up on Bill O’Brien and the Eagles. Penn State beat writer David Jones was on 97.5 and said if the Eagles offer him the job “He’s gone”.
This remains the most complex angle to the coaching search. O’Brien has publicly stated that he’s staying put. Part of what makes him such an attractive candidate is that he’s handled himself with great integrity through a very trying year at PSU. If he’s willing to leave…do you want him as much? This is reminiscent of the old Groucho Marx saying that “I would never join a country club that would have someone like me as a member”.
By staying, O’Brien makes you want him more. By being open to leaving, is O’Brien just another coach fighting for the next dollar and the next move up the coaching ladder?
Adam Caplan reported that he’s heard several teams want to meet with O’Brien. No one still knows anything from O’Brien’s point of view. Will he interview? Is he open to leaving?
And of course there is the reported buyout of $9.2M that some team would have to pay just to hire O’Brien away. Crazy situation.
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David Syvertsen has your list of NFL prospects to watch in tonight’s Fiesta Bowl…Oregon vs Kansas State.
You may also want to pay attention to the Oregon coach. I hear he’s thinking about taking an NFL job or something like that.