Chip Kelly was the story.
There is no name this side of Jon Gruden that would have stirred imaginations and debate quite like the Oregon coach. Training camp would have been overflowing with fans dying to get an up-close look at this new breed of football. Debate would rage over whether he could thrive in this environment, on this level. Kelly and his Eagles would be talked about across the league.
As we now know, Kelly chose the Ducks over the Birds Sunday, and this will not come to pass. And maybe that’s OK.
Being the most interesting team certainly doesn’t mean that you will be the most successful, as the Eagles have learned in recent years. From the Michael Vick signing to the big free agency splash of 2011, they have dominated their share of national headlines. Yet the results on the field haven’t been there.
Maybe Kelly would have been a game-changer. Maybe the Eagles were this close to holding the future of the NFL in their hands.
Or, perhaps his system would have proven to have been a gimmick after all. It’s possible that his lack of experience on this level would have limited his ability to assemble a quality staff of assistants and made it difficult for him to adjust.
It could have gone one of two ways. There seems to be very little gray when it comes to Chip Kelly.
If you are going to take such a risk, it’s key that the man you’re taking the risk on is invested in the mission. He has to be committed; needs to have his heart in it.
Kelly backed out of agreement with the Bucs last year to return to Oregon. This time around he did some heavy flirting with the Eagles and Browns before again opting to stay. There is something in him that isn’t allowing him to pull the trigger.
Kelly isn’t sold on the NFL. It’s better for everyone’s sake, then, that he didn’t say yes to the Eagles. As we learned from that 2011 offseason, big names are great and exciting, but only if those big names are a fit.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Details on Kelly staying put and what’s next for the Eagles.
Doug Marrone agreed to become head coach of the Bills.
Sheil explains why turning Vick into an option quarterback — for Kelly or otherwise — probably wouldn’t end well.
Be sure to check out our coaching tracker for the very latest.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Mike Florio gives his thoughts on Kelly opting to stay at Oregon.
It’s the second straight year that Kelly nearly has left Oregon for the NFL, and the question becomes whether the NFL opportunity will keep knocking. At some point, NFL teams won’t waste their time trying to hire him.
At some point, Kelly’s Favre-ish indecision could impact recruiting in a negative way. For now, Kelly’s choice to stay in Oregon will surely help seal the deal for the coming class who will be able to sign their letters of intent early next month.
For now, some league insiders believe that Kelly and his agent, David Dunn, overplayed their hand and were forced to save face. Others believe Kelly simply wasn’t ready to leave the college game. If he isn’t ready now, he may never be.
Dan Pompei of the National Football Post believes Matt Flynn could be on the move.
One name who could spice up the veteran quarterback market is Matt Flynn. We’ve heard Flynn could be on the move for the second time in as many seasons, this time via the trade market. Given that Russell Wilson has established himself as the clear No. 1 in Seattle, the Seahawks likely will listen to offers. And given there are more teams in need of quarterbacks than there are attractive, available veterans, it is likely John Schneider’s phone will be ringing. In fact, if a team is willing to take on Flynn’s big contract, it wouldn’t be surprising if they could get the former Packer for reasonable trade compensation.
Phase II of the coaching search gets underway.
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