Year-End Review: Fairly Evaluating Chip Kelly

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Since the Eagles lost three straight games in December and were eliminated from the playoffs, the range of opinions on Chip Kelly has widened considerably.

Some view him as an over-hyped coach whose team collapsed down the stretch in Year 2. Others defend his every move, regardless of the evidence/results right in front of their eyes.

Below is a thorough evaluation of Kelly, along with a look at the state of the Eagles heading into his third offseason as the head coach. Read more »

Lurie: ‘I Think We’re Pretty Close’

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jeffrey Lurie believes that the overall state of the union is strong. He backed his general manager and head coach, and spoke optimistically about what lies ahead for this team despite the step backwards in Year 2 under Chip Kelly.

“I think we’re pretty close,” said the owner, addressing reporters in the MetLife Stadium visitors locker room moments after the Eagles season came to a close.  “I think we know exactly what we have to upgrade. You see certain teams, they go 8-8, 8-8 and then they break through. We’re at double-digits, double-digits, it doesn’t mean we’ll be double-digits next year but I think we’ve got a really good nucleus of young players, mostly under 27, a lot of players below 30, a lot of up-and-coming stars in this league. It’s all in front of us, but I don’t want to sound overly enthusiastic because we have to fix those three things.”

Those three things, which Lurie called the team’s “Achilles heels that really in the end were not solvable,” were turnovers, red zone offense, and big plays allowed on defense.

“Great, great front seven and outstanding improvement on ‘D’ all over except giving up the deep ball. You can’t do it,” he said.

When Lurie says he knows exactly where the upgrades need to be made, it’s fair to conclude that he is pointing right at the secondary for starters.

Who will be in charge of making the appropriate changes? Read more »

Inside Voices: Kelly And the Balance Of Power

(Photo courtesy of USA Today)

(Photo courtesy of USA Today)

Jeffrey Lurie designed the power structure so that the proper checks and balances were built in.

When he hired Chip Kelly, he set it up so that both the head coach and general manager Howie Roseman would report directly to him. He decided to give Kelly final say on the 53-man roster to even the scales, he said, which would suggest Roseman had heavy influence over the draft and free agency.

“It made sense to balance the player personnel and head coaching, and empower them both, and force a complete collaboration,” Lurie told the Inquirer last September. “That was the strategy behind it. You didn’t have to force it. Happened naturally.”

Kelly seemed on board with that concept. At his introductory press conference, he said that he wasn’t looking for full control and had little interest in owning various titles.

“I just want to coach football,” he said.

His reach has extended well beyond the x’s and o’s, of course. Kelly watches college film on Saturdays during the season and hits the road (often with vice president of player personnel Tom Gamble) in the offseason. By all accounts, he attends more Pro Days than any other head coach in the league.

Roseman spearheads the draft process and there is a host of quality personnel men searching for talent year-round, but it’s impossible to ignore the Kelly influence over the past two drafts.

“We haven’t really gotten there,” Kelly said, when asked who has final say over draft choices. “I think everybody wants to know that, like really what happens in there. But it never gets to that point. I think we look at it, analyze it and kind of come to the same conclusion. But I haven’t yet sat there and I want him and he wants him and then, you know, are we going to box for it?”

Up until recently, the Eagles’ higher-ups had presented a unified front when it came to the personnel process. But when one of his players came under fire a couple weeks back, Kelly put on the gloves for the first time publicly. Read more »

Lurie On Foles, Kelly And Roseman

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The message from Jeffrey Lurie was clear Wednesday afternoon: He likes the direction his franchise is headed, but he’s not ready to make any grand proclamations.

Speaking to reporters on the practice fields at the NovaCare Complex, Lurie touched on a variety of topics like Chip Kelly’s second year, Howie Roseman’s role with the organization and Nick Foles’ promise.

“He spent the whole year with our players, with the organization, with the NFL, and he’s a guy that’s always thinking, always asking why, analyzing,” Lurie said when asked how Kelly has evolved. “It’s more information for him to be better himself. And it’s a lot easier when you’re in your second year of any situation where everyone has expectations of the way you’re gonna operate – the players, his staff, everyone… in terms of you’re not installing nearly as much. You’re able to just execute. So on both ends, I think he has much more information, and he’ll use that to the best of his ability because he’s smart. And everyone around him will understand better exactly what he was trying to accomplish.” Read more »

On the Roseman/Kelly Dynamic

NFL: Combine

Neither Chip Kelly nor Howie Roseman wants to answer the question directly.

Who has final say on decisions during the draft?

Really, all it would take is one or two words. But the head coach and general manager prefer to leave some wiggle room with their responses.

“We haven’t really gotten there,” Kelly said. “I think everybody wants to know that, like really what happens in there. But it never gets to that point. I think we look at it, analyze it and kind of come to the same conclusion. But I haven’t yet sat there and I want him and he wants him and then, you know, are we going to box for it? You know what I mean? It just hasn’t gotten there.” Read more »

Fairness Argument With DeSean a Tough Sell


The timing was curious, to say the least.

At 12:05 p.m. on March 28, published a story saying the Eagles were concerned with DeSean Jackson’s alleged ties to gang members. At 12:40, the Eagles sent out a 25-word statement saying they had released the wide receiver.

And then silence. For 30 days.

The strategy seemed obvious. Use the gang affiliation story as cover for what would be deemed a peculiar and unpopular decision by many. Yet the way the team’s brass explains it, the Eagles were actually doing Jackson a favor by releasing him when they did. Read more »

Lurie: DeSean Not a Good Fit In Chip’s Offense

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets

Jeffrey Lurie’s impressions of DeSean Jackson’s on-field performance in 2013 seems to be different than that of most other observers.

Speaking at the Eagles’ 18th annual playground build at Prince Hall Elementary School in North Philadelphia, the team’s owner addressed Jackson’s release for the first time.

“Really it was a football decision,” Lurie said. “Chip [Kelly] and his people were incredibly clear that for us to get better, we needed to take a step back and reconfigure the wide receiver position. Common to a lot of really smart coaches, he knows exactly what he wants at every position. And for Chip on offense, it just wasn’t a good fit. It just was not a good fit for what he asks for wide receivers to do. He can explain that to you, but it just was not a fit. He was so clear that we had to get better.” Read more »

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