Understanding the Chip Kelly Move

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Chip Kelly during happier times. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Chip Kelly during happier times. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we know about Jeffrey Lurie‘s decision to part ways with Chip Kelly:

When did Chip find out?

Tuesday early evening. Kelly ran the day’s practices as scheduled, meaning Lurie did not inform Kelly of his decision until later in the day. The Eagles announced that they released the head coach a short time later, a little after 7 p.m.

How did it go down?

The meeting between Lurie and Kelly (obviously) did not go well. Sal Paolantonio reports that Lurie proposed a new set-up where Kelly would lose control of personnel. When Kelly balked at that idea, Lurie decided to pull the plug, per Sal Pal.

Asked if he’d be OK having his power taken away earlier this week, Kelly responded:

“The owner decides whatever he wants to decide. It’s his team. He can do whatever he wants. It’s always been that way.”

Outside of a potential refusal to go along with a new power structure, there was no “signature moment” or blow-up that pushed this thing over the edge from our understanding. This was something Lurie had been building up to for weeks.

Why now?

Our sense is that the Eagles, once it was determined that it wasn’t going to work out with Kelly, wanted to get a jump on the process of finding a new coach as soon as possible. In-demand coaches can get plucked off the market quickly, and they wanted to make sure they were in position to land a desirable target.

Who might those targets be?

Some of the hot names include New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.

McDermott was described to me as  “prize student” of the late Jim Johnson and, as a La Salle College High School grad and former DC for the Eagles, is certainly familiar with this organization and this city. He apparently has a good relationship with Lurie and I wouldn’t be surprised if he at least gets a look.

What does the new front office set-up look like?

With Kelly and Ed Marynowitz relieved of their duties, former Bills GM Tom Donahoe assumes the role of Senior Director of Player Personnel. Donahoe has been a senior advisor for the Eagles since 2012 but apparently was not fully embraced by Kelly as Lurie hoped he would be. Now he moves into a more prominent position.

The same can be said for Howie Roseman. Jeff McLane reports that Roseman will return to heading the personnel department, and the intel we’ve been getting similarly suggests that he’ll be back in the “catbird seat.”

How did it come to this?

Lurie does not take a move like this lightly and examined it from every angle before deciding that the best course of action was to move on from Kelly. It is fair to say that the former Oregon head coach did not endear himself to many inside NovaCare. Key veterans had issues with his methodologies and, as evidenced by several ex-Eagles’ comments on their way out the door, there was at a minimum a disconnect between the head coach and some of his pupils.

Similarly, he did not build relationships with many others in the building and was viewed in some corners as difficult to deal with with.

All of this was generally overlooked when the team was winning, but not as much once things started going south.

Lurie, who was strong-armed by Kelly last offseason when the head coach made a play to assume full personnel control and overhaul the owner’s preferred power structure, ultimately decided that the chances of a turnaround next season weren’t higher than the odds of another down year, so he chose to act now.