Chip Kelly to the Eagles: A Reaction Roundup

So how is the football-loving world greeting news that Oregon coach Chip Kelly is leaving behind amateur college football for the pro ranks? Here’s a quick survey of the reaction?

Kelly’s a risky hire: So says Inky scribe Phil Sheridan. “It could be fantastic and entertaining and lead, finally, to a Super Bowl title. It just as easily could be a disaster, pure folly on a par with Steve Spurrier in Washington, Bobby Petrino in Atlanta, and Nick Saban in Miami. The only thing we can be reasonably sure of is that it won’t be boring. Nothing about Kelly’s program, from the fastbreak offense to the ever-changing uniforms to its affiliation with Nike, is boring.”

This is the right guy: That’s Daily News columnist Rich Hoffman. “You know, too, that the Eagles are not settling here, and that they did not bungle their search, and that pretty much everything said and written in the last week about this process has been conversation in search of reality. Well, this is the reality: The guy they wanted all along – or at least one of the guys, along with Penn State coach Bill O’Brien – is now theirs.”

No pro experience? No problem! DN’s Marcus Hayes pipes up: “To assume that Kelly cannot adapt is to insult the man’s intelligence and his accomplishments. Consider: A high school quarterback and a college defensive back, three of his first four coaching assignments were on the defensive side of the ball. His next four were on offense. He has been a defensive coordinator and an offensive coordinator. He is, in a word, versatile.”

Kelly has already transformed the college game says ESPN’s Ivan Maisel: “Kelly transformed Oregon by combining a spread offense with fast players and a fast tempo. Plays that didn’t work in the first quarter broke open in the third, when the defense couldn’t match the Ducks’ pace. When Oregon stepped up its pace, the 40-second clock rarely ticked past :25, and often even didn’t make it to :30. In the sincerest form of flattery, coaches from around the country began to adopt the Ducks’ tempo. Kelly even swapped ideas with New England coach Bill Belichick, as the Patriots showed last Sunday in their victory over Houston.”

The challenge in Philadelphia is huge, adds ESPN’s Ashley Fox.  “You just became the most high-profile person in a city that has two 24-hour sports talk radio stations, one 24-hour all-sports television station, and dozens of reporters who compete daily for every scrap of a scoop about your team, your players, your schemes and your life. You are now the CEO of a franchise that has won zero Lombardi trophies and has a fiery, demanding fan base that is understandably impatient. And you replace the most successful head coach in franchise history, who was fired basically for not winning a Super Bowl.”

A “game changer” for the tradition-bound NFC East, says SI’s Don Banks: “Kelly’s knack for offensive innovation is being counted on to revitalize the last-place Eagles, who have been grasping for a sustainable offensive identity for at least two years now. But it could also serve to alter the prevailing mindset in one of the NFL’s most tradition-bound divisions, the NFC East, once home to legendary coaches named Landry, Gibbs and Parcells. … But now here comes Kelly, with his speed-happy, run-option spread offense injecting even more juice into a division that once was known for believing defense and running games were the proven and predominant way to thrive once the weather turned colder and the playoff drive was underway. To be sure, both the Giants’ Eli Manning and the Cowboys’ Tony Romo have led passing-first offenses for a while now, but Kelly’s arrival ups the ante on that side of the ball, and the rest of the NFC East might well wind up looking and playing more like the Eagles in order to beat the Eagles. If successful in Philadelphia, Kelly could force opponents to either build defenses to specifically stop his warp-speed offense, or mimic it. There’s a reaction inspired either way.”

This hire saves the franchise, says’s Adam Schein: “Expect the Eagles to run an up-tempo offense, like Kelly’s Oregon teams. Running backs LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown will be great, but Philadelphia does need a franchise quarterback. Michael Vick would be a better fit than Nick Foles in Kelly’s system, but I’m sure Kelly will want to add a new signal-caller or two. Perhaps Matt Flynn or Alex Smith might make sense. And, of course, there is another athletic quarterback who would surely like a change of scenery: Tim Tebow. Questioning Kelly’s approach? Have you watched football this year? High-octane offenses work. Gimmick offenses can work.”

And be sure to check our our Birds 24/7 blog for everything else you want to know about Chip Kelly.