Missanelli: On Chip Kelly, Jeffrey Lurie Made the Right Move — Finally
Jeffrey Lurie did the right thing.
It may have flabbergasted most of us when word came down early Tuesday night that Lurie had fired Chip Kelly, his prized possession coach, after the 15th game of a disappointing non-playoff season. Lurie is seen by most of the fan base as a pacifist who would rather give his employees a longer rope than cut that rope before its time.
But the owner looked around, didn’t like what he saw, didn’t like the opponents rolling up 40 on his squad, didn’t like the fact that some players were quitting on the coach (Jason Peters?), didn’t like Chip’s convoluted answers in those horridly boring, filibuster press conferences where Kelly most of the time threw everybody else under the bus except himself and then on Monday gave some weird answer about him not really being the general manager.
The pressure built up in the valve and something had to blow.
Here’s all we need to know: In three years under Kelly, the Eagles regressed. They regressed to the point where there seemed to be no future. This wasn’t one aberration season. This was a total meltdown, a downward spiral into the depths of hell. His system wasn’t working anymore. His culture-beats-scheme nonsense had run its course. He saddled this franchise with bad contracts of guaranteed money and a serious lack of talent. I count seven of 22 starting players on the Eagles that have actual talent. And that’s not enough to win in the NFL.
Considering the following statistics:
- Since week 14 of last season, the Eagles are 7-12 with a minus-74 point differential (both figures worst among NFC East teams).
- Since the start of the 2013 season, Kelly’s first, the Eagles have allowed 18,237 yards, most in the NFL. And this is a year the defense was supposed to be much improved.
- The Eagles have gone from being ranked second, first and first respectively in points per game, yards per play, and 20-yard completions, to 20th, 25th and 17th in those categories last year.
- And finally, under Chip Kelly, and perhaps because of his lightning-quick pace on offense where three and outs stress the defense, the Eagles sack percentage in the first half is 6.7% (7th in the NFL), but dips to 5.2% in the second half (28th in the NFL).
Things weren’t working; they were going backwards.
There is little doubt in my mind that when Kelly and Lurie met on Tuesday, the subject of player personnel control came up. I can only assume that Lurie asked Kelly what he thought of relinquishing some of that, feeling him out like throwing a fishing line in the water. Kelly probably used the same bulldozing tactic he used to get control in the first place and told Jeff there was no way he would do that. And that’s when Lurie made up his mind.
Too much bad had gone down already. And the owner, finally, took a stand.