While his San Francisco 49ers are busy not signing anyone and headed towards what in other leagues is referred to as tanking, Chip Kelly has the time to shrug off any blame people might have pinned on him for the failure during his third season with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Perception? Kelly, after two seasons as the head coach of the Eagles in which they posted two 10-6 seasons including one playoff appearance, wanted more control of personnel. Basically? He wanted to be both head coach and general manager. The moves of LeSean McCoy going to the Buffalo Bills, DeMarco Murray and Byron Maxwell signing for big money and other trades, additions and subtractions? That seemed to be all him, while general manager Howie Roseman was demoted.
Truth? Hard to say. Probably depending on who you ask. From owner Jeff Lurie’s words it seems that Kelly did wield that kind of power during his third season, which led to his firing even before the final game of 2015, missing the playoffs again. But Kelly, speaking to Jeff McLane of Philly.com, said he never had that kind of power, never asked that kind of power, saying that Roseman constructed the deals like the ones McCoy and Murray got. Both of them have since been traded to the Miami Dolphins, saving $26 million in cap space for this season, helping the Eagles put up $59.2 million in guaranteed money during a free agency splurge.
I wasn’t the personnel guy. I was in charge of the 90-man roster. But I didn’t negotiate and say this guy gets this amount of money and that guy gets that amount of money. That wasn’t what I did. And Ed was the one who ran our personnel department. That really fell on Ed’s shoulders in terms of how he handled everything. And Ed communicated with him all the time. I didn’t like the way it was, but I didn’t ask for anything. It’s Lurie’s organization and his team. He can run it however he wants to run it. It wasn’t like I’m walking out the door.
Kelly also criticized the structure of the Eagles front office. According to him, he didn’t communicate directly with Howie Roseman last season before being fired by the Eagles. The current 49ers coach said owner Jeffrey Lurie constructed an arrangement where the then-demoted Roseman sent messages to the then-empowered Kelly through player personnel VP Ed Marynowitz.
Kelly also spoke about the support from some players after being fired. There have been others, including the Eagles ownership, although not in so many words, saying Kelly needs to work on certain things and especially his personnel and locker room skills if he’s to succeed in the NFL. Kelly, a proud and slightly arrogant person (at least in the way he comes off in the media) hasn’t revealed if he’s come up with any ideas on how he was at fault, only saying the Eagles didn’t win enough games. Maybe he’s done some soul searching, but maybe he actually thinks nothing that happened last year had to do with him.
Kelly now begins a tenure with his second NFL team, which unlike the Eagles, has very little expectations heading into this season. From what we’ve learned about the workings of Jed York and Trent Baalke, Kelly isn’t going to like the front office structure and way of handling things any better than he did in Philadelphia.