By: Monte Perez
Geoge Costanza of the hit TV Show Seinfeld, always wanted to pretend to be an architect. I always wanted to pretend to be a lawyer. I have entered the pretend courtroom two previous times. The first one came about two years ago when I wrote an article titled, “Why LeBron James deserves to be on the NBA’s Mount Rushmore. The second time was when the Golden State Warriors lost in the playoffs, the title of that article was, “The Curious Case of Stephen Curry… The NBA’s best point guard.” In those articles I presented my case to the Jury. I am switching sides for this one. I will be defending my client, Philadelphia Eagles coach…Chip Kelly.
Now the prosecution (the fans) feel they have an air tight case. Every major sports station is jumping on the “Kelly is awful” bandwagon. But I know, when I am done with this case, you will see beyond a reasonable doubt that Kelly is a very good coach. I will take every argument made against my client and squash it like a grape.
Prosecutions (Fans) 1st argument… Chip Kelly is a gimmick coach!
My Defense… Far be it from me to make the fans look ridiculous but to say that Kelly is a gimmick coach proves one of two things
1 ) Either you don’t know football
2) You are ignorant
3) Chip Kelly stole your girlfriend and you are a “hater.”
In 4 years as a college coach, Kelly was 46-7. He was 33-4 in the PAC-12. His first season with the Ducks the team finished ranked 11th. His last three years they were ranked 3,4th and 2nd. Kelly changed the landscape of college football. Teams like Baylor, TCU. Houston and Texas A&M have all had great success running a very similar version to Kelly’s offense. Over the past 2 seasons the National Championship game had FSU vs Auburn, Oregon vs Ohio State. All those teams run a spread style offense.
Now, Let us look at the NFL. When Darren Sproles signed with the Eagles after playing with the New Orleans Saints he said, “This offense is similar to what we did in New Orleans but… this is like that offense, on steroids.” Sproles has spent his career in very good offenses. He knows a thing or two, he was basically saying that what Kelly runs is more advanced. Does that sound like a gimmick to anyone? Jim Harbaugh went to the NFC Championship with starting quarterback Alex Smith. The following year he benched Smith for Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers went to two straight NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl because Harbaugh evolved. He saw what Kelly was doing in college and in the NFL and he ran a similar offense. Now, “Kap” has regressed tremendously since Harbaugh went to Michigan but here was a successful coach who went 13-3 and evolved even more with his offense. The Patriots (The NFL’s most dominant team) changed their offensive style when Bill Belichick spent a few weeks up at Oregon watching Kelly’s team at spring practice. The Patriots run a spread offense. They don’t throw the ball down field. Tom Brady is ranked at the bottom of the NFL when he throws the ball over 20 yards. The Pats have become like the Kansas City Royals in Baseball, they dink and dunk. In a vertical passing league, almost every franchise has gone to a version of Kelly’s offense.
Prosecutions 2nd argument … Chip Kelly is not an NFL Coach.
My Defense… Most coaches have ups and downs in the NFL. Tom Coughlin has won two Super Bowls and if the Giants don’t make the playoffs this year, he will have missed the post-season 6 out of the last 7 years. His first two seasons in the NFL, Coughlin was 4-12 and 9-7. Bill Belichick spent 5 seasons as the Cleveland Browns head coach. During that time he had a combined record of 36-44. HE HAD ONE YEAR WHERE THE TEAM WAS OVER .500. When he went to New England he went 5-11 and started his second season 0-2. In three years Belichick was 2 games over .500 with the Patriots. It wasn’t until Tom Brady started playing that Belichick started to have success and the rest is history. Pete Carroll was 6-10 with the Jets and got fired after 1 year. He was hired than fired by the New England Patriots. His first two season as the Seattle Seahawks coach Carroll comprised a record of 14-16. It wasn’t until Russell Wilson became his quarterback that he had consistent success. The Seahawks run a spread style type offense where Wilson is a dual threat.
Kelly won 20 games in two years with Michael Vick and Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez. Vick left the Eagles and signed with the Jets where he couldn’t even beat out Geno Smith. Foles had a great season under Kelly with 27 TD’s and 2 Interceptions. Foles has now been benched by the St. Louis Rams for Case Keenum.
Prosecutions 3rd Argument… Chip Kelly is a horrible General Manager.
My Defense… On the surface this is the fans most legitimate argument. But when you break it down, is Kelly really a bad general manager?
DeSean Jackson’s last season with the Eagles (Under Kelly) had 82 catches and 9 touchdowns
In two years with the Washington Redskins Jackson has had 62 catches (only 10 this year). The National media and Philly fans thought Kelly was crazy when he let Jackson go but obviously it was the right move because he is clearly on the decline of his career.
Jeremy Maclin’s last season with the Eagles (Under Kelly) he had 85 catches and 10 touchdowns. This year with the Kansas City Chiefs he has 48 catches and two touchdowns.
LeSean McCoy’s last season with the Eagles (Under Kelly) he had 1,319 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns
This year with the Buffalo Bills (a running first team) McCoy has 610 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Acquiring Sam Bradford on the surface, a mistake. But Kelly took a gamble, as we can clearly see, Nick Foles reached his ceiling. He had to let him go because you can’t win big playoff games with Foles as your quarterback. Bradford will not be resigned at the end of the year but I admire the gamble. Kelly went for it. He is not conservative at all, he gambled and lost.3 out of the 4 moves he’s made appear to have been the right decision because not one of the players (mentioned above) are having great years. Their production has been reduced since they left Kelly.
Closing Arguments: I think I have made my point abundantly clear but in case you have any doubts I will end with this. Bellichick and Ohio State’s Head Coach, Urban Meyer, both went to Kelly to learn offense. Meyer said he learned more about offense and coaching in a week at Eagles camp than he learned over the past five years. They took what they learned from Kelly and implemented it to perfection. Meyer won the College Football Championship last year and Bellichik won the Super Bowl. Neither one of these elite coaches would use an offense that is a gimmick. Is Kelly having a bad year, absolutely and he has taken full blame for it. But look at the coaches I mentioned above, neither won until they had a quarterback. You don’t judge a coach for one bad year, it is the collective. Kelly will have any job he wants after the season is over. If I was him I would go to the Tennessee Titans and reunite with Marcus Mariota. Either in the NFL, at USC, Texas or LSU, I am buying stock… not selling on Chip Kelly. He is too smart of a coach not to bounce back. I rest my case!
Follow the Sports Whisperer on Twitter:Montetjwitter11 and listen to the Monte Cristo Sports Thing Thursday Night at 7pm on WRNJ Radio