He set us back years. If you are an Eagles fan that is a very scary phrase to try and come to terms with, yet it is exactly what happened. It is exactly what he did.
The “he” is Charles Edward “Chip” Kelly, and he took what will probably amount to five years – give or take a year or two – of our lives as Eagles fans away from us, when all is calculated into the sickening equation.
The “equation” I refer to is the sum total of years in which Kelly’s ineptitude cost the Eagles the ability to be successful on the field, in terms of not only winning, but even being palatable for real football fans for a few years.
This is not breaking news, and it has been covered in various ways. The various forms his ineptitude took have been well-documented as well. So, with that fact being granted, why bring up the man who caused so much aggravation again? And why NOW, for the love of Bradley Fletcher?
Well, because even though we are entering year two of Doug Pederson, where the Eagles roster is currently at, where it has come from, the holes it has, the repairs that have been made, and those that have yet to have been completed, are all a result of Chip Kelly and his wrecking ball of an ego. And as we have come out of the draft and free agency and assess what the roster currently is and what it will take to get where we need it to go, it becomes apropos to angrily think of “The Chippah” once again and curse his many nicknames and visors.
Oh sure, Jeffrey Lurie may be ultimately culpable as the owner, but it was Kelly who sold him the bill of goods convincing Lurie to turn the entire football operations over to “Big Balls Chip” (hey, I didn’t say that I agreed with the nicknames) on top of coaching. Remember, we were moving in from Andy Reid and Kelly was seen as the antithesis of Big Red. Lurie felt, despite the Eagles missing the playoffs after Kelly’s second season, and some obvious red flags that had begun to appear next to Kelly’s name after seeing how he managed the team AND people (which would ultimately become the most bitter pill for Lurie to continue to swallow), to Lurie’s credit, he was all in with Kelly and wanted to be able to say that he had given Kelly everything he wanted – even if it included final say on the team which meant banishment of Howie Roseman to the other side of the building – so Kelly could have no excuses.
Oh, that didn’t stop Kelly from trying to act like he wasn’t the de facto GM and inexplicably denying that he had final say over the roster when asked during one of his famously dismissive press conferences why the team he decimated prior to his last season by making head-scratching move after head-scratching move was so poorly constructed. See, if Chip was a captain of a ship, he would be the FIRST on one of the life rafts. He would never go down with the ship the way a captain is supposed to. So, after Lurie booted Kelly for equal parts poor football decision making and horrendous people skills, Kelly got one more chance with the 49ers. Chip, of course, did not disappoint those of us who saw his tired act deteriorate right in front of our eyes by lasting one pathetic season and confirming that he does not belong in the NFL. It is because of this very obvious fact that the man couldn’t even get a sniff as an assistant coach this year.
So, before too many people complain about the Eagles Draft as being “boring” or “not sexy”, let’s remember we had the “excitement” with Chip Kelly for three seasons, and not only did it not work, it set out franchise back several years.
Instead of making wise draft choices and stable moves in free agency, Kelly took chances and spent in free agency like a drunken sailor. The man left the Eagles a hollow burnt-out team.
People who are quick to blame Howie Roseman, or not trust him entirely are accurate to point out that Roseman hasn’t exactly proven himself to be Bill Polian yet, I get that. But let’s not forget that Chip was threatened by Roseman and blamed him just as he blamed many others. As a matter of fact, anyone who was not named “Chip Kelly” was fair game for the overmatched Kelly to blame and make that month’s scapegoat.
I guess there is something I admire about Roseman having survived that ordeal, and using his time in exile to learn what NOT to do and in realizing his limitations. Hiring Joe Douglas to strengthen the football evaluation side of things, and also doing what Chip could never do, put his ego aside and let Douglas set the draft board.
So we had a lot of holes to fill, and there was no way to do it with one offseason. Kelly made sure of that. But, Roseman already made the moves to get us the franchise QB that Kelly neglected to address last offseason. And this offseason maybe we couldn’t address RB just yet, but it is being done the right way, and if you are not happy with the amount of time it is taking, then don’t be so quick to blame Roseman, but blame the man who put the Eagles behind the preverbal Eight Ball.
Instead, I offer you this alternative. Take a beat, think about the scorched earth method Chip Kelly used recklessly from one season to another, and realize that the Eagles are now methodically and correctly building an entire team. If you are frustrated that this coming season does not currently appear to be one in which the Eagles are ready to compete yet, I suggest you don’t look to Roseman just yet.
Because we are still climbing out of the hole Chip dug for us. He dug it with the draft and he dug it with free agency and trades. And when he realized it was a hole he dug, he tried to fill it by pushing Howie Roseman into it.
So, I think we owe it to Roseman to be allowed to finish filling the hole the right way. After all, the man had to climb out of it himself first.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports