You're probably thinking that Chip Kelly is unhappy about Cary Williams spoiling a glorious moment on Sunday by whining about how hard practice is, moments after the Eagles beat the Skins. I'm sure you're right. But a lot of writers are portraying this as Cary the loudmouth in trouble again, and I think the relationship between the two is a lot more complicated -- and interesting -- than that.
Kelly sought out Williams, not just because he's four inches taller than Brandon Boykin, but specifically because of his nasty attitude. To paraphrase Ghostface Killah, the Eagles secondary in 2012 was "straight up baby thighs," led by the cornerbacks Jimmy Kempski nicknamed "Mile Marker 23 and Mile Marker 24." With few draft picks and no great cornerbacks available in free agency, the new coach chose a guy with attitude to fire his DBs up.
Cary is all about the attitude. This is the guy who shoves referees in the Super Bowl and gets away with it. First thing he did in Philly? He attacked Nnamdi Asomugha and Howard Eskin in the same breath. This dude gives less feces than the original Honey Badger (not the injured stoner, but the original outdated internet meme). Chip didn't expect him to mind his Ps and Qs.
Of course Kelly would prefer that Cary did his carping in private. Chip says he has an open door policy, and there's no reason to doubt him. You could see how a rookie might be intimidated by the coach, but this is Cary Williams, the Mouth Rocket.
Williams was publicly complaining and blaming -- two things Chip despises -- and he sounded like a guy who's 29 and fading at a position where time is particularly cruel. You don't need an injury to become irrelevant (ask Nnamdi).
But Williams is also tough and direct, like Chip. And the coach listens to him. In the Snow Bowl against Detroit last year, Kelly took play-calling advice late in the game from this guy who doesn't even play on the offense, and it won the game for the Birds. They understand each other, and respect each other.
They're like an old married couple. Sure, they complain about each other a lot, and they're going to get divorced at the end of the season, but there's a real fondness there and it will be an amicable divorce, with birthday cards and awkward Thanksgiving dinners, even after Chip replaces him with a younger, hotter cornerback.
Cary will be gone next year, unless he takes a 75% pay cut and wants to play as depth and special teams. Even then, he may not have enough juice left to make the team. But I picture Chip discussing him fondly in future years, laughing at his moxie and shaking his head. If they ever run into each other down the road, I'm sure Chip'll hug it out and buy him a drink.