The Philadelphia Eagles are 6-9. For the second straight season, they are not going to make the NFL playoffs. They're a bad team. At least, that's what most people would think. But Chip Kelly isn't most people.
Question: You've said all year that you've felt the personnel was good enough and you were a good football team. Do you still feel that way as you sit here?
"It didn't go our way, but I don't think we're a bad football team," said Kelly during his Monday press conference. "Not by any stretch."
"I can point to plays. I think we’re not consistent and we’re not consistent. I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job as coaches of putting [players] in position to make plays. But I don’t think that we need to revamp this entire group of guys because I think we’ve got some really, really good guys."
The Eagles might have some good guys, but their record indicates they don't have enough. Despite Kelly's insistence otherwise, talent is an issue with this team. The offensive line is a prime example. The wide receivers aren't good enough. Outside of Jordan Hicks, the inside linebackers have been a mess. These are just a few examples. The Eagles could use upgrades at more than just a few positions.
So who's to blame the lack of talent? The general manager. And who is the general manager? Chip Kelly. At least, that's what most people would think. But Chip Kelly isn't most people.
Question: Have you found having the dual role of being the personnel decision, having final say on that, and being the head coach has been more taxing and ... more than just being the head coach has been, has there been had to be more time spent and has it been different?
"Again, I'm not the general manager," said Kelly. "So I don't run our personnel department. I'm not in charge of scouting. I don't tell our scouts where they're going. [Vice president of player personnel] Ed Marynowitz does a great job with that."
"The only difference is I was in control of the 53-man roster and now I'm in control of the 90-man roster. But all those decisions that are made in season were always ... we always went over who was available for putting a guy on [injured reserve]. We all understand that. So my job has never changed. To say I'm a head coach and a general manager, I'm not the general manager. I don't negotiate contracts. I don't do any of that stuff. I just have a say of who's on the 90-man roster as opposed to who's on the 53-man roster. But once the season starts, I always had control over the 53-man roster. So that hasn't changed at all. Nor has there been any more time devoted to any of that because that's not the way it's set up here."
For the record, this is an actual statement from an official Eagle press release following Jeffrey Lurie's decision to change the franchise's power structure. Bold emphasis is mine:
"Head coach Chip Kelly will now oversee the player personnel department. He will also lead efforts to hire a new personnel executive – a process that will begin immediately."
It's true Kelly doesn't officially hold the "general manager" title. No one in the Eagles organization currently does. But semantics and titles aside, it's clear Kelly is the one responsible for this team's failures.
Look, Kelly is often in a no-win position when he talks to the media, especially at this point in the season. The team has had a disappointing season and a number of people are calling for him to be fired. Nothing he can say will make anyone feel better about anything. If anything, his words will only bring anger, like they have done in this situation.
Still, he's not going to win anyone over with dishonest answers like these.