The Philadelphia Eagles dropped a bombshell on Tuesday night, releasing head coach Chip Kelly and vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz. The move comes as an enormous shock, both in terms of the timing and for the fact that Chairman and CEO Jeffery Lurie had already made his mind up - before the season even ended. But what about the move itself?
Why it makes sense
The Eagles were a mess in 2015. The offense was stagnant, predictable and inefficient. Many of Kelly's offseason moves - signing DeMarco Murray, trading LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso; trading Nick Foles for Sam Bradford - either didn't go as planned or were out-and-out bombs. Kelly wrested general manager duties away from Howie Roseman (who will apparently help lead the search for a new GM, by the way) and didn't show much of an aptitude for the role. Heck, just this week he was arguing the semantics of whether or not he even was GM.
And that's to say nothing of the defense. What started off as one of the better units in football collapsed down the stretch. The reason is debatable - it could've been defensive coordinator Bill Davis' playcalling as easily as it could've been the fact that the Eagles offense couldn't stay on the field, forcing the defense to play more snaps.
Then there's the trickier aspect of his relationships with players. We heard all offseason about how players either thought he was racist, didn't respect them, or both. And based on some early comments from players, it doesn't seem like those feelings were as isolated as we may have thought.
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) December 30, 2015
But in total, there's no denying that this was one of the worst Eagles seasons in recent memory. And like the last subpar Eagles season, the coach ended up paying the price for the failure to meet expectations.
Why it doesn't make sense
Kelly may not have been the world's greatest GM, but he also didn't even have control over the roster for a calendar year. After all, Chip won his power struggle with Roseman in February, so he only really had total team control for about 10 months. Add to that the fact that Kelly had essentially traded or released some of the team's most recognizable faces, and there was always the very real possibility that this team would take time to gel.
When the Eagles hired Kelly, they did so with the understanding that they were going to be on the cutting edge of the NFL. Giving Kelly the keys to the kingdom was a very public acknowledgement that they were all in on Kelly's philosophies and ideas, a bold and perhaps necessary move for a coach who had showed the potential to revolutionize the NFL. It wasn't always going to be pretty, but after giving him total control of football decisions, it certainly would have been reasonable to think the Eagles would give it at least another year.
And for all its lowlights, there were plenty of bright spots. The Eagles' safety tandem of Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond III (both signed as free agents during Kelly's tenure) played excellent football for a stretch, Jordan Hicks was an early candidate for Rookie of the Year, and even Bradford improved as the season went on. It wasn't always pretty, but there were certainly reasons to believe 2016 could be better.
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