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Chip Kelly fired: Are the Eagles the new Browns?

The BGN staff discuss their reactions to the firing of Chip Kelly

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Chip Kelly is out as Eagles head coach after less than three seasons, one of which with total control of the player personnel department. Some of the BGN crew and I react.

Give me your immediate thoughts on Chip Kelly being fired.

Editor's note: with the exception of myself, these questions were answered prior to Jeffrey Lurie's press conference.

Patrick Wall: You lose the locker room, you lose your job. There are obviously a ton of things in play here, but at the end of the day I feel like this is what did Chip in. (Heck, if the Eagles had lost to New England this could've happened weeks ago.) There was mounting evidence that players didn't like/trust/connect with Chip, which is a serious problem when you're the head coach and general manager. Based on everything we heard it sounded like the pros were skeptical of Kelly's methods, and losing wore away their trepidation with complaining about it.

Mark Saltveit: This shouldn't be a surprise, timing aside, though I thought Lurie would give him more time.  Chip asked for all the power, no excuses, all on him. He felt "if we win, they'll love me, if we lose they'll hate me." He was right. The Eagles lost a lot of games. And Chip demanded to be judged by his record.

I think Chip was too stubborn and wasn't able to adjust to some realities of the pro game, notably the much smaller roster and much older players with accumulated injuries. He relaxed practices a bit, but his whole system is based on tempo, better conditioning, and sports science squeezing more out of players, while the simplified playbook allowed more reps and better execution.

Other coaches copied all of his best innovations -- everyone except Tom Coughlin uses sports science, read option plays are common now and even Bruce Arians runs the no-huddle.

But Chip's system is interlocking, each piece depending on the other.  It needs to be rethought because the talent level is so much higher and more consistent league wide, both with coaches and players, that the advantages of the system are vastly diminished while the limitations remain intact.

Dan Klausner: As I've said for a month now, the Eagles are the Browns, they're just the only ones who don't know it. Furthermore, the current state of the franchise is set to get a lot worse before it gets better as the ramifications of Chip Kelly's poor personnel decisions over the past 12 months will be felt for years.

After two narrow victories that could've propelled the team to rally and finish the season strong, it fell flat against the Cardinals and Redskins, which is to say the team continued its enduring malaise except without getting the help of turnovers/fluke plays. The first halves of both games were competitive, before devolving into the same brain-dead garbage we saw all season. I mean, how many times did the Eagles string together two consecutive impressive halves where every facet clicked and the team rolled? Was it even once? Chip Kelly demanded control over personnel so he could mold the team in his image, and then immediately molded it into a heaping pile of shit. Not enough talent, not enough development, not enough excitement, and certainly not enough coaching to overcome the numerous shortcomings. And about the last point: That's just the thing, the only thing worse than Chip the GM in 2015 was Chip the Head Coach. He was absolutely brutal. Conservative, dull, neutered, overmatched. Take your pick of defining moments, but for me it was Saturday night when he challenged the Riley Cooper drop. It's not like Kelly was in a time crunch and had to make a split-second decision before the other team snapped the ball. He had a chance to see every replay on the big screen -- though I don't know if they showed the final angle when Cooper rolled over and the nose of the ball hit the ground -- AND Pat Shurmur had a chance to see every TV replay in the coaches' box, which showed the definitive angle. Fucking bozos. I'm still waiting for the first NFL team to do the right thing and pay some 18-30 year old $100 per game to do nothing but watch TV replays and buzz the coach when he should throw the challenge flag.

As a staunch defender of Kelly over his first two years, I felt hoodwinked and duped by a false prophet in 2015. Despite hating his offseason and thinking this team had an 8-8 ceiling at best, I fooled myself into thinking preseason meant anything and jumped on board because I'm an idiot. Classic mistake. The season was a calamitous clusterfuck from literally the first snap. The only time I felt even a twinge of enjoyment was Jordan Matthews' game-winning touchdown catch in overtime against a depleted Cowboys team that would've won the division had Tony Romo not died. Turns out Chip's act rubbed people the wrong way and almost everyone in the building despised him, save for the handful of players who constantly came to his defense (the same ones he vocally adored, unsurprisingly). If you're not winning, every other part of your program as coach better be sound and inspire confidence that things will improve. Otherwise, this is what happens.

Dave: I'm not surprised or upset that Kelly was fired. He wanted it all, got it all, and failed miserably. Some might argue that  one year isn't enough, but the team declined in 2014 as well, and Lurie was very aware of this because it was one of the many reasons he fired Kelly. Chip Kelly was a revelation in 2013, but almost as soon as he burst onto the scene he regressed. There were red flags that we all ignored because the team was winning that now were strong forebearers of what became his downfall. He never went for two out of choice after the first game of his career, and he rarely went for it on fourth down, both of which were hallmarks of his college offense. We should have seen that as a warning sign that he was neutering himself. The 2015 offense was bland, predictable and awful. This wasn't the offense Jeffrey Lurie paid for.

It seems that what really did him in was that he alienated some of his best players while inexplicably favoring some of his worst. When a team is winning we sweep that under the rug. But when guys like Jason Peters and Jeremy Maclin aren't happy with the coach, that's a problem. When his hand-picked players aren't happy with him, that's a problem.

In October of 2012 I wanted Chip Kelly to replace Andy Reid. I thought he was going to be an exception to the rule of college coaches at the NFL level. And early on, it seemed he would be. He leaves Philly with a far better head coaching record than many of his college peers. But in the end, he really was no different than Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino or Lou Holtz: completely unable to understand and lead a team of professionals, which is as important as anything in the NFL. All surface, no feeling. I was wrong. Jeffrey Lurie was wrong. Thankfully he realized that sooner rather than later.

Howie Roseman is going to be part of the coaching search. Many thought it was a bad idea to keep him around, but here he is, and he "won the war." Should he be, or should Lurie have done a total house cleaning?

Patrick: This should have absolutely been a total house cleaning, but what this tells me is that Lurie values Roseman's input to a surprising degree. If Roseman is indeed staying on as GM, it's strange to me that Lurie would banish him to a VP suite only to bring him back ten months later. That's gotta be awkward.

And really, I can't fault Howie for this - he's playing the game because he wants to be an NFL GM. To me this is more about ownership feeling comfortable with Howie having the most power on the football side of things. And that's a concern to me.

Mark: No. Cleaning house makes a lot of sense, but taking two steps backwards makes none.

Any decent coaching candidate will be leery of Howie's long knives. The Marynowitz firing in particular was a petty and short-sighted move.

Someone ought to write a book or a soap opera about Howie's machinations. He's like Petra on "Jane the Virgin," always finding a way to claw back into power and dispatch rivals.

Consider this: Marcus Smith might start next year now that Roseman is back on top.

Dan: I've had Howie Roseman's back in the past and am biased because he treated me well during my time as an intern with the team, but he's the one common denominator from the last five years of bullshit. Regardless of the extent to which he's the snake people claim, there's no denying the amount of smoke that follows him around. Roseman was an asset when it came to maintaining a young roster and navigating the cap favorably, but he couldn't be classified as a strong GM due to some key draft errors. He was OK, with some flashes that made you hopeful but an overall body of work that left you relatively uninspired. Oh my God, Howie Roseman is the Sam Bradford of GMs.

If Lurie was truly, honestly intent on fixing the mess he's created, he'd acknowledge that he committed more than one mistake here, do a clean sweep and start from scratch. There's too much poison in the well to think reinstalling Roseman is the panacea. Lurie, however, has never not had an ally close to the day-to-day operations of his football team, a lieutenant he could trust to take the pulse of his on-field investment and keep him on top of things. He's Jerry Jones with a proxy. The Eagles need an adult -- more than one, actually -- running the show, and preferably for it to be someone who's not attached at the hip with the owner.

Dave: I talked about this a bit earlier today, but yeah, Roseman should have been fired last year. The deposed don't get to stick around in a coup, which was what happened in January. Keeping Roseman had no upside, if he was good enough to keep around he wouldn't have been stripped of power, and while he wasn't as bad of a GM as his detractors think he was, he also wasn't good enough to keep around either. His cap management skills were as good as it gets, but they weren't unique. That there will be no GM is bad sign, it makes me wonder what lessons were really learned from the Chip Kelly Experiment.

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