Patrick Daughtery of RotoWorld recently released his annual ranking of all 32 NFL head coaches. It's an interesting read, so go ahead and click the link. Here's where Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly ranked.
"6. For Chip Kelly’s detractors — of which there are legion — 2014 was another brick in the wall of his ongoing exposure. "Forget a national title at Oregon — the guy who’s ‘revolutionizing football’ can’t even win the NFC East?" It’s simplistic pablum, the kind Billy Beane has stared down for years in baseball. You don’t have to dig deep to find Kelly’s impact. Let’s just ignore all the things happening outside of public view, like the way Kelly is changing everything from how the league practices to how it sleeps. Let’s focus on something really basic. In two years as an NFL head coach, Kelly has amassed 20 wins and a .625 winning percentage. He’s done so with Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez making 81 percent of the starts at quarterback. That would be lead-footed Nick Foles and 56.3 percent career passer Mark Sanchez. The two most important physical traits for a Kelly quarterback are repetitive accuracy and fleet feet. Foles and Sanchez have neither, and yet here Kelly is, 2-for-2 in 10-win seasons. No, they don’t hang banners for 10-win campaigns, but two years in, Kelly’s plan remains right on schedule. Maybe Kelly will never win a title, but he’s already changed the game."
I have to admit, I thought Kelly would have dropped in the rankings. Despite going 10-6, the Eagles season ended on a bad note with the team losing three important games down the stretch. Whereas Kelly's first year was surprising and surpassed expectations, his second was a bit of a letdown.
Still, 20-12 in two years is far from bad. Especially, as Daughtery notes, without always having stellar quarterback play. The Eagles led the NFL in turnovers in 2014 but still managed to score a franchise-record 474 points, which broke last year's record of 442. The Eagles also set team records in touchdowns, completions, gross passing yards, 300-yard passing game, and first downs.
Moving forward, the Eagles need to make the leap from "good" to great. Everyone has their own ideas of how the Eagles can get there. Now that Kelly has control over the player personnel department, it's up to him to make the right decisions to get him there. And for a guy whose plan is "score f***ing points", it's hard not to imagine his plan involves sustaining a strong offensive identity. That means not settling for "good enough" and getting back to an elite unit.
The five coaches to finish ahead of Kelly include: Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, John Harbaugh, Bruce Arians, and Sean Payton. Hardly bad company. Former Eagles coach Andy Reid dropped to 10th after being seventh last year. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin stayed at nine, Cowboys' Jason Garrett made a big leap from 24th to 13th, and Jay Gruden finished 22nd.
Except for Arians, all of the other head coaches hired in 2013 finished lower than Kelly: Reid (10), Mike McCoy (14), Gus Bradley (21). Marc Trestman was fired by the Bears following the season and Doug Marrone opted out of his contract with the Buffalo Bills.
Where would you rank Kelly?