It's no secret that former Eagles president Joe Banner is a big fan of Chip Kelly as a coach. Banner (unsuccessfully) tried to bring Kelly to the Cleveland Browns in 2013. He also called Kelly a top five coach last summer.
But what does Banner thinking of Kelly the general manager? You may or may not be surprised to see he thinks pretty highly of Kelly in this regard as well. Take a look at what Banner had to say in a recent interview with The MMQB. He believes that the Eagles have made significant upgrades this offseason.
"I think he is getting players that he believes are very talented that best fit the way he wants to use them. We’ve heard for years about one of the things [Bill] Belichick does is he finds people that fit what he does. You may think that LeSean McCoy is a very good back. I happen to think he’s a very good back. But I think it’s safe to assume that Chip thinks Murray fits what he is looking for in a back better. He really traded dollars there to a back that may just fit what he does better. I think it’s safe to assume, or he wouldn’t have made the move.
They clearly made a decision they had to upgrade the talent at certain positions on defense, and I think they succeeded in doing that. And frankly, it appears the initial plan on offense may have been a little bit different than what they ended up doing, which is why I believe that if these guys are able to stay healthy, they have actually collectively improved the team quite a significant amount. It looks like he had a plan that had some flexibility, which is a very good thing. When an opportunity presented itself to pick up a player that probably, or at least appears to be, not in the original plan but made the team better, he was able to change direction and get a deal done. That’s not something that everybody can do, and I think it’s a very valuable thing to have in a coach."
Banner even went on to say that more teams should be operating more aggressively like Kelly has this offseason.
"There is a tremendous emphasis put on continuity in the NFL. There is a tremendous emphasis put on people that know how to do what you want them to do. And that is important, but it can become overrated, and then teams become afraid of making moves. I know Chip believes [continuity] matters, too. Anybody in the NFL that has knowledge believes that. But you can take the point too far, and then you get paralyzed. I think Chip saw an opportunity here, with him being relatively still new in his tenure, with a system he is still implementing, to not feel like he was unable to radically change the roster to be more conforming to what he wants he do, and not overrate the importance of continuity. I think that’s what’s refreshing here. That’s good. I think it’s smart. I think more teams should have been doing this sooner. I think maybe you’ll see it become more common now. Not to this degree; this is very significant. But to see more aggressive moves made that still value continuity, but not overvalue it."
Banner declined to talk about the Eagles' power struggle, but he touched on a number of other topics including LeSean McCoy, Marcus Mariota, and more.
Kelly's moves this offseason have been nothing short of controversial. Banner was of Philadelphia's success in the early 2000's but he wasn't exactly the most popular guy in town due to his tough negotiating style with players. In this case, Banner seems to approve of the negotiations Kelly has made.