Monday, March 9, 2015

6 comments David Steele Wonders Why Chip Kelly Hasn't Won a Super Bowl Yet

I wrote this a few days ago and wasn't going to post it yet, but since Chip Kelly is getting rid of every offensive player on the roster, I figured I may as well post it now before the Eagles release another player who performed well this past season. My feelings haven't changed about Kelly. He's been in the NFL two seasons and if he didn't want to pay Maclin, that's his prerogative (as Bobby Brown would say). He's definitely putting his future in his own hands. If Jackson can be replaced then I don't doubt Maclin could be too. So I still think David Steele is being unfair. In unrelated news, we still have open spots in the fantasy baseball league and if anyone wants to join then send me an email to and I will send you an invite. So, onto David Steele being unfair.

I've kidded a bit about Chip Kelly and his reputation as a football genius. Peter King had the "Wisdom of Chip Kelly" as part of MMQB this year and I generally feel that Kelly is given wide berth as a genius among sportswriters because he seems to not rely on coach-speak when talking. Kelly does use coach-speak, but it's a more honest and higher level of coach-speak. I haven't bought completely into the Great Genius of Chip Kelly quite yet, but I also haven't written him off as a bad NFL head coach. He's 20-12 with Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez and Mike Vick as his quarterbacks. That's certainly nothing to complain about. David Steele does have an issue with how Chip Kelly has all this power and why he hasn't won a Super Bowl title yet. Considering Kelly has only coached in the NFL for two years and took over a 4-12 team, this seems a bit unfair to me.

Steele even says, "The clock is ticking" on Chip Kelly winning a championship. Wow, that's not unfair, that's just dumb.

Chip Kelly is flexing his newly-grown official muscles, as proven by the upcoming trade of LeSean McCoy. There’s no question who is the boss on the Eagles, if there had been any question for at least the past year.

I recognize the running back position feels overrated and is being undervalued at the present time. Still, I'm not sure how I feel about LeSean McCoy getting traded for a linebacker, even if Kiko Alonso is a pretty good linebacker. Having said that, Chip Kelly is the boss and has been the boss in Philadelphia. The trade of McCoy isn't a sign that Kelly does/doesn't know what he is doing. It's simply a sign that he doesn't value running backs at the compensation level that McCoy receives. This trade doesn't suddenly put Kelly on the clock. McCoy is a running back, it's not like Kelly traded the franchise quarterback or anything.

There is a question, however, about what he’s done to earn all that power, the kind that gives him the benefit of the doubt when, in consecutive years this early in his tenure, he unloads players of the stature of McCoy and DeSean Jackson.

What has Kelly done to earn this power? I'll make the list...

1. The Philadelphia Eagles gave him this power.

2. He went 46-7 in Oregon with an innovative offense.

3. He has gone 20-12 in two seasons as the Eagles' head coach. That's two 10-6 seasons in a row.

So Kelly has earned the power he has through distinguishing himself as someone who sort of knows what he's doing when coaching a football team. He's not quite the genius the sports media wants him to be, but he's pretty good at his job.

One thing that’s certain that should give everybody pause: Kelly’s position on a prestigious list that everyone on it wishes he could get off of.

The fact that Kelly unloaded Jackson and still led the Eagles to a 10-6 season is a reason he gets the benefit of some doubt. The Eagles replaced Jackson's production with 192 receptions and 2577 yards from Jeremy Maclin, Darren Sproles, and Jordan Matthews. The Eagles were fine after Jackson was let go and they could very well be fine after McCoy is let go. Time will tell, but trading good players who are expensive isn't a knock against Kelly or indication he doesn't know what he's doing.

Now, as for that list everyone on it wishes they could get off of...get ready for some ridiculousness.

That’s the list of the best coaches in big-time sports who have never won a championship, like the list Sporting News put together.

But, but, but why would Chip Kelly be on this list? He has coached in the NFL for two seasons. TWO SEASONS! Why not throw Todd Bowles on that list of coaches who have never won a championship while he is at it? Jim Harbaugh hasn't won a title either. Kelly was only at Oregon for four seasons. I mean, I'm an impatient person, but it's unrealistic to throw Chip Kelly on a list of coaches who have never won a championship when he's been a head coach for a total of six seasons. Let's have some perspective here.

There’s Kelly, with a wide berth to re-make the Eagles to his liking, coincidentally with several players from his days at Oregon — despite no championships in four years at Oregon, and one playoff berth and no playoff wins in two seasons in Philadelphia.

Kelly made a national title game at Oregon, only to lose to an Auburn team that was an inexplicable juggernaut. Kelly has taken an Eagles team that was 4-12 and led them to back-to-back winning seasons. Yes, he has no playoff wins in the one try he had to win a playoff game. I think David Steele is being just a little bit hard on Kelly.

Kelly, then, had better turn this upheaval, this power play, into a title.

Immediately after listing all of the disappointment that Kelly has had in his two seasons as an NFL head coach with LeSean McCoy on the roster, David Steele acts like trading away LeSean McCoy was a dumb move that won't allow the team to reach the heights they reached previously. It's fun to knock the performance of Kelly's team with McCoy on the roster and then act like Kelly ruined a championship club by trading McCoy.

But belief in Kelly’s coaching, management and team-constructing acumen exceeds the actual results.

He was 46-7 at Oregon. He's 20-12 in the NFL. The extreme belief in Chip Kelly is probably overblown, but his actual production is really pretty good at this point. Considering how other college coaches come into the NFL and fall flat on their face, Kelly has done a great job of winning football games with three quarterbacks (four if you count Matt Barkley) who really aren't exactly the pick of the litter.

His 46-7 Oregon record and 20-12 NFL record are nothing for which he should apologize. Eventually, if more time passes without the Eagles approaching the largely-unappreciated success level of the man he replaced, Andy Reid, he won’t have to apologize, but he’ll have to explain.

Oh, okay. So Kelly's coaching, management, and team-constructing acumen exceeds his actual results if we project that Kelly won't ever achieve more than he's already achieved in the NFL. So yeah, Kelly's reputation would be overblown if the assumption is that he will continue to not win playoff games in the future.

Without question, Kelly inherited a gigantic task in 2013 from the end of the Reid regime, and that of the personnel heads he worked with (including Tom Heckart, Joe Banner and Howie Roseman). A 4-12 team leaves a mess. 

Notice how Steele is pulling the old "Give the person credit because it's nearly impossible to take credit away from this person" trick before holding Kelly to an unfair standard. Sure, Kelly took over a team that was a mess and had personnel issues, but he hasn't won a Super Bowl over the past two seasons, so what's up with that? Kelly is doing a great job, but isn't he a bit of a disappointment so far?

It’s still early in the 2015 offseason, and there likely will be more change.

It’s who and why the rest are gone — and what the end game is.

It seems the endgame is to build the Eagles team in the mold of what Chip Kelly wants his team to look like. Again, I don't get why David Steele is pointing out how that Kelly hasn't won a title yet over his two seasons in the NFL and then thinks it's odd that Kelly is turning over players on the roster. Steele wants it both ways. He wants to say Kelly has underachieved, but also criticize Kelly for trying to rectify this perceived underachievement.

For a team whose record improved as quickly as it did, the Eagles not only have major holes to fill on both sides of the ball, they have a late-season collapse to answer for, and a genuine Super Bowl contender in the Cowboys in front of them in their own division.

Like I say, I joke a lot about the media perceiving Chip Kelly as a genius above all other geniuses and how they hang on every word that he speaks as if it were the greatest word ever spoken in the English language. Chip Kelly has shown himself to be a pretty good NFL head coach so far. Yeah, he hasn't won a Super Bowl yet, but he's also working on his third season as the Eagles head coach. I would also hold off on the Cowboys being "genuine" Super Bowl contender until Jason Garrett proves he can have back-to-back seasons where his team doesn't go 8-8. It's almost like with a roster full of major holes, that Chip Kelly has done a good job so far, and his attempts to fill these holes by shedding salaries isn't a terrible idea. 

Kelly, author of an offensive system praised and envied at every level of the game, needs a new running back

This supposedly is a good draft to need a running back. 

possibly a premier receiver if he can’t re-sign Jeremy Maclin, an upgraded offensive line and, apparently, a quarterback. 

The team has a lot of needs, that's for sure. There are a lot of other NFL teams that seem to have questions at multiple positions. Chip Kelly has won 20 games with Mark Sanchez, Mike Vick and Nick Foles as his quarterback. That's fairly impressive, so the Eagles' need for a quarterback shouldn't be too concerning. Supposedly working with quarterbacks and choosing the right guy for the quarterback job is a strength of Kelly's. 

The one he wants, his former Oregon star Marcus Mariota, might be out of his reach on draft day.

Do we know that Kelly wants Mariota or has this been repeated so many times now that it's almost accepted as a fact? And again, Kelly has won 20 games with a third round pick and two quarterbacks that no other team really wanted as their starter. 

Never mind Plan B if that doesn’t pan out. Plan A isn’t all that clear, except that he’s sent a message about the kind of players he likes and the financial value he puts on them.

And of course, if Plan A isn't clear to a sportswriter then that means Plan A must stink. Sportswriters are the all-knowing brilliant minds that all long and short-term plans must be run by, so because David Steele doesn't understand what Kelly's plan is then that must mean the plan stinks. 

This purge hasn’t been about being old or unproductive. Jackson was 27 and was their No. 1 receiver. McCoy was 26, a year removed from a rushing title and had gained more than 1,300 yards in an off-year.

They were both carrying big contracts, which can’t be ignored.

I don't think anybody but you is ignoring the big contracts that McCoy and Jackson had. You are the one who is confused as to what the plan is behind letting these players go, while acknowledging why the Eagles let these players go.

Their replacements may be more affordable, but last year, when Kelly said he wanted to go "in a different direction" at receiver,Jackson’s replacements didn’t compensate for him.

This is an absolute lie. Zach Ertz increased his production from his rookie year, and as I detailed earlier, three receivers who didn't play on the Eagles team during the 2013 season accounted for 192 receptions and 2577 yards during the 2014 season. Jeremy Maclin alone compensated for the loss of Jackson and the addition of Jordan Matthews and Darren Sproles more than compensated for losing Jackson. Don't just write things that aren't factual simply because you really, really want them to be factual. It's still a lie.

With the same record as the year before, the Eagles missed the playoffs.

And of course if the Eagles had DeSean Jackson they would not have missed the playoffs. Isn't the fact the Eagles had the same record in 2013 as 2014 show that the NFC East was stronger in 2014 than it was in 2013? Of course not! It shows that the Eagles should have kept DeSean Jackson and the 10-6 record is a direct result of not keeping Jackson. The Eagles' record stayed the same when DeSean Jackson was let go, so this is a regression of sorts. Of course.

Coaches aren’t handed the mantle of greatness for running in place. 

A lot of NFL teams would take back-to-back 10-6 years and accept "running in place" with this record. But sure, characterize the Eagles' record however fits your present agenda for this column. Yes, coaches who run in place aren't handed greatness, but coaches who have coached in the NFL for two years aren't expected to necessarily be great yet. 

If true contention for a championship doesn’t follow soon, then Kelly will have to justify why his way was the better way. 

That's true. Perhaps before writing the column about how the plan Kelly has is confusing and mentioning that Kelly hasn't won a Super Bowl title yet, David Steele should wonder with this criticism he has of Chip Kelly, if he is holding Kelly to the same level of genius that he claims others are absurdly expecting Kelly to achieve.


Anonymous said...

It's always fun when sportswriters go way too far in direction (CHIP KELLY IS A GENIUS!), and then swing way too far in the other direction (CHIP KELLY HASN'T WON A SUPER BOWL!) to overcompensate. It's reminiscent to me of how they treat Robert Griffin. He used to be a god to them, and now they can't wait to bury him. How about we just admit he was never as good as they said, and by the same token not as bad today as they say?

Chris said...

Well if we want to believe Stephen A. Smith's opinion of Chip Kelly's roster moves it's all because he is a racist. Which would clearly explain why he traded for Kiko Alonso and signed Frank Gore.

Ericb said...

Well Kelly's certainly no Jeff Fisher!

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, do you know how hard I worked to not create a strawman argument about Jeff Fisher? By the way, this Eagles success that David Steele is talking about...well, Andy Reid never won a Super Bowl either. I forgot to mention that.

Anon, if you are going to be moderate about Chip Kelly then you could never have a career in sports journalism. He's not a genius and he has some sort of plan, but has won games so far. Let's give him time and see if this works out. If it doesn't, bash him all you want. Those extreme views get attention and pageviews, so that's why sportswriters do shit like that.

Chris, I did not hear SAS's rant about Kelly. Thank God I didn't. It also wouldn't explain why he drafted Jordan Matthews and just gave Byron Maxwell a huge contract.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that there are only 7 active NFL coaches who have won a Super Bowl, right? Belicheck, Coughlin, Tomlin, Payton, McCarthy, Harbaugh and Carroll. Articles like this make the author sound like an idiot. There's only one winner each year (can't believe I have to explain that). Chip's been in the league 2 seasons, give the guy a chance.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, Kelly's plan does seem rather odd right now. I have to admit that, but he's building his team his way. Bradford has talent when he's healthy. I'm glad for the Rams that they traded him.

But yes, this whole "he hasn't won a Super Bowl yet" thing is ridiculous. Neither has Jim Harbaugh and he was treated like the resident genius. Let's see how it all shakes out with the Eagles and then bash Kelly. It will be much more fun to wait to bash him for his ego if this all falls apart.