Chip Kelly is Headed Back to College
Bob Whalon | 01/02/15 | 7:07 PM EST 0 Comments
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There seems to be a battle brewing between Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and GM Howie Roseman and I think it will lead Kelly straight back to college.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is headed back to college.....in 2016.

The news that the Eagles fired vice president of player personnel Tom Gamble is what is going to push Kelly over the edge and back into the arms of a big-time college program with an endless supply of money.  And Gamble was just the collateral damage in the on-going power struggle between Kelly and GM Howie Roseman.

You see, Kelly brought Gamble to the Eagles, from San Francisco.  Kelly hand-picked Gamble to be the head "football guy" in the Eagles organization, since Roseman is "the cap guy".  Those aren't my words, that is exactly what Chip Kelly says about Gamble and Roseman and it apparently ticked off pencil-pusher Roseman to the point of running to team owner Jeffrey Lurie and holding his breath and stomping his feet, until he got his way.  This is very, very bad news for Eagles fans.

The fact that Lurie sided with Roseman in a pissing match between the GM and the head coach will most definitely send Chipper back to his more familiar surroundings in the college ranks where he literally won't have to answer to anybody.  If you don't think so, then look out west to San Francisco (ironically where Gamble came from) and see how that mess between 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and the GM, Trent Baalke turned out.  Harbaugh is a complete jerk, who wears out his welcome wherever he goes, but he took the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game three times and the Super Bowl once in his four years there, while compiling a 44-19 record.  If a guy with that much success can be forced out when an owner sides with his GM in a fight with the head coach, then you shouldn't be surprised at what is happening in Philly.

Kelly has had back-to-back 10-6 seasons, but that isn't necessarily a good thing.  Kelly won a bad NFC East and made the playoffs in his first year, but missed the playoffs this season when the Eagles tanked by losing 3 of their last 4 games.  You may not realize this, but Lurie looks for a scapegoat whenever things don't go well.  It's what spoiled little trust fund kids, who never worked a real day in their pathetic lives, do.

Gamble joins a long list of talented "football guys" who have been tossed aside by Lurie in favor of Roseman.  In 2010, Tom Heckert was forced out because he was former head coach Andy Reid's "football guy".  Ryan Grigson, Gamble's predecessor, left in 2012.  Grigson is now a fairly success GM in Indianapolis, by the way.  And finally in 2013, director of pro personnel Lou Riddick was let go.  It seems that Lurie is playing favorites and he's favoring the "cap guy".

There have been rumblings all year that Kelly and Roseman didn't get along, which is strange since Roseman was the one who wouldn't take no for an answer from Chip when he originally turned the Eagles coaching job down.  Now, it seems that the final straw was when Kelly insulted Roseman during his season-ending press conference on Monday.
When Kelly was asked about Gamble, he described him as "a heck of a football guy."  When asked about his relationship with Roseman, he gave a one word answer: "good".  Or not so good, eh Chipper?

Kelly further dissed Roseman by saying, "I'm in charge of the roster in terms of who are 53 are, so I have to weigh in on that.  But I also know there are other factors, salary cap money and the numbers and all those other things.  Howie does a great job with that stuff.  But I have to tell them who I want and who I don't want."
That's what got Gamble fired.

Lurie has gone on record repeatedly to praise Roseman for the 2012 draft that produced Pro Bowl players like Nick Foles, Mychal Kendricks and Fletcher Cox.  He also absolved Roseman of any blame for other draft busts like first round pick Danny Watkins, even though Roseman was the GM when that pick was made.  Now the new coach comes in and is trying to take all the credit away from Lurie's pet.  Apparently that didn't sit so well.

Lurie's front office structure is now being described as dysfunctional, due to the fact that he has Kelly, Roseman and team president Don Smolenski, who handles the business side, all answering directly to the owner.  Leave it to a guy who bought the team entirely with money his grandmother gave him to come up with such a stupid organizational structure.  And now this move by Lurie and Roseman is going to cause them to lose their head coach.

Just two years after becoming the talk of the league by signing the "offensive genius" that was Chip Kelly at Oregon, Lurie and Roseman are all but forcing Kelly out.  It defies logic.
Obviously, Roseman has Lurie's ear and is filling it with ideas like "Hey Jeff, it was Chip's idea to draft Marcus Smith.  Chip keeps taking these Oregon players who stink.  It was all Chip's idea to cut DeSean Jackson."  

Now I will admit that those three things are pretty damning factors against Kelly, but that doesn't mean I want Roseman making all of the football decisions for the franchise.  Roseman's background is in law and accounting, not scouting.  That doesn't mean that he can't be a good GM, with an eye for talent.  But it also doesn't mean that he should get his panties in a bunch and force out all the "football guys" in the Eagles organization because his ego gets easily bruised.  Gamble is already rumored to be on the short list of candidates to become the new GM for the Chicago Bears, so he obviously has a good reputation around the league.

I was skeptical when Kelly made the jump to the NFL in the first place, since it neatly coincided with the NCAA finding a couple of major rules violations from Kelly and his staff at Oregon.  That seems to have gone away now though (Phil Knight's Nike billions might have had something to do with that going away), so there is nothing preventing Kelly from jumping right back into his comfort zone in college.  Harbaugh just got a seven-year contract from Michigan at $5 million per year.  Imagine what Kelly could get from some big college next offseason.  Heck, Florida was already sniffing around Kelly during this NFL season.  Kelly would be the hottest name for any college head coaching job in the nation.  Bar none.

I always figured Kelly was going to follow the lead of guys like Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier and head back to the college ranks, after a short stay in the NFL.  I just didn't think it would be after only three short years in the NFL.  Now I'm convinced that's the way it's going to play out.  And Eagles fans will have Jeffrey Lurie and his "cap guy" GM Howie Roseman to thank for it.
In this Article: NFL | PHILADELPHIA EAGLES | CHIP KELLY | OREGON

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