Monday, October 5, 2015

The Dirty Little Secret About Chip Kelly As A Coach

Bad Coach Walking
Even he doesn't believe in his team, or strategies, any more.

Take a look at the game tapes from Kelly's first and second year, and you'll see faster tempo, regardless of who is under center -- Nick Foles, Mike Vick, Matt Sanchez, and even Matt Barkley. Kelly used to push tempo because he thought that he had the better team, and more snaps would show it, and even if the game was a trainwreck (see Barkley against Dallas and New York in his rookie year), he'd stay the course, because he believed in what he was doing.

Now, he's going to Detention Mode way early with leads, because he has more confidence in his defense than his offense, despite the fact that the defense was down both starting CBs, and 2 of the 3 starting MLBs. I don't think this is on Sam Bradford, either -- because if it were, Kelly would have thrown him under the bus for it. (He's done it with other QBs.)

It goes further. In Kelly's first two years, there was all kinds of exotic formations, many of which we didn't really need to see again, but the point is made. Swinging gate field goal point afters, 3-man lines with a ton of WRs, dual RBs, etc., etc. Now that six of the last seven games that both teams were actually trying to win have gone down in flaming defeat, or roughly three years worth of losing from the college game where his stuff worked without question, Kelly is coaching not to lose, with a roster filled with guys that are going to do nothing but that.

Young players used to be force-fed into situations. Now, they work limited snaps -- unless the man ahead of them got hurt, at which point they go into the exact same role and responsibility, because changing the scheme could make a sloppy team just look even worse.

To be fair, it's not as if the personnel is doing much to help him out. After WR Nelson Agholor made the first very good play of his NFL career with the one-arm grab that reminded QB Sam Bradford that throwing deep is not only allowed but encouraged, Kelly called his first trick play of 2015, and maybe his last, given how they executed it. The give to RB Ryan Mathews, who flipped to Agholor, was wide open if there was any kind of tolerable exchange. Instead, Mathews screwed it up, Agholor didn't recover, and Washington had all it needed to keep the offense bottled up for another drive. Only borderline heroism by the defense kept the game in touch at that point.

Will Kelly stop coaching to lose, especially now that many of the offensive linemen that weren't getting the job done are going down to injury, and street-level personnel is getting in the game? It's hard to say. As bad as losing to the Slurs was, it was Bradford's best game, along with Agholor's, and if the offense had done anything in the first half, or if they get a kicker that can do anything, they probably win this game. They might not later, because this run defense is going to be ground into dust as the snaps and losses mount, but so be it.

The standing joke about the Eagles has been that Nero the Coach has been killed by Nero the GM. But to be honest, neither guy is worthy of employment.

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