Tuesday, December 29, 2015

20 Takeaways About Chip Kelly's Release

Hold It In Your Hands, Again
20) Note the wording: release. If you like to imagine that Eagles' owner Jeff Lurie has a stiletto wit, it's the same word used to get rid of DeSean Jackson. So Kelly didn't just get fired. He got scraped off the bottom of Lurie's shoes. With a press release that wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavours.

19)  In a side note, I don't really blame Lurie for much of this. Hiring the guy was a bold shove, the kind we want our laundry to take. Giving him the keys to the personnel file was even bolder, especially in the light of the Jackson fiasco, but still a defensible gamble. It didn't work. Taking that shot, and then moving on, does not make him the bad guy in this, or turn the franchise into Browns East. It makes him able to cut his losses and move on. I'm not going to kill the guy for trying something new, or thinking that the hire was notably worse than, say, Gus Bradley or Jay Gruden.

18)  The people in my social media feed who think the Eagles acted rashly? None of them cover the team. None of them are fans of the laundry. None of them, one suspects, watched the last 19 games, tried to root for obvious wastes of sperm and dignity like Mark Sanchez, Riley Cooper, Marcus Smith and so many others. I get that innovation in a football coach is it's own reward, but wake up and smell the coffee, people. When no one in town is doing anything but a victory dance, it's not a bad firing. Don't listen to sports talk radio; no area is entirely filled with idiots.

17) How big of a victory dance? My phone damn near exploded, for hours, with people who were ready to share in the good news. I heard Eagle fans be happy, truly happy, without reservations or conditions, for the first time in a year. Some, the ones who lost faith in the losses in Year One, more than that.

16) The revisionist history of how the first two years of Kelly, before he got sabotaged by his own damned self as GM, were Camelot? Well, good years don't end in home playoff losses and falling apart down the stretch to miss the playoffs, in dumpster fire divisions. Good years come in seasons where you, at the very least, win a playoff game. That makes you one of the last eight teams, in a league of 32. It's not an insane standard. And it's one that the franchise hasn't achieved while Barack Obama has been President. What Kelly achieved was that he got to the playoffs, in a terrible division, with another man's players. Then he got more of his players, and didn't get to the playoffs. Then he got almost all of his players, and made a dumpster fire. He was fired for every good reason.

15) Why did Lurie do this so suddenly? My guess is that he got tired of listening to lies and delusions. Either that, or Howie Roseman finally wore him down, or he wanted to throw the Chump a bone by acting with Tempo. (In a side note, if Roseman wasn't named Howie, no one in town would have a real problem with the guy.)

14) The idea that Kelly as a coach is something to be salvaged, and that it's just a matter of being a bad GM... well, um, good coaches don't make the litany of terrible play calls that Kelly made over the years. Good coaches don't trust the season on a pitch to DeMarco Murray, the play he hasn't made work all year, in the rain. Bad coaches do that. And bad coaches get fired.

13) Kelly reportedly said that he was "disappointed" by the decision. Me too. I was hoping he'd be hung from his ankles, like Mussolini.

12) Some are saying how fast the fall is, and the 7-12 over the past 19 games seems so sudden, as to not merit a dismissal. But the wins *before* that were driven by special teams, turnovers,  flukes, smoke, mirrors... and in one of the worst divisions in football. Look around. The read option isn't winning games on its own. And winning 10 games for two years in a row doesn't get your name on anything that anyone gives a damn about.

11) Or, to put it simpler: If you owned the team and watched the DC loss on Saturday, one of five utterly galling home losses this year (remember the Dallas game? How about Tampa? Miami? Arizona?) would you ever want that guy to coach another game for your team?

Hell, would you ever let that guy in your building? Even if he bought a ticket?

10) Make no mistake about it, cutting a coach before the season is even over is a special level of Get The Hell Out, And I Don't Care If The Door Hits You On The Ass. It's something every Eagle Fan should be *grateful* for, if only so we can see the team play out of its mind on Sunday in New York. (And blow draft and the schedule for next year, but screw it; they aren't winning this division next year, either.) But honestly, such was the depth of the fouling of the bed here, such was the degree of the fraud, such was the lack of return on investment, that any more minutes spent in command were a waste.

9) And for all of those geishas that claimed we were all being mean mean mean by saying the team quit on Kelly after the Detroit debacle, and that the fluke wins over New England and Buffalo showed the fraud just needed more time... look, let's not put too fine a point on this. This defense was tolerable to good for the first half of the year. Then it became historically bad. If that's not quitting, I don't know what is. You don't get blown out by so much, so often, and still have a majority of the players ready to run through a wall for you. This wasn't going to get better after an off-season of shuffling and sessions. This was only going to get more obvious.

8) As for the next guy who gets the gig? Well, my hat's off to him. No second round pick, a ton of skill players who aren't good enough, major pieces in Sam Bradford (maybe) and Kiko Alonso that are massive injury and performance risks, a home stadium that has provided no advantage, and the worst media in America, who just spent three years in the company of a guy they hated. For an owner that's been doing this for 21 years, and lost his head and heart to the last guy. Not an easy gig. Not an easy hire. Nor for the GM slot, either.

7) The new defensive coordinator should switch to a 4-3, so he can actually get Fletcher Cox back to where he belongs, and maybe resuscitate Vinny Curry. We also get one of our godawful LBs off the field that. The new DC is probably going to have to live with most of the personnel, and hope like hell that he can get them out of the mind funk that Davis preached. I suspect there are salvageable parts here, but the scheme has to be rooted out like malware.

6) Your next coach will not now, and will not ever, get his hands on the GM role. Which is how it should be. Everybody wants to find the new Bill Belichick, but you can't force it.

5) As for the guys who are gone... well, they are gone. They aren't coming back. Your only real hope is that DeSean Jackson doesn't go on to have the Cris Carter career, and stays more on that Terrell Owens path. (And can the new people in charge please do us the very small favor of not gifting stud wideouts to NFC rivals? Thanks.) It's football. Careers aren't generally that long, but it's good to see that the guys that left will be drawing NFL checks longer than the flim flam man.

4) Joining those guys very, very soon? Everyone with Oregon Duck underwear, I hope. Absolutely gone are the guys who should never have been here, which is Cooper, Sanchez, Kenjon Barner, Brandon Bair, Taylor Hart, Thad Lewis, Ed Reynolds, Smith and Matt Tobin. Probably gone are iffy ducks like Josh Huff, Seyi Ajirotutu, Beau Allen, Josh Andrews, Matt Tobin and the vast majority of practice squad and IR guys, with the exception of Jordan Hicks.

3) Getting into harder choices... if I'm the new guy, I don't want to sink time into DeMeco Ryans, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles or Brent Celek, because they are, at best, declining investments. You probably can't get away from suspects Jason Kelce, DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso, Nelson Agholor and Mychal Kendricks, because turning over the entire roster in a year isn't possble, but I wouldn't be telling any of those guys to buy real estate until they show me a lot more.

2) And then there's the many million dollar question: Sam Bradford. He's a better fit now that no one is expecting him to run the ball like a goober, and he's the only guy in the last month whose play has improved. But he's still going to cost a lot, and lives on sad excuses for knees. I'd be tempted to franchise him, but only because I don't want to have to spend a #1 on a QB when the line is garbage, and I don't think he's liable to take a hometown discount when the only thing he has to rely on is Jeremy Matthews, Zach Ertz, and maybe Ryan Mathews. The only difference between that and his old Ram teams is the lack of a dome, and an easier division.

Which brings us to the next coach. If you want to make Bradford comfortable, you promote OC Fritz Shurmur, who had him before in St. Louis and spent the year with him. But if you want to actually build a contender for more than the clown car crown, you probably need some young and hungry no name no life, kind of like when the club hired Dick Vermeil 40 years ago. It's probably better if the guy is more about offense than defense, because offense is more consistent year to year than defense, and hence, more important to get right. But honestly, the right guy makes both sides work, and doesn't play favorites. Lurie also doesn't get to even sniff a college guy again, because that well has been poisoned for a very long time.

1) Final point, for now?

Chip Kelly is gone.

And it's OK to root for, and care about, this team again.

Fly, Eagles, Fly...

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