The Philadelphia Eagles had to do something, so they hired Chip Kelly. By bringing his innovative, fast-paced college offense to the NFL, the Eagles gave Philadelphia fans something to be excited about. They also rescued Kelly from a violation-riddled program on the verge of a challenging rebuilding effort.
After a 4-12 season capped off Andy Reid‘s otherwise successful tenure in Philadelphia, the Eagles were reeling. Big-name free agents failed to pan out and injuries plagued a second-consecutive season that failed to finish above .500. A defensive system run by an offensive line coach and an offensive line that left Michael Vick on the bench for most of the season saw the Eagles’ “Dream Team” become a nightmare over two terrible seasons.
And so begins a new era for the Eagles, where Chip Kelly will either be a short-lived, gimmick coaching maneuver or an exciting solution for all of Philly’s woes.
Kelly led a relatively unknown college program to national prominence with his no-huddle offense, utilizing innovative formations, unrivaled athleticism, and a grueling pace to wear down opposing defenses. He is certainly an accomplished NCAA coach and one of the most talked about new coaches in football, but will he be able to transition into the NFL? Is Philadelphia’s new coach little more than a stunt to help Eagles fans forget how to spell Nnamdi Asomugha?
It seems unlikely that the Eagles will have the same advantages in athleticism that Kelly had in college. Defenses will be prepared for his speed and his trickery, and Chip Kelly will need to reinvent himself. The defense is still in shambles, and there will be a learning curve for the first-year NFL coach.
Still, the Eagles have one of the most dynamic players in football lined up at wide receiver, quarterback, and running back. Kelly is a great fit offensively, and Philadelphia will surely be better as a result. Besides, it can’t really get much worse, can it?