This will not be an issue as Kelly, besides collecting his $6.5 million a year from the Philadelphia Eagles, is busy shaping this team to make a run at the division. This may take time but, as Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh have shown, recently successful college coaches have made the transition to the pro game and Kelly is primed to join their company.
Carroll took over the Seattle Seahawks in 2010 after leaving the incoming sanctions against USC. He had a pair of 7-9 seasons before going 11-5 last year and making the playoffs. A large part of Carroll’s success was drafting Russell Wilson. He had a resurgent running back with a young, talented defense. His presence has revitalized the team and city. Sound familiar?
Jim Harbaugh’s success arrived on an even greater scale. Since leaving Stanford, he has led the San Francisco 49ers to 13-3 and 11-4 seasons. This also came on the heels of Harbaugh naming Colin Kapernick as his quarterback and eventually banishing Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Harbaugh implemented the Pistol offense around Kapernick’s athleticism. His defense, much like the Seahawks’, is flanked with some of the best linebackers in the game. The team has taken on the personality of the coach and, despite losing the Super Bowl this year, is ready to keep their high level of success.
Kelly’s most important job will be to make this team believe in him. He has started the reshaping process through the various roster changes that will not be complete until final cuts are finished. He has an offense of his own and, if we trust his evaluation skills, it will be tailored to the arm under center in September. He has Billy Davis implementing his own style of hybrid defense.
It may take time, but the templates are there for Kelly to follow. If he learns from those around him, he can surpass Andy Reid’s success and finally bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Philly.