Chip Kelly has been heavily under the microscope ever since he was given total control over player personnel at the Philadelphia Eagles.
In his time in charge, Chip has traded the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher, Lesean McCoy, for a linebacker in Kiko Alonso, who did not play in 2014 after a second ACL tear.
He also sent away Nick Foles to acquire Sam Bradford who, like Alonso, did not play in 2014 because of a second ACL tear. It was difficult for people to understand what Chip’s plan was and several analysts doubted him.
Stephen A. Smith of First Take stated; “Chip Kelly has made decisions over the last couple of years that, dare I say, leave a few brothers feeling uncomfortable.
I think that’s fair to say. I mean, we’re sitting here looking at some of the decisions that Chip Kelly makes and I’m like what is up? What’s up with that? I mean, it’s like you've got to be his kind of guy, you know? And I’m like, well, Riley Cooper’s your kind of guy?”
His colleague, Skip Bayless also eluded to his lack of faith in Kelly and how, as a Cowboys supporter, he is happy Chip Kelly is controlling the Eagles.
Before the start of free agency a report also came out that available players were wary of joining Philadelphia, in large part due to Kelly’s reputation. A source said Frank Gore admitted to his friends that Kelly’s over-bearing approach turned him off. After Kelly endured severe criticism from media members he signed DeMarco Murray, an acquisition that most applauded.
But even after landing Murray, Skip Bayless stated that he felt as if Kelly did it out of desperation, to contain the negative uproar from analysts about the Eagles. Before Kelly has had the chance to participate in his first draft with total control, people have presumptively accused Kelly of being nonsensical.
FORMER PLAYER DEFENDS KELLY
After Jeremy Maclin chose to reunite with Andy Reid at Kansas City, the belief was that Kelly pushed players away, but recently Maclin surprisingly disputed all the doubt towards Kelly.
"I still believe in Chip," Maclin recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"I think Chip's going to do great things here. I have the utmost respect for him. Unfortunately, we couldn't get something worked out. But at the end of the day I'm very excited about playing for Kansas City and playing for Big Red."
Kelly focused on improving his defense, which prevented the Eagles from competing with elite caliber teams. He brought in former legion of Boom members, cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond III, to improve the secondary. The Eagles also upgraded at inside linebacker adding Kiko Alonso, who showed star potential as a rookie.
GOOD TO GREAT
Although Philly are without three pro bowl players on offense, they made sure to account for those losses. Chip signed Ryan Mathews, in addition to DeMarco Murray, to replace LeSean McCoy.
Kelly said that he felt as if he needed to replace Shady-McCoy with two running backs. In the aftermath of trading McCoy for Alonso, the trade was deemed to be the wrong move. But after clearing McCoy’s cap space, he essentially added Alonso and Murray for McCoy, improving on defense while replacing McCoy.
The Birds are also hoping Sam Bradford can thrive with Kelly, which is very realistic if he can stay healthy. Chip revitalized a defense, added more depth to the running game, and brought in a quarterback they are comfortable with, yet Kelly has been slandered.
Kelly also has an opportunity to improve in this year’s draft in about a month. Philly’s biggest needs are wide receiver, offensive lineman, and safety. If they manage to fill those holes in the draft, Kelly looks as if he is poised to take the Eagles from good to great, as owner Jeffery Lurie eluded too.