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Thursday, January 7, 2016

What Should Chip Kelly Do?

Three years ago Chip Kelly was a hot property. His innovative offensive mind not only led the University of Oregon's football team to prominence, but he also helped Bill Belichick design a strategically-similar offense (quick counts, lots of plays) for an immobile quarterback (Tom Brady), and Urban Meyer adopted many of his schemes for an Ohio State offense that won a national championship (ironically, beating Oregon to do so). Currently, however, Kelly is unemployed. The Philadelphia Eagles fired him with a week to go in the season, a season that was characterized by questionable personnel decisions and a poor win-loss record.

So, what should Kelly do? One option is to take (if it is offered) the Tennessee Titans job where he would be reunited with Marcus Mariota, the Heisman Trophy winner whom Kelly recruited to Oregon. Mariota knows Kelly's offense as well as anyone, which would certainly be an attractive option not only to Kelly but to the owners of the Titans. Another option is to take (if it is offered) the San Francisco 49ers job. After a dismal seasons, the Niners are looking for an offensive-minded head coach, and Kelly certainly fits that bill. Kelly could reboot the career of Colin Kaepernick, who would probably feel right at home with Kelly's system since he ran a similar one in college. Kelly might also work well with someone like Cal's Jared Goff or Memphis's Paxton Lynch (both are projected first round picks). In fact, the Niners could draft one of them and have him play behind Blaine Gabbert or Kaepernick for a couple of seasons before working him in as the starting quarterback.

As much as I am a fan of Kelly, personally I think he'd would be better off if he spent a few years as the offensive coordinator for an NFL team (e.g., the New England Patriots if its current offensive coordinator, Josh Daniels, leaves to take a head coaching position). Kelly worked as a offensive coordinator at Oregon before becoming its head coach, and I'm sure he learned a lot during that time about managing young men who like to play a violent sport. Serving as the offensive coordinator for someone like Bill Belichick (who was also fired after his first head coaching job and then worked as a defensive coordinator before taking the Patriots' job) would offer him the opportunity to see how to manage young men who play a violent sport AND get paid lots of money to do so. It could be just what the doctor ordered.

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