This one was not a shocker, even if the the timing of Chip Kelly’s ouster in Philadelphia is a bit suspect. Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie notified the public of his decision to terminate Kelly in a statement posted on the team’s official website on Dec. 29. The former Eagles’ coach and his hand-picked vice president of player personnel, Ed Marynowitz, was also fired prior to the season finale against the New York Giants. Kelly was in his third year as head coach of the team, and he and Marynowitz turned over a roster that had produced consecutive ten win seasons for the Birds.
Former Cleveland Browns’ head coach, and current offensive coordinator, Pat Schurmur will take the reins of the team for the 1:00 p.m. season finale at MetLife Stadium, which should add some drama for an otherwise unimportant contest. “We appreciate all the contributions that Chip Kelly made and wish him every success going forward,” said Lurie. A 12:30 p.m. Wednesday press conference at NovaCare Complex to discuss the decision was also announced.
Speculation has run rampant throughout social media as to why Lurie decided to part ways with Kelly less than three years into his tenure in the City of Brotherly Love. Clearly, the franchise took a huge step backwards this season after Kelly jettisoned quarterback Nick Foles and running back LeSean McCoy in favor of Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray respectfully. The team also rid themselves of DeSean Jackson, Evan Mathis and Jeremy Maclin in head scratching moves that indicated Kelly wanted to completely turn over the roster he inherited.
In terms of the timing of Kelly’s termination, it does allow the Eagles to get a leg up on what should be no less that seven teams (Eagles, Dolphins, Titans, Giants, Chargers, Lions, Colts), who will be looking for head coaches after the season, with the distinct possibility that the Cowboys, Saints and Browns could be in the market as well.
“Sources said Lurie made the decision to part ways with Kelly on Tuesday morning. That will allow the Eagles to get a jump on some of the hot assistant coaches who will be available, including Sean McDermott, the Carolina Panthers’ defensive coordinator who once held the same title with the Eagles,” according to a report in ESPN.com on Dec. 29.
The NFL hiring freeze for coaches whose teams are still competing in the NFL playoffs would mean that McDermott would be forbidden fruit until after the Super Bowl, or if the Panthers are eliminated, whichever comes first. Under the current scenario, the Eagles can engage in discussions this week, with the Panthers’ permission, without fear of tampering.