Kelly came to Philly and knew what he was coming into. His flight was being tracked by a ton of people too, including myself. He even joked about it like it was people tracking Santa, before he remembered that Philly fans booed Santa. Kelly led the Eagles to a 10-6 record and an NFC East Championship before falling to New Orleans at home in the Wild Card on a game-winning field goal in year one. Mike Vick started the season as quarterback, before being replaced by Nick Foles. The Eagles started year two of the Kelly era at 9-3, but went 1-3 in their last four games to finish yet again at 10-6 and failed to make the playoffs. Year three was awful, but although the Eagles were in contention for another NFC East championship, a 6-9 finish was not good. Throughout each offseason, Kelly has released DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, traded away LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso, traded Nick Foles for Sam Bradford, and drafted guys such as Nelson Agholor and...Marcus Smith in the first round.
Players such as McCoy, Jackson, and Brandon Boykin came out to attack Kelly, whether on race or relating to the coach.
So why now? Well, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reported that Lurie had been considering changes to the structure of the Eagles franchise for weeks. The main one was personnel management, and in a meeting today, Lurie asked Kelly to surrender that role. Kelly did not want that to happen, and now he doesn't have a job. Lurie wanted to keep Kelly as coach, but that didn't happen.
Where he will go, we still don't know. Maybe Tennessee to be reunited with Marcus Mariota. Maybe back to college as an offensive coordinator. Maybe sit out a year and see what jobs become available, since he missed out on many of them. He wants to stay in the NFL however.
What if we never got rid of DeSean, LeSean, or Maclin (or maybe Foles) and this still happened? I think Kelly would still have a job. The questionable moves during the offseason, along with demanding full control of player personnel are two of the reasons why I think Kelly's out. I think it's the right move, even with the weird timing. Hey, it's like a college coach getting fired before his bowl game, except the following game is just a meaningless regular season game.
Let's see some reactions:
- Who will be the new head coach (the obvious one)?
- Who will be the new general manager?
- What will Howie Roseman's role be with the team (although it looks like he'll return to running the personnel department)?
- What happens to Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray?
- What happens to the rest of the coaching staff?
- What players weren't happy and why? And did he lose the locker room?
- What was his relationship with the entire team?
We should have more answers during tomorrow's news conference, which is scheduled for noon at the Novacare Complex.
Who might be some names to watch for in the head coaching search? Here's 15 potential candidates in no particular order:
- Jon Gruden - ESPN color commentator
- Bill Cowher - CBS analys
- Sean McDermott - Panthers defensive coordinator
- Darrell Bevell - Seahawks offensive coordinator
- Jim Mora Jr. - UCLA head coach
- Hue Jackson - Bengals offensive coordinator
- Sean Payton - Saints head coach
- Josh McDaniels - Patriots offensive coordinator
- Jim Schwartz - Free Agent
- David Shaw - Stanford head coach
- Adam Gase - Bears offensive coordinator
- Teryl Austin - Lions defensive coordinator
- Kevin Sumlin - Texas A&M head coach
- Pat Shurmur - Eagles offensive coordinator/Eagles interim head coach
- Matt Patricia - Patriots defensive coordinator
I don't think the Eagles will hire another college coach after what happened with Kelly, although some of these candidates look good, especially Mora, who previously coached in the NFL. Gruden and Cowher might be long-shots to return to coaching, although Gruden might think about returning to Philadelphia, where he used to be an assistant. Would a defensive-minded guy like Patricia, Austin, or McDermott be better than an offensive-minded guy like Bevell, McDaniels, or Jackson? We don't know. I'd like to hire Gruden, but I don't think it will happen. I'd be happy with McDermott, Patricia, Shurmur, or McDaniels as well.
Even though there's one game left, it seems like the offseason has begun for the Eagles. One guy is very happy. That's EDP: