Coaching Should Have Been Enough for Kelly
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie once rather infamously called his operation "kind of the gold standard."
These days, it's more of a messy standard that can be traced back to the power struggle and distrust between coach Chip Kelly and his former boss, Howie Roseman. In fact, that gold measuring stick has gone from zero to dysfunction faster than your average Corvette.
Kelly won the pissing match back in January, gaining full control of the personnel side and banishing Roseman back to the business end of the operation, where the ex-GM is ostensibly supposed to be handling the contract negotiations of the players Kelly wants.
Yet the rift between the two is so deep that Roseman's office at the team's facility, which used to be two doors down from Kelly's, was moved from the football operations end of the NovaCare Complex to the business side.
Most who lose these types of struggles typically are shown the door but Lurie seems to be hedging his bets by trying to serve two masters, attempting to keep his indispensable right-hand man (Roseman) in case the flavor of the month (Kelly) turns out to be exactly that.
Roseman's natural state is that of a shark, however, a take-no- prisoners operative in the mold of a Rahm Emanuel. At 40, he was already the youngest GM in all of football and the list of executives who have lost power struggles to him is stunning: Joe Banner, Tom Heckert, Jason Licht, Ryan Grigson, Louis Riddick, and Kelly's friend Tom Gamble.
And although Howie finally lost one to Kelly, Roseman stayed put and is still swimming while playing the waiting game, no doubt hoping the extra rope Kelly has been given will be enough to hang the coach Howie had a hand in hiring.
Anyone who knows Roseman and what makes him tick understands his first love is personnel so having that aspect of the job taken away from him has been difficult despite the consolation prize of a fancy new title (executive vice president of football operations) and a few more zeros in his paycheck.
Roseman, though, understands Lurie couldn't chose him over Kelly this early in the former Oregon coach's tenure because the Eagles changed their entire culture to lure Kelly from the college ranks and his unconventional methods simply can't be duplicated.
That rope, though, has now been uncoiled and is already been fashioned into a noose for Kelly after a 1-3 start.
The bottom line is Chip picked these players and no longer has Roseman to blame for any roster deficiencies and the rubber stamp of Ed Marynowitz is also a dead end. So, when it doesn't work in the first quarter of the season and Kelly says his players are to blame for not executing, well that's the coach blaming the GM.
And they are one in the same.
Kelly won the battle with Roseman but the war is still ongoing and Sun Tzu has argued that a brilliant general is one that can win without even fighting.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen