McMullen: Eagles Need to Forget Kelly
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — At some point, you need to put a fractured relationship in the rear-view mirror and the Philadelphia Eagles are long past that with former coach Chip Kelly.
Kelly is now safely tucked away, nearly 3,000 miles away from South Philadelphia preparing to wreak havoc on the once mighty San Francisco 49ers. Yet, some can't help lingering on the past and what an insufferable lout the head coach was with the Eagles.
The latest salvo comes courtesy of NJ.com and a source who claims that the Eagles' scouts were immediately turned off by Kelly's totalitarian management style, which evidently included paying people to do their jobs before tossing their work in the circular file
"Right before (the 2014) draft, the scouts set the board," the source explained to the website. "Then Chip got a hold of it and totally turned it around. Scouts had no say at all in that draft. Anybody that Chip didn't want, that player's card got removed from the board and thrown in the trash. Those guys were never even in the discussion.
"Almost immediately, you had a lot of scouts looking around and wondering, 'Why am I even working? Why the hell are we even here?' We put all of this work in, put the information in and Chip changed everything and took whoever he wanted to take."
That take smacks of a Howie Roseman ally and also rehashes the tortured selection of Marcus Smith in the first round that year.
Smith, of course, is a player most scouts had rated as a third-round pick and subsequently has barely gotten on the field during his first two seasons in Philadelphia, something that's unlikely to change with the impending move from the 3-4 to a 4-3.
When Roseman took back the reigns of the organization's personnel department earlier this year he stepped up and showed some "leadership" by "taking the blame" for the Smith pick but two different NFL sources have told 973espn.com that Kelly was the one pushing for the choice because the coach felt the Louisville product could be a significant pass-rushing threat as an edge player.
Whomever you want to blame for the Smith pick, however, the he-said, she-said aspect of the narrative has destroyed Smith's confidence as a player and speaks to the dysfunction and fractured relationship Kelly and Roseman had.
Even if you want to stipulate Smith should have been a third-round selection, something I wrote that very night, that's still a very valuable asset for an NFL franchise and instead of using a player's psyche as a tool in a pissing match between two immature executives, perhaps the more prudent approach would have been trying to get Smith up to speed.
The 20-20 vision of hindsight is the ultimate judge in any aspect of life and the gavel has since descended on Kelly's tenure in Philadelphia.
The verdict says he was a snake-oil salesman, a one-trick pony heavy on sizzle who was woefully unprepared for what he would ultimately face at the NFL level.
The one stark realization with that for the Eagles, however, is that the two people who bought the snake-oil to begin with and thought Kelly was the next big thing -- Jeffrey Lurie and Roseman -- are still running this organization.
And it's in their best interests to hope people forget that so rehashing the Kelly era -- even to disparage it -- accomplishes little.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen