As a coach, Chip Kelly is elite; his NFL tenure ended poorly because he was a bad GM

Chip Kelly with Eagles
Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images

Look at Kelly’s results in Philadelphia.

Let’s start with the 2013 season. The Eagles led the NFL in yards per play, rushing yards and were fourth in scoring. The defense forced 31 turnovers. The Eagles finished tied for fourth in turnover margin at plus-12. Kelly somehow got Foles to throw for 27 touchdowns and two interceptions. McCoy ran for 1,607 yards with nine touchdowns. Jackson had 1,332 receiving yards with nine touchdowns.

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So, how did Kelly’s second season go? In 2014, Philadelphia had to rely on Foles and Mark Sanchez. They combined to throw 27 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. Both these quarterbacks are considered awful in NFL circles, so these are solid numbers. McCoy ran for 1,319 yards and five touchdowns. Maclin had 1,318 receiving yards with 10 touchdowns. The offense finished third in scoring. The Eagles won 10 games, despite a ghastly number of turnovers (36). The Eagles were able to force 28 takeaways, but still finished minus-8 and ranked tied for 26th in turnover margin.

Kelly’s final season saw Philadelphia finish 12th in yards and 13th in scoring. Bradford disappointed, as he has at every stop in the NFL, combining with Sanchez to throw 23 touchdowns and 18 picks. Murray rushed for 707 yards and with six touchdowns. Receiver Jordan Matthews led the Eagles with 997 yards and eight scores. Philadelphia had 31 turnovers and finished minus-5 to rank 22nd in turnover margin.

Kelly was a success on the field. He was done in by his power grab.

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San Francisco quickly hired Kelly after the Eagles fired him. But he walked into a disaster. The 49ers were reeling from their break-up with successful coach Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers had hired Jim Tomsula and fired him after one season in which he went 5-11. San Francisco had little talent, but Kelly was eager to stay in the NFL as a coach. San Francisco went 2-14, but still managed to finish fourth in the NFL in rushing yards.

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