Former Eagles’ Pro-Bowl guard Evan Mathis is now a part of the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. He’s now seen first-hand what it takes to build a true championship-caliber team, and during a recent interview out in Denver, Mathis compared what he had seen in Denver to what the Philadelphia Eagles were under former head coach Chip Kelly.
Mathis was very critical of his former head coach.
“There were many things that Chip had done that showed me he wasn’t building a championship team,” Mathis wrote. “Two of the main issues that concerned me were: 1. A never-evolving, vanilla offense that forced our own defense to play higher than normal play counts. 2. His impatience with certain personality types even when they were blue-chip talents. The Broncos team I was on would have eaten Chip alive. I don’t think he could have handled the plethora of large personalities.”
This to me is just even more evidence that the Eagles clearly needed to pull the plug on Kelly and his flawed philosophies.
The most damning part of Mathis’ words were that Kelly’s offense never evolved after its initial success in 2013. It was one the issues I myself took issue with when I evaluated Kelly.
Chip’s offense was always too simple and predictable, and once the rest of the league was able to get a significant amount of film on him, defensive players and coordinators caught up to what was truly a very gimmicky offense that wasn’t built for long-term success. Throughout last season in particular, many opposing players came out and spoke to how they were able to quickly pick up on Kelly’s scheme.
The second part of Mathis’ comments addressed Kelly’s unwillingness to deal with difficult personalities. Chip couldn’t accept being challenged by his players, and tried to run the Eagles with a college mentality. Anyone who spoke out against him or didn’t buy-in 100% was shown the door, and this philosophy ended up costing the Birds multiple Pro-Bowl talents.
Kelly’s ways ultimately ran the Eagles into the ground, and I give Jeffrey Lurie a lot of credit for recognizing that this program was not trending in the right direction. While its still uncertain whether or not Doug Pederson will be able to take the franchise back to respectability, it was obvious that Chip wasn’t going to get the job done.
I also think Kelly is doomed to fail out in San Francisco even worse than he was in Philadelphia. The NFC West is a far stronger division than the powderpuff NFC East (that Kelly couldn’t even win in) and I anticipate the 49ers being a punching bag for the playoff-proven Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals in the coming seasons.