New York Jets Head Coach Candidate: Chip Kelly

Jonathan Ferrey

Name: Chip Kelly

Current Job: Oregon Ducks Head Coach 2009-present

NFL Experience: None

Other Head Coaching Experience: None

Pros:

  • Widely considered an offensive innovator, his unique system has produced astonishing output at Oregon.
  • Has shown great adaptability. He created his offense while offensive coordinator at the University of New Hampshire because he did not have a tight end.
  • By all accounts runs incredibly efficient practices.
  • Has won over 85% of his games at Oregon.
  • Instilled a culture of accountability at Oregon. Has repeatedly benched and dismissed star players for not living up to his standards.

Cons:

  • No experience coaching on the NFL level. Has never been forced to deal with a locker room with strong personalities making big money.
  • His offense would not work in the NFL. It is too simplistic and depends on tempo and having superior athletes. Even in college, his offense has struggled when faced with opponents who have time to prepare and equal talent.
  • Only four years of head coaching experience of any kind.
  • Has no experience evaluating personnel. As a hot commodity sure to have multiple suitors, he will be in a position to make demands on say over personnel.
  • His system has exploited raw speed and athleticism of his players so he has never had to focus on developing players to refine skills necessary for NFL success, particularly at quarterback.
  • College coaches have a very poor track record adapting to pro game. Before Jim Harbaugh, you have to go back almost two decades to Tom Coughlin to find a first time NFL head coach who jumped directly from college.

Botton Line:

Chip Kelly is one of my favorite coaches, and I'll be pulling for him no matter where he ends up in the NFL. With that said, I was shocked when the Buccaneers almost hired him last year, and I wouldn't go near him if I was running an NFL team.

Kelly is a very smart coach, but he carries an extraordinary number of red flags. He's got a great offensive mind, but he's never built anything resembling an NFL offense. If he jumps to the NFL, he will have no basis to know what will work and what won't when designing a new offense. It reminds me a bit of a story about Steve Spurrier with the Washington Redskins when people thought he would revolutionize offense in the NFL, but his protection schemes ended up being so basic that the other team knew them as well as the Redskins did.

It will be essential for him to hire a big time offensive coordinator to lean on, maybe somebody like Oregon alum Norv Turner or Jon Gruden, who almost went to Oregon as Kelly's offensive coordinator in 2009.

I do not expect Kelly to be a serious candidate for the Jets should they hire Rex Ryan. Chip is going to be a hot commodity, which will probably price him out of the range Woody Johnson wants to pay.

I view him as one of those raw, unrefined players with ridiculous athletic ability before the Draft. You can picture this guy dominating the league, which makes him tempting, but a ton would have to go right. I think it is more likely he will end up being another Spurrier, the college offensive guru whose stuff won't work in the NFL.

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