Chip Kelly flamed out after one season with the San Francisco 49ers, losing his second NFL head coaching job. He could be an interesting fit as a coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jacksonville Jaguars brought Chip Kelly in for an interview on January 16 to become the team’s offensive coordinator. They had previously (quietly) brought him in as a possible head coaching candidate as well.
Kelly as a coordinator is the more interesting case to think about. The innovative collegiate mastermind has struggled as a head coach in the NFL, largely due to mismanagement of rosters, but his upbeat offensive system remains intriguing. Teams trying it may need to tailor the roster to keep up and fulfill its goals, but it’s definitely one of the more unique approaches in the NFL.
So far that has led to mismanagement of quarterback Sam Bradford, running back DeMarco Murray (who rebounded in 2016 after a lost season under Kelly in 2015), and a complete dumpster fire in San Francisco. But, with the right pieces Kelly could be onto something. The real question is whether a team can be built to accommodate his scheme.
Which is why it would be interesting to see Kelly as a coordinator rather than head coach. Since 2009 Kelly has been a head coach at the collegiate and professional levels. He has been able to implement his vision for the team and answer to, essentially, nobody. It has been his way or the highway.
Coming to the Jaguars, he would have to compromise his vision at least partly. Head coach Doug Marrone coordinated innovative offenses before (working with Sean Payton in New Orleans) and he undoubtedly has a vision for what he wants this roster to do and how to build it to do that. Bringing his vision and Kelly’s approach together may bring conflict or finally soften the edges on Kelly’s system to be effective.
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This may just be the kind of connection that could spur an effective, innovative offense for a team. Whether the fit is great for the Jaguars is another question entirely.
Kelly reportedly has assistants in tow and ready to get to work. How his potential assistant staff works with the staff being assembled by Marrone and executive vice president Tom Coughlin is a big question surrounding hiring him. Will Kelly have enough sway to push against what Coughlin and Marrone want or will he be forced to conform to their vision?
At this point Chip Kelly as offensive coordinator has more questions surrounding it than answers. It’s an intriguing prospect but it isn’t one that jumps off the page as a perfect fit. How it would work out is simply unclear at this point.