Soon to be ex-Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is completing his three scheduled head coaching interviews in Arizona at some point today, on Wild-Card Saturday. To make the whole process easier, the three teams; Cleveland, Philadelphia and Buffalo, are all interviewing Kelly in Arizona. On Friday, Kelly had an extremely long interview with the Cleveland Browns and many well read reporters for the NFL were reporting that a deal was close. Kelly decided, either for negotiating or to be cordial, to interview with Buffalo, a short dinner, and Philadelphia the next day. Interestingly, the writing is on the wall because after the interview with Philadelphia, Kelly already has another dinner meeting scheduled with Browns brass.
Much like Chiefs fans, the Cleveland faithful can probably start celebrating a new and surely exciting regime to begin in Cleveland. Chip Kelly is my favorite head coaching candidate because of the super speed, no huddle, spread offense he has run so efficiently in Oregon. There is no proof that this offense will work, and it is without a doubt a huge risk for an NFL franchise, but for a team that is in such hard times as Cleveland, a risk is exactly what they need.
Chip Kelly will be given complete control over personnel decisions in Cleveland because of his special system he runs that will need to have specific personnel to be successful in the NFL. The first shoe to drop may be that of Brandon Weeden. He is without a doubt a terrible fit for this speed spread offense, unless Kelly decides to change things up. That would defeat the purpose of bringing in the offensive guru, which means Weeden is likely one and done as the Browns’ starter. Possible replacements include a player like Tarvaris Jackson, Vince Young and the mercurial Michael Vick. If Kelly decides to start the process with a young QB, we could see Cleveland start with another (relatively) high pick QB in West Virginia’s Geno Smith.
The defense will probably be taken over by a defensive coordinator that has a large amount of control on that side of the ball, but we could see, if Kelly’s offense is successful, a defense built much like those of Peyton Manning’s heyday in Indianapolis. Smaller, not worried about the run type of defense that wants to constantly pin their ears back and go after the opposing QB because they expect to be playing with a lead.
I have almost no doubt in my mind that Chip Kelly is going to be the next head coach in Cleveland because of the way that Alec Scheiner and owner Jimmy Haslam have publicly stated they will go about their head coaching search, head coach before GM, and because of how Kelly has set up his interviews to talk Cleveland again after his other two interviews. My favorite team has a head coaching vacancy that I was hoping would be filled by Chip Kelly, which means I will be watching Cleveland very closely over the next couple years to see how the experiment works out. It will take more than just making that offense gel in the NFL for Kelly to be a successful head coach, but that would be a fantastic start. Cheers Cleveland, now let’s hope this one works out for you and we can stop seeing Baltimore, who you hate for MANY reasons, and Pittsburgh at the top of the division.
UPDATE 1/6/13 11:10 am – Looks like I jumped the gun on this one, still might happen, but reports coming out that Chip Kelly is now considering returning to Oregon. This could ruin his head coaching opportunities in the future if he backs out on a job two years in a row. This could be a big decision for him because there are pending NCAA sanctions coming down on Oregon in the near future. If he is just waiting for the job he wants, this is not the way to get it, better jobs won’t present themselves if you act this way with current opportunities.