The simple truth is that Chip Kelly never had the talent to win big in Philadelphia.
The more nuanced answer is that the Chip Kelly the talent evaluator was the primary reason he lost the very sort of talent that might have helped him avoid his fate.
Say what you want about DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy, they were both proven difference makers when Kelly committed the almost always fatal sin that befalls many coaches of thinking that his system mattered more than players.
A system/scheme is the platform through which players can shine. It is no more the performer than a stage or theater is for a play.
I suppose coaches should be expected to fall for this line of thinking that they matter more than they do, especially in football where I contend they matter most. After all, when your job is largely performed in a fishbowl and every decision is dissected and second guessed, you had better at least be able to give the appearance that you are sure of yourself…..even if you are not.
Simply put, players are most responsible for winning and winning elevates a system. Case in point: what we know today as the West Coast offense began long before Bill Walsh got to San Francisco. The Bengals, with Walsh as QB coach and Vikings used the same system throughout the 70’s. But the Bengals were an occasional playoff team and the Vikings lost 4 Super Bowls, so they were not credited by popular casual observers. The same is true in other sports. The Triangle Offense can be traced to that L.A. college basketball juggernaut….USC in the 1940’s. Nobody cared until it was the staple of Michael Jordan’s offense in Chicago.
Players matter more. Bill Belichick’s record without Tom Brady is 47-52. George Seifert after Young and Rice was 16-32.
Any coach who deludes himself to think otherwise has written his own epitaph.
Oh we love and welcome innovation. Helps a short attention span society stay engaged. That’s the exciting part. But like the sheep that breaks away from the herd, your success and failure will show more brightly.
If you are right, you’re a genius and can peacock your way forward. If you’re wrong, you are a wounded wildebeest for prey and will be fired!
Don’t believe me, ask Chip Kelly.