Chip Kelly was one of the hot names coming into this week of organized chaos of firing and hiring NFL head coaches. The coach of the offensively high powered Oregon Ducks was scheduled to meet with the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, and Buffalo Bills, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Kelly and the Browns are close to a deal.
Chip Kelly might be the perfect fit for the Cleveland Browns. Since returning to the league in 1999, the Cleveland Browns’ average offensive raking has been 24th. The Browns’ offense has only been ranked higher than 23rd once, when they were 8th in 2007. In the seasons since 1999, the Browns offense ranked 29th or worse eight times (remember, three of those years there were only 31 teams in the NFL). The Browns have been bad on offense.
Chip Kelly and his high powered spread offense struck fear into the hearts of defenses across the country for his entire career at Oregon. Many believe that Kelly possess the skill to tailor his offense to the pro game and to the personnel on his roster. This match of a terrible offensive team and arguably the best offensive coach in college football is a more obvious fit that Ross and Rachel, Sunny and Cher, or even Carrie and Brody. This seemingly perfect fit could end up making the Browns look like Charlie Brown kicking the football yet again.
The Browns are a franchise riddled with plenty terrible hires, injured players, flat out bad luck, and even one relocation/expansion under their belt. Cleveland loves their team but continually get their hearts broken by the lack of continuity in the front office and at head coach. Kelly becomes the perfect hire because most people think he can do the job but there is still a long history of college coaches struggling in the NFL. Going after a college coach has gotten less scary after seeing the success Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh, and Greg Schiano had recently. However, each of those coaches spent time in the NFL before experiencing success as a college head coach. The list of coaches coming from college and failing in the NFL is much long. The list includes, Lou Holtz, Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Bobby Petrino, and oh ya, Steve Carroll. Chip Kelly is a sexy hire this off-season that could energize the Browns’ fan base, but we still need to wait and see if he can break the mold and win in the NFL coming from college. If Kelly is not one of the few college coaches who makes a successful transition to the NFL, the Cleveland faithful are getting set up for another perfect storm of heartbreak.