Oregon Football: 5 Reasons Why Chip Kelly Shouldn't Bolt for NFL
Chip Kelly has taken the Oregon football program to new heights over the past few seasons, but if recent speculation is any indication, he might not be roaming the Autzen Stadium sidelines much longer.
The NFL came calling after last season, but Kelly declined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offer, citing "unfinished business" as the chief reason for staying in Eugene.
Fast forward to the present, where several NFL teams are looking for new head coaches, and Kelly's name is no stranger to the candidate lists.
But aside from simply looking at if or when Kelly will head off to the professional ranks, I'm wondering if that's even the right move in the first place.
Here are five reasons why Chip Kelly should stay at Oregon.
1. Current Seat Is a Comfortable One
Oregon State head coach Mike Riley, in an interview explaining his loyalty to the Beavers' program, said, "I've learned that if you're happy, stay happy."
It's hard to imagine that Chip Kelly will soon find himself in a happier situation than the one he's in now.
Oregon fans would run to the end of the earth and back for Kelly, who's taken the Ducks to four straight BCS bowl games.
Oregon has become an elite program and ideal destination for coaches to create their legacies, and it doesn't hurt to have the constant support of Nike co-founder Phil Knight either.
Kelly has complete control of every phase of the Ducks' operation, and he hasn't showed any signs of slowing down. He's doing what he loves, and he's doing it well. The NFL can promise nothing but uncertainty.
His "Win the Day" mantra permeates the entire university, and there's a lot more winning in Chip's future should he decide to stay at Oregon.
2. Bright Future with Young Talent
The Oregon Ducks are going to have a pretty good team next season regardless of what Chip Kelly decides to do.
Not that winning comes easy, but Kelly can pretty much guarantee himself another outstanding year by remaining in Eugene. That's due in large part to the wealth of young talent the Ducks have accumulated.
Start with freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota, who threw 30 touchdown passes with just six interceptions. Then there's De'Anthony Thomas, one of the most electric players in all of football. Every contributing receiver is coming back next season, as is the entirety of Oregon's secondary.
After four years as head coach, Kelly is finally starting to get his guys in the system and the results have been great. Oregon averaged over 50 points a game this past season and it could very well raise that number next year.
If Chip stays, he'll likely enjoy continued success on the field, which is something else that the NFL cannot guarantee.
3. Wouldn't Bring Anything Revolutionary to the NFL
When people first envisioned Chip Kelly coaching in the NFL, the thought was that he could potentially revolutionize the league with his offensive philosophies.
But what few realize is that many aspects of Kelly's offense are put on display every Sunday, especially with the recent trend of athletic, mobile quarterbacks.
What makes Kelly unique is his steadfast approach to taking things "one day at a time" and his penchant for speed in every phase of the game.
But if you watch carefully, you'll see an NFL that is suddenly running a lot more hurry-up offense and zone-read plays. Kelly may have perfected his techniques at the college level, but he won't bring things to the NFL that nobody has seen before.
Kelly is a great coach, and that alone should be enough for teams to start clamoring for his services. But if the idea is that he'll enter the NFL and change the game forever, sorry coach, the game has already changed.
4. Any Good Jobs Available?
Chip Kelly seems like a smart guy, so it's safe to assume he won't trot off to the NFL just for the heck of it.
If he does leave, it'll be for a team that has personnel he can work with and develop. Right now, many of the teams with coaching vacancies don't present a very appealing situation for Kelly.
He knows football well enough to be able to adjust his offense to fit the kind of players he has on his team, but one thing is certain: A mobile QB is a must.
Without the threat of the quarterback taking off and running, Kelly's offense begins to look dull and colorless. If Michael Vick isn't in Philadelphia, the Eagles' job looks less appealing despite the promising play of rookie Nick Foles.
The Cleveland Browns are led by Brandon Weeden, a smart player with a solid arm. But he doesn't exactly run like the wind. The Chicago Bears are a proud franchise rich in tradition, but Jay Cutler doesn't strike me as a guy who would thrive in Kelly's system.
The Carolina Panthers would be a terrific fit for Chip Kelly, as would the Washington Redskins or the Seattle Seahawks.
But none of those teams are looking for a new head coach, and if I'm Kelly, the current menu of options doesn't have many items that stand out.
5. Risk/Reward Factor
If Chip Kelly finds himself hoisting a Super Bowl trophy, he'll undoubtedly go down as one of the better football coaches in the history of the game.
But that's a pretty big "if."
He could also fail to produce the fireworks we've become accustomed to seeing from his offenses. And he could be fired within two or three years if things aren't working.
Chip likes to go for it on fourth down, so I'm not betting against him taking the risk and making the jump. But it's a huge risk.
Should Kelly stay, he'll continue to cement his legacy as the coach who not only changed the fortune of the Oregon Ducks, but also as the coach who changed the entire approach to offense.
It's not unreasonable to picture Kelly leading Oregon to a handful of BCS bowl games in addition to the four straight it's already made it to. There's little risk in staying, and the reward is likely several more chances at a national title.
I think Kelly enjoys a good challenge and that could ultimately be his reason for jumping to the NFL. If that's the case, let's just hope it's not a decision he later regrets.
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