Chip Kelly, if hired, will turn the tide of the struggling Cleveland Browns franchise. There is plenty of young talent in Cleveland and developing it with the shared vision of a young coach can morph the team into something they have rarely been considered, of late: a winner.
It isn’t as much his offensive system, which was innovative and successful in college, but his ability to lead and adapt that makes him capable of accomplishing this daunting task.
And it is daunting.
Many have tried and failed since the team’s NFL reincarnation as an expansion team in 1999. Quarterbacks have come and gone too, more frequently than the coaching staffs that have put them on the field. In fact, 18 starting quarterbacks have started for the team since ’99 and six head coaches have called the shots.
Instability characterized by a revolving door of personnel, coaching and staff have created this perpetual ineptitude and an ongoing search for a leader who take the franchise to the next level.
That brings us back to Kelly, who may or may be named the coach of the team by the time you are reading this.
His technique and style are definitely different; his system even more so. But different is good, especially for a team that has been near the bottom of the league in all offensive categories for far too long.
Kelly has not coached in the NFL before, but none of the NFL coordinators the Browns have brought in have been able to effect any change.
He’s succeeded in every place he’s coached. At New Hampshire, Kelly served as offensive coordinator. The Wildcats were second in the country in total offense, averaging 493.5 yards per game.
Oregon and Kelly “blur” offense’s success speaks as much to the creativity and genius of the coach leading it as the talent he is leading. His combination of the no-huddle and read-option utilizing the skills of Marcus Mariota, Kenjon Barner and De'Anthon Thomas in the backfield, has helped ignite a movement throughout all level of football.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick brought in Kelly during the past offseason to get insight into his procedure and methods. It isn’t the first time Kelly has visited with NFL coaches to share his expertise, either.
What makes his system so unique is the quickness of its no-huddle elements and brevity of the terminology.
Belichick said he was most interested in those aspects of Kelly’s system, according to Greg A. Bedard of The Boston Globe:
I would say he expanded it to a different level and it was very interesting to understand what he was doing. Certainly I’ve learned a lot from talking to Chip about his experiences with it and how he does it and his procedure and all that.
Sure, Kelly has never coached in the NFL as many are quick to point out. But this iteration of the Cleveland Browns has never had a more innovative and successful coach standing on their sidelines.
Kelly may not run the celebrated read-option with the current personnel in Cleveland, but he has shown he has the ability to adapt to get the most out of his players, something previous regimes have been unable to do.