Pat Shurmur Named Eagles' Interim Head Coach After Chip Kelly Firing

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2015

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, right and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur talk before a preseason NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Michael Perez/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Eagles announced Tuesday they have named Pat Shurmur their interim head coach for their Week 17 game against the New York Giants on Sunday following Chip Kelly's dismissal. 

"I have made a decision to release Chip Kelly this evening," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie wrote on the team's official website. "I spent the last three seasons evaluating the many factors involved in our performance as a team. As I watched this season unfold, I determined that it was time to make a change."

Shurmur was hired by Kelly as the team's offensive coordinator back in 2013, but he does have head coaching experience.

The 50-year-old previously served as the Cleveland Browns' head coach during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. During that span, Shurmur led the Browns to a 9-23 record.   

Reuben Frank of joked that the Eagles have transformed into the Browns—at least for one week:  

Lurie reiterated in his statement the team will enlist the services of team president Don Smolenski and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman to help with its head coaching search. 

And considering Shurmur was a member of Kelly's staff, it's difficult to envision his qualifying as a long-term candidate. 

However, the interim boss will have a shot to send the Eagles out on a high note following a disappointing 38-24 loss in Week 16 to the Washington Redskins

Although the offense has topped 340 yards in four of the past six weeks, it has hardly impressed on a drive-by-drive basis.

And therein lies the fascination with Shurmur's interim status in Week 17. While the Eagles ran an offense that operated under the league's fastest tempo and ranked dead last in time of possession under Kelly, per, the style didn't translate to success. 

Against the Giants, Shurmur has a chance to run a more conservative system that embraces the team's power-running capabilities. DeMarco Murray struggled mightily running out of the shotgun all year, and drives stalled time and again because of Philadelphia's inability to eat up chunks of yards on the ground on early downs. 

As NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported, Murray wasn't pleased with the job Kelly did as head coach: 

If the Eagles experience some success against the Giants with Sam Bradford under center and Murray pounding the rock between the tackles, it could be a glimpse at what Lurie and Co. look for schematically in a future head coach.

But for now, Shurmur's focus will be on doing his best to prepare a franchise in flux for a showdown with its biggest rival.