By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – To say that NFL analyst Heath Evans didn’t think Chip Kelly would be a successful NFL coach is an understatement.
Many were skeptical of the success Kelly would have, but Evans was clear that he believed Kelly would fail.
In an article on January 13th, 2013, Evans outlined why he believed that Kelly would not succeed. The article, titled “Philadelphia Eagles’ hire of Chip Kelly could be NFL’s worst ever,” Evans cited “no recruiting advantage,” “outcoached by Stanford,” and “QBs exposed to injuries,” as reasons not to believe in Kelly.
“Kelly, [like Steve Spurrier], is a dynamic college head coach, but what he’s about to bring to the NFL simply won’t work,” Evans wrote.
It appears, with the Eagles 10-6 record and dynamic offense, that Kelly does have what it takes to succeed.
So what does Evans have to say about it?
Well first, that he didn’t intend for the article to be written about the Eagles and Kelly, rather the Browns and Kelly. The rumor at the time was that Cleveland was close to hiring Kelly.
“Let me go on record with this, that article I wrote, was written for the Cleveland Browns,” Evans said to 94WIP’s Michael Barkann and Ike Reese on Friday. “And our editors here at the NFL Network decided to flip the name of the team, once the surprise hire in Philly happened, and posted that without my liking.”
It should be noted that nowhere in Evans’ piece from 2013, does it state why specifically the situation in Cleveland would lead to Kelly’s failures, more that he would not have the ability to recruit, that he would be outcoached when talent was equal, and that his quarterbacks would get hurt.
“When you looked at the talent pool in Cleveland, you’re thinking, this would be disastrous,” Evans said. “When you look at the talent pool in Philly, that’s a different story. I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus at the NFL Network, but that’s how that whole thing went down.”
“If that was the truth [that Evans wrote it about the Eagles], then I should eat some crow. But that was just one of those deals where there was an NFL Network mix-up, we’ll call it that.”
Editors changes aside, Evans still expressed doubt that Kelly will succeed in the long run.
“I’m still not sold on the long term validity on what [Kelly is] doing,” Evans said. “I’ll say this, I was surprised more in the good sense about what Chip would bring to the Eagles, than I was surprised about the things that would never work.”
“Long story short, one year of success, I don’t call that succcess,” Evans said. “What success is, you’ve got to build on what you’ve done, so I would still say there’s some flaws, some major flaws, in the protection system. I don’t want to say Chip got away with it this year, I just think we’re going to see just how good this guy really is. Because there’s things you see, you know I sit down with, names of coaches that I respect, and we still think alike in the areas that he still has to grow in the NFL knowledge of the game.”
Heath Evans is hilarious.
There is clearly some time before we can crown Kelly the next Lombardi, but when you say the hire might be the worst of all time, and it looks like maybe that was off-base, maybe you should just come clean. We’re all wrong, all the time (even me! at least half time time). If it was easy to predict these things, we’d all be millionaires. But blaming editors for the prediction is questionable.