Chip Kelly is making everybody, our site included, looney this week with his perpetual high profile roster decisions. Early this afternoon, while the world was charting DeMarco Murray’s flight, Mike Florio posited that this was either a ruse or a sign that Kelly was sensitive to the outpouring of local and national criticism for his prior moves. This notion so offended Dan Le Batard that he interrupted his “sun and daiquiri” vacation time to get in a Twitter fight with Florio and later call into his radio show.
The spat began:
And here’s a snippet of the rest:
Soon thereafter, Le Batard joined Florio’s NBC Sports Radio show. Because rubbernecking at inter-media histrionics may put my future kids through college, it was a little disappointing that the conversation was cordial. As to Florio’s last point on Twitter, Le Batard disagreed that Kelly is under immediate (well, in six months from now when there are actual games) pressure to produce since he just attained absolute power in the Eagles organization: “They literally ran the guy out of the building that was overseeing him, and this is what he’s chosen to do. We howl and we criticize before a plan has come to fruition. It’s the nature of the 24-hour news cycle.”
Florio didn’t think that DeMarco Murray was the original plan. Why did they agree to terms with Frank Gore, who backed out, and Ryan Mathews (who has since officially signed but hadn’t yet during the radio show)? He also felt that coaches can’t be tonedeaf to fans and media in this day and age because the owner hears them. “That’s not how real leaders do it,” said Le Batard. “That’s fine for you to surmise that, and speculate that, but Chip Kelly is at the height of his powers. By our measurements, he’s overachieved with Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez, and he’s been given more power than he’s ever had within the organization.”
With regards to Florio’s question about why they signed Murray now, Le Batard said that he had no idea, but speculated that it may be the running back sticking it to the Cowboys by signing with their division rival. Returning to his point about Chip Kelly, Le Batard invoked Abraham Lincoln’s adage that leaders don’t care about popularity, compared Chip Kelly to Jimmy Johnson — who traded Herschel Walker before he’d accomplished anything as an NFL head coach — and said that if Kelly cared at all about what people thought he wouldn’t have gotten rid of their three stars in DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and Jeremy Maclin: “His moves suggest that he does not care one iota about anything that we’re saying.”
My two cents: Kelly’s aggression this offseason, coupled with rabid Philadelphians, is going to put him under an enormous microscope next season. It’s hard to envision a scenario where failing to make the playoffs would not cost him his job, but I guess weirder things have happened. Each acquisition the Eagles have made — Byron Maxwell, Sam Bradford (for whom Kelly seemingly way overpaid), DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Walter Thurmond, and Kiko Alonso — is an injury risk because of their past, and their collective health (or lack thereof) will play a major part in the team’s fortunes. It’s impossible to forecast. If the Eagles win, though, scores of media members will have published or broadcasted content that will look very silly in retrospect. (Because of this roller coaster, that’ll likewise be true if they don’t.)
In the meantime, I’d like to offer my sincere gratitude to Chip Kelly for giving us all endless things to talk about.