I love almost everything about football, but there are a few things that I really hate. Right now I hate fantasy football, mostly because I got destroyed by the Seahawks and their defense (thanks Skelton and that other shit bag). But one thing that really bothers me is winning meaningless games, or the idea that these guys are now playing hard for their coach. NOW is the key word. Why is it the only way a coach can motivate his players is if they are playing to save his job? Is this the only way he can motivate players? And really, is that him motivating the players or are they playing to save their own jobs? A new regime means heads are going to roll, no matter your status or contract, so you better play your ass off. The same thing happens every year when a coach gets dismissed, the temporary coach always looks great.
The Panthers looked great on Sunday, it was a big game for us, and it was by far the biggest win of Cam’s career. But how much of it was on the coaching staff? If the Panthers win out, and finish at 7-9, does that justify Rivera getting another shot? Or has his complete mismanagement of game situations and clear short comings as a head coach sealed his fate? Unfortunately I am in the camp thinking the latter. Ron sounds like a great guy, and I am sure he is a super nice person, but he is just not cut out to be a big time head coach. He’s too nice. He’s not arrogant enough, or poised to make the hard calls and big time decisions. Look at the coaches that are successful right now, they are assholes. Most people outside their own organization don’t really like them. Saban, Belcheick, Harbaugh, Tomlin – these guys have an edge to them and they know what they are doing. Rivera is just not wired that way. I will say it again: you do not get interviewed NINE times for head coaching jobs and get passed over. There is a reason for that.
So, here I am content about tossing this nice guy out on his ass, but what’s my plan for replacing him? Hire Chip Kelly. Pay whatever it takes and make it happen. Here are my five reasons why I think he would make a great hire for the Carolina Panthers.
1. His offense and Cam make a great match. Let’s face it, if you wanted to design a perfect NFL QB for Kelly’s high octane offense, it would be Cam Newton. He can make all the throws, is a dangerous runner, has the body to take some hits, yet he is great at avoiding them as well, and he has already excelled at running a similar system in college. I am not saying run the same offense that they run now, in college, but a version of a hurry up, up tempo offense would kill defenses. Look at how effective the Patriots are at running a hurry-up no huddle offense. They destroyed the Texans D on Monday night. Now sprinkle in the threat of the QB taking off and running as well. It would be a nightmare to stop. Besides, running no huddle, speed packages allows you keep the defense from subbing players, having time to mask their coverage, and organize blitzes. They remove all the things that give the defense an upper hand.
2. Belichick is stealing FROM HIM. As I mentioned earlier, the Patriots are running a no huddle, speed offense to devastating effect. Where did the concepts and principles come from? Chip Kelly. Arguably the best coach in the NFL is stealing things from Kelly! Granted Belichick is the Quentin Tarantino of stealing shit from other people and making you think he is a genius for uncovering it. But still, the idea that it’s not time of possession, but how many plays you run that is more important come straight from Chip. As well as the method in which they call the play. I personally love the style, and it makes no sense to me why it has not been part of the NFL game for longer. I mean a team struggles to move the football, and then all of the sudden they are at the end of the game, and in a two minute drill and they fly down the field. Leaving you to say, “WHY DON’T WE DO THAT ALL THE TIME!!” Mix in draws, runs, options, bubble screens, slants, and then you have an offense.
3. Practices are great. Apparently everybody that has ever watched Oregon practice all marvel at how effective and fast they get it done. In fact they rarely do fitness, because they practice so fast. Some have said this is the reason that Chip’s style will not work in the NFL, because no professional player will practice at that breakneck pace. Why not? Because they are lazy? Because they are overpaid and not used to it? Well then why the hell do you want guys like that on your team? If it proves that it can be effective then guys will buy into it. Because when it comes down to it, you have some of the most competitive people on the planet playing this game. If practicing fast on Monday and Tuesday results in wins on Sunday, they will do whatever it takes. You might have some guys moaning and bitching at first, but once they see the results they will shut the hell up.
4. Success of recent college coaches. In the past, I would have said no way in hell do I want a college coach. They never succeed. In fact they suck and are back in the NCAA faster than you can say sanctions. However, the college game has changed. No longer do only the big programs get national TV coverage, no longer are college players ego-less hard working players, and no longer is the college game based on whose bigger, stronger and faster. Scheming and offensive game planning in college have radically evolved, just like the defenses. How else do you explain rookie and second year QBs having so much more success than in the past? The college game is much closer to the pro game than ever before. Players are big time stars and coaches are constantly in the media and adept at dealing with the pressure much better than before. Plus, I think that college coaches are much better at getting the most out of what they have. They do not try and fit square pegs in round holes because it is what is expected in the NFL, and that is how a certain type of role should be filled. They simply create a square hole for the player and get the most out of them. Kelly has this figured out. He knew he could not play smash mouth football with the rest of the big boys of college football, and developed his own system and style that capitalized his players unique abilities. I do not think Kelly would use the same style exactly in the NFL, but he would evolve and adapt.
5. He’s a bit of an ass as well. I mentioned it before, the great coaches are not humble quiet guys (maybe Tony Dungy). They are innovators – loud, brash, not afraid, arrogant, and motivators. Kelly seems like all those things. And while the Nike money has definitely helped turn Oregon into a national power, his offense has been the main driver of success. I also like the fact that he is not afraid to take risks, goes for 2, try on-side kicks, and has the balls to go for it on fourth down, RIVERA…
Chip is the guy that we have to take a shot on. When we had the number one pick in the draft, we could have played it safe and grabbed a DE or DT, but we did not. We swung for the fences and took the guy with potential to be a superstar in the league. So I say we do the same damn thing again. If Kelly’s system, practice tempo, and mantra can work in the NFL then we could have a system in place that could revolutionize NFL offenses. We made the safe hire with Ron Rivera, and I am sure you can go out there and find another extremely competent coordinator who might turn out to be a solid coach. But we have been down the coordinator route and if you do what you always do, you will continue to get what you always get: mediocrity. So let’s take the chance, because greatness never comes to those who are afraid to take risks every now and then.