Presumably, there are very few people in the world who understand Chip Kelly’s role in Philadelphia like former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson.
When Johnson was in Dallas, he held all the team’s the personnel power like Kelly does now with the Eagles--and he wielded it well. Johnson was ripped a good deal for trading away Herschel Walker, the team’s only Pro Bowler, but those criticisms went away when--using a team built with the draft picks they got in exchange for Walker--the Cowboys won back-to-back Super Bowls.
Until Kelly wins a Super Bowl of his own, Johnson wrote in the MMQB this week, he can expect the criticism to continue--and that in itself is not an indictment of what Kelly is doing. Johnson’s a fan of Kelly and the way he operates. But he also knows that when you take on that kind of power and actually use it, the outside criticism comes with the territory.
“You don’t let media or pundits affect you, but of course you are aware of what they’re saying. It was both comical and hurtful,” Johnson said. “Even though you found it comical because you knew they had no idea what you were trying to do, nobody wants to be criticized. At times it would almost feel personal. It had nothing to do with your decision-making, it had to do with the fact that they just didn’t like you--because you rubbed somebody wrong. Maybe you didn’t do right by one of their favorite players, which Chip has done, which I did, which Belichick has done. With Belichick, he has the credibility so people accept it.
“Late in my career they began to accept it. With Chip right now, people are not accepting it. Some people are not accepting trading LeSean McCoy. Some people are not accepting cutting Evan Mathis. Until you win big, people are going to criticize you.”