“Can we send these coaches back to college?”
— A member of the Tampa Bay Bucs following a blowout loss this year.
New Eagles head coach better learn from others’ mistakes, notably those of Greg Schiano, the former Rutgers coach who now leads the Tampa Bay Bucs. Schiano laned the job last year, ironically after Kelly accepted the job then changed his mind.
Schiano brought in some college guys and, while early returns were favorable, the team unraveled after giving Andy Reid his last win as Eagles coach.
Kelly has never coached in the NFL. Besides Oregon, the man has never coached for a program anyone gave a hoot about. New Hampshire? Johns Hopkins? Not exactly football powerhouses.
Still, while Kelly’s descriptors include words such as “brilliant” and “innovator,” he just doesn’t have an NFL track record. While Bill Belichek and Tony Dungy endorse Kelly’s football acumen, he just doesn’t have any NFL experience.
For every Jimmy Johnson, there are five Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier and Bobby Petrinos. College guys without an NFL track record haven’t succeeded very often for whatever reason.
Hiring a staff of assistants to help him learn the pro game is essential. Part of being a top-notch leader or CEO in any industry is putting good people around you and letting them do their jobs. The President does it with his Cabinet. Steve Jobs did it at Apple. The leader has a vision; he relies upon others to help him achieve it.
Part of the reason Andy Reid was successful is because of the staff he had around him. Jim Johnson, Brad Childress, Pat Shurmur, Steve Spagnuola, John Harbaugh and Ron Rivera were all on his staff. Reid had help and people want to say “he wasn’t good without Johnson.” The fact is, he was smart enough to hire a great staff.
Kelly has to do the same. Of course, the first rumored hire is an NCAA defensive guru in Georgia coordinator Todd Grantham.
The plus side is that Grantham is someone Kelly obviously admires and trusts. Also, Grantham is a guy with nearly a decade of NFL experience, primarily as a defensive line coach with the Colts, Texans and Cowboys. He also was a coordinator under Romeo Crennel in Cleveland.
Kelly could do worse than Grantham, but he needs to make sure he gets guys who were in the NFL over the last year or two as well. The assistants he puts in place will play a major role in how successful the Kelly era is in South Philly. If he leans too much on college guys, the quote from the Bucs player might be muttered by someone at the NovaCare Complex by October.