The NFL coaching rumor mill is in full swing with less than 24 hours left in the 2015 regular season. With rampant speculation that Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine will be fired after today’s game, is it possible recently axed Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly will replace him?
According to Bleacher Report, it is possible, as Kelly draws interest from three teams with coaching vacancies that will soon include Johnny Manziel’s Cleveland Browns. The report has also been substantiated by FOX 29’s Howard Eskin via Twitter.
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) January 3, 2016
Meanwhile, Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine is likely to be fired immediately after the Browns wrap up their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as reported by the NFL Network.
“Pettine asked [owner Jimmy] Haslam face-to-face on Friday if he would return, and the owner said nothing,” NFL insider Ian Rapoport wrote. “Pettine and his staff then understood it was over.”
Rapoport also claimed Haslam has “already laid the groundwork for the move, doing work on potential candidates and seeing who will be available to him.”
Is one of those candidates Kelly? And would it even make sense to bring Chip in to run his up tempo offense with Johnny Manziel? According to ESPN, the Kelly to Cleveland rumor may actually make a whole lot of sense.
“Kelly runs an up-tempo spread offense that would seem to match the skills of a certain Browns quarterback. Also, Kelly recruited Johnny Manziel when he was coach at Oregon. Kelly’s ego would seem to be the kind to declare, ‘I can make that guy succeed.'”
Another factor in Chip’s favor is that his resume actually matches what the Browns may be looking for in their next head coach.
“Kelly, on paper, seems to fit what the Browns might want. He has NFL experience. He’s a football junkie. He’s considered an innovator in terms of offense and in terms of his training and practice techniques.”
But, despite all of this, the Browns may be facing stiff competition. And, it may be a different team’s quarterback that would be an even better fit for Kelly’s offense than Johnny Football ever could be.
As reported by Inquisitr, the Tennessee Titans, home to Chip’s former star pupil Marcus Mariota may be the best fit for Chip Kelly and is supposedly one of the three teams interested in the former Eagles head coach.
“Obviously we’ve had a connection through Oregon, but again my mindset isn’t on that,” Mariota said after finding out that Kelly was fired. “It’s unfortunate [about] Coach Kelly and his situation. But I am sure whatever team he ends up going to he’ll have success.”
Mariota also praised Kelly’s stint in the NFL despite the way it ended in Philadelphia saying that Chip is a “proven” winner in the league. “To win 10 games his first two years says a lot about what he’s able to do and says a lot about his coaching,” Mariota said.
The third team supposedly interested in speaking with Kelly are the Miami Dolphins, who are expected to part ways with interim head coach Dan Campbell at the end of the season today. Campbell took over a dysfunctional Miami Dolphins squad that came into the season with high expectations, big-name offseason acquisitions like Ndamukong Suh, and an up-and-coming quarterback in Ryan Tannehill that the front office invested significant amounts of money in. Head coach Joe Philbin, who had yet to make the playoffs in three seasons, was let go mid-season, paving the way for the coaching rumors to begin.
After today’s games, the fate of Chip Kelly will become that much clearer as we head into the NFL playoffs.
[Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images]