Chip Kelly’s Rubik’s Cube

by Kolby Solinsky

White Cover Magazine

white cover line

America, stop trying to understand Chip Kelly.

Stop reading into his plays, his moves, or his strategy – he won’t tell you what it is, even if you ask. And you’ll just kill yourself awaiting the finished product. A couple days ago, I equated Kelly’s offseason to how most of us get our hair cut – sit in the chair, don’t stare at it or fret about odd shapes or triangles, wait until it’s finished, go home and shower or style it, and then look in the mirror and decide whether you like it.

There’s a reason this metaphor works, I think. It’s not that Chip Kelly does’t actually have a plan or that he’s trying to blow up the Eagles. It’s that he just loves fucking with you.

And like a barber, he wants to remind you, you can’t do this on your own.

He loves turning you and your fantasy football league upside down. So, you’re telling me the league’s leading rusher DeMarco Murray will be splitting carries with Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, and Sam Bradford‘s going to become the next Nick Foles, and talented offensive stars like LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin are now gamble picks living and working in fragile offences like Buffalo, Washington, and Kansas City?

Damn, Chip. You win again.

(And yes, I’m aware Mathews may not actually finalize his move to Philadelphia now, what with Murray all but slapping that ugly, dark green on his shoulders. But think for a second, how great it would be if they both stayed – and if Sproles stayed. A three running back team that never even stopped for a huddle… what a blast. And with the injury history plaguing both Murray and Mathews, those two should want to be in a committee system. Instead of having their bodies assaulted for 16 games and longer every year, how about taking a play or two off and regrouping for the next down, or the next game? Goalies in the NHL have figured this out – that ultimately, their careers will last longer and they’ll play better when they’re only starting 60 or so games a year, not 75 – how long’s it gonna take running backs? The passing game has made the full-time, superstar running back an endangered species in different years, so maybe it’s time Murray, Mathews, Sproles, and even Chris Polk work together on this one.)

Yesterday, Kelly laughed and said there was no way the Eagles were going to mortgage any piece of their future to trade up in this year’s draft, presumably to draft the coach’s old Oregon quarterback, Marcus Mariota.

But don’t lose faith, Twitter. I know you want this to happen, because I know you want to talk about it. And it could still happen.

Oh sure, Kelly said it wasn’t going to. But Kelly doesn’t lie – he just lives by a different truth every day. He’s very, very good at that.

“When an NFL coach takes to the podium after a bombshell trade, the point typically is to answer questions behind the logic of the trade,” writes FOX’s Mike Garofolo. “Who ever said Chip Kelly was logical?”

The past week or so, everyone on the sidelines has been wondering what Kelly’s doing, or thinking. They understood the McCoy trade, I think, because it doesn’t just bring Philly a promising, young defender like Kiko Alonso – it also tears off a Tyler Perry-size contract from the Eagles’ salary cap (although, yeah, Bradford is making $13 million a year. So that doesn’t make a lot of sense).

But if Kelly didn’t think McCoy or Jackson – or Maclin – were the answers at their respective positions, he at least had the boldness to cut them loose before he’d be stuck with them.

And for every Frank Gore – who reportedly walked away from Kelly’s Eagles only after the team parted with Maclin, their best wide receiver – there’s a Ryan Mathews. Or a DeMarco Murray. Or a Sam Bradford, who didn’t sign with Philadelphia but must love what he’s walked into – a franchise that’s committed to moving the target, to changing on the fly and is afraid of stalling or moulding.

That’s what happens when you’re bold. You alienate many, but you attract a special few. And in that chaos, you hope you can just keep jumping from left to right, sometimes forward, knowing the finished product is somewhere close, behind a corner.

Actually, forget the haircut metaphor. This is a Rubik’s Cube.

VIDEO: DeMarco Murray Will Join the Eagles? (ESPN First Take)