Will Chip Kelly Get Fired 2?

[About a year ago, when Chip Kelly was with the Eagles, I wrote why Chip Kelly could get fired. He was indeed fired before the season ended. Fast forward 1 year, he’s with the 49ers and struggling to show any sign of improvement. So, here I am discussing once again about his future.]

On one hand, one might think that the 49ers’ head coach Chip Kelly should be fired immediately because – 

  • He is 1-6. There’s very little hope for 6-10 or 8-8, let alone playoffs.
  • Offense has been impotent. They are almost at the bottom in all offensive categories. His innovative offense failed miserably.
  • There’s no sign of improvement.
  • There’s is no spirit/energy around the team right now sitting at 1-6. Look at the 0-7 Cleveland: They still have so much energy in that team. The players are playing hard, the coach is working his tail offs, the fans are excited because most of the games were very close.

But on the other hand  –

  • This is Kelly’s first year with the 49ers and he’s still installing his system: Players are still learning. He didn’t have Kapernick for the offseason at all due to his injury.
  • The team doesn’t have a lot of talents to work with. Although often times Kelly wants to prove that he can do well with sub par players because his system is superior, but GM Baalke (and the owner for that matter) knows they have some big holes in both sides of the ball.
  • Kaepernick is not playing good in relief of Gabbert. He was benched last year for a reason. Christian Ponder, the 3rd stringer does also has limited ceiling: Once again there’s a reason he got booted out of Minnesota.
  • They lost a few games because of the defense – and Chip Kelly is not directly responsible for that.
  • Their schedule is relatively difficult – being in the NFC West (Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks) and playing those teams twice is no joke. They are also playing AFC East (Patriots, Bills, Dolphins, Jets) and NFC South (Falcons, Saints, Panthers, Buccaneers) – where most of the teams are playing at a high level.
  • GM Baalke will not take the risk of firing 3 head coaches in 3  years. His personnel decisions have been under serious scrutiny before, but 3rd time might just be a charm.
  • Unlike in Philadelphia, Kelly does have good relations with the front office and the players. He’s handling the presses extremely well.

Thus, it is highly unlikely Chip Kelly will get fired at the end of the season.

Will Chip Kelly Get Fired?

  1. Entering into the 3rd week of the 2015 NFL regular season one of the biggest stories is the Eagles falling to 0-2. Head coach Chip Kelly won the power battle during the offseason and took over the personnel duties. He made a lot of surprise moves right away. It’s entirely his team now and the expectations and goals are set too high.
  2. The biggest concern is that none of the losses were close. The Eagles were dominated. They were behind the whole game and never showed any promise of comebacks.
  3. They are facing the 2-0 New York Jets this week. Jets have arguably the best defense in the NFL. They destroyed the Cleveland and Indianapolis offenses in 1st 2 weeks. In addition, the Jets offense found its rhythm with the veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. Thus, the Eagles have a good chance of going 0-3.
  4. In Week 4 the Eagles face a divisional rival in Washington Redskins. Redskins defense is playing at a very high level. They restricted Miami and St. Luis to 17 and 10 respectively. They lost to the Giants in Week 3, but it was the special team, fumbles close the end zone, interceptions from bounced off of receivers, etc. Their defense still played good and Cousins played an okay game. The running game is not that bad either: they led the league in rushing in 1st 2 games. The Eagles can lose that game and decline to 0-4.
  5. Week 5 is going to be even a bigger challenge: They are going to face the New Orleans Saints. The Saints had improved their defense significantly. Although they are 0-2, both these games were close . If Drew Brees can find his offensive rhythm back, the Eagles may find themselves into a deep 0-5 hole.
  6. They face the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers in weeks 6 and 7 before the Bye and thus they can find themselves at 0-7, 1-6, or at best, 2-5.
  7. With all these personnel power and bold moves, Kelly will be under zero tolerance. He may not have a lot of friends inside the organization. Thus the owner may just think he’s seen enough and 2-5 won’t be acceptable. He may as well just pull the plug.

Cold Outings for the Colts

  1. Before the season started, many viewed the Colts as a potential Super Bowl contender. Their offseason acquisitions (Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, etc.) were viewed as great moves.
  2. Last 2/3 years, the Colts defense was the weak link, not offense. Thus, in my opinion, they should have used more resources to improve the defense.
  3. And here they are at 0-2 start. But don’t hit the panic button yet. Colts faced 2 very good defenses in the 1st 2 games. First one was against the Buffalo Bills, which is well-coached by Rex Ryan. And in game 2 they faced the Jets who are possibly going to be the best defense this year’s NFL. Revis and Cromertie, arguably the best Defensive Back duos, came back to the team during the offseason.
  4. The schedule is going to be much easier. They are facing 3 divisional opponents (Titans, Jaguars, and Texans) in the next 3 games. Therefore, by week 5, they have a good chance of improving to 3-2.
  5. Week 6 to 10 will be tough again. They will be playing the Patriots, Saints, Panthers, Broncos, and Falcons during that stretch. Out of these games, they may be able to win 2 games. Thus their record will be 5-5.
  6. Out of the last 6 games of the season, they’ll face 2 tough teams: Steelers and Miami. Thus they can possibly bag 4/5 wins, and by the end of the season, their record could improve to 9-7 or 10-6.
  7. This should be enough to win the weak AFC South division.

Quarterback Options for the Dallas Cowboys

  1. Tony Romo got hurt today in the 2nd week of the 2015 NFL season. It’s the same shoulder that he broke before and he won’t probably be back in 8-10 weeks. The question is who should the Cowboys bring in?
  2. Brandon Weeden, the only other QB on the roster right now is average at best. He shows flashes of brilliance on occasion, but he cannot carry the team. Add to the fact that Dez Bryant, their number one receiver is also going to be out for 8-10 weeks.
  3. Kellen Moore (former Boise State) and Jameill showers are the QBs in practice squad. Following QB names are being mentioned too: Matt Flynn, Jason Campbell, RGIII, and Josh Freeman.
  4. Kellen Moore has good accuracy, but has serious issues with deep balls. However, his ability to pick up the Dallas offense is a question. Jameill Showers never really got into the limelight. He was thought to be big prospect with golden arm before he  backed up Tannehill and Manziel at Texas A&M. He later transferred to UTEP and played a few good games (at least 2 games with 4+ TDs). However, it is difficult to evaluate him on how NFL ready he is.
  5. Out of the available QB on the market, Campbell is already (early) retired and it is uncertain how good of a football shape he is in right now.
  6. Redskins will not let RGIII go to the division rival. So he’s out of the question too.
  7. Josh Freeman proved that he has difficulty picking up new offenses. Several teams kicked the tire on him before cutting him in  a short period of time. So he is not a going to be a wise option either.
  8. I like Matt Flynn the most. I think he can hold it up for a few wins before Romo comes back to the field. He saved Packers season couple of years ago when Rodgers got hurt.
  9. Flynn also showed he can adopt new offense pretty quickly and is already used to being a journeyman. Flynn should be signed immediately and put as Weeden’s backup for now. Let him learn the offense next couple of weeks, and if Weeden is struggling still struggling by that time, put Flynn in.

Kaepernick Can Throw

  1. This is interesting: Last year I wanted to write a blog about how Kaepernick’s throws had no touch. His fast balls were pretty difficult for his WRs to catch.
  2. To top all, he had significant weakness in reading defenses. If his 1st read was not there, he couldn’t progress through his 2nd/3rd.
  3. A big part of me thought, since the defenses already had figured out how to contain the running QBs, Kaepernick was going to be out of the league this year.
  4. Well, I watched the 2015 Week 1 game against the Minnesota Vikings, and I changed my mind already. His throws and mechanics seemed significantly improved with great touch with nice trajectory. His balls were spinning well. No more fast balls!
  5. Many players (i.e. Tim Tebow) talk about getting offseason helps, but it really doesn’t reflect during regular season. Looks like Kaepernick put in some work and it showed. Kudos to him.

Mallett Ready to Hammer It?

  1. About 5 years ago, it was said that the 2011 QB class was very strong. It indeed was. Four QBs were picked within 1st twelve picks and 2 more in the high second rounds. So, a total of 6 QBs were selected in 1st  two rounds!
  2. The draft experts put both Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert to be high 1st rounders, if not 1st two overall picks. A lot of experts even put Gabbert ahead of Cam Newton.
  3. Surprisingly, there was no love at all for Ryan Mallett. All experts kept saying he had serious character issues.
  4. To me, Ryan Mallett was the most NFL ready QB that year. He had the strongest arm (with good accuracy) in that class by a big margin. Actually, not only 2011 draft class, I think he had the strongest arms of all QBs since Joe Flacco (2008 draft). Rumor has it that Mallett can throw the ball upto 80 yards.
  5. Mallett and Flacco are very similar when it comes to measurables though. Both are 6’6″ tall and both weigh about 245 pounds.  Likewise, I am sure they will get a tie in terms of arm strengths.
  6. The reason I put him ahead of Flacco is because of his swagger, command, and leadership. He had this toughness and presence in his playing style, that he is embraced as a natural leader. When the Patriots picked him up. I honestly thought he was gonna de-throne Tom Brady!
  7. What happened to the so called character issues with Ryan Mallett? Five years have passed and Mallett survived the toughest organization, the Patriots without any character questions. I want to ask those so called talent evaluators why they robbed a talent like Mallett of being picked up in high first rounds (and forget about the contract money he missed out on)? They almost ruined his career, and for no real reason!
  8. Couple of days ago, Mallett was declared as the starter for the Houston Texans. Here is why Mallett will succeed in Houston offense this year: (1) it is hard earned; he wouldn’t take it for granted (2) He would be more confident, because now he knows coach believes he will outplay Hoyer (3) He is going to be on a longer leash, because coach O’Brian won’t bench him with the fear of being known as noncommittal (4) Receiving corpse is going to help: Hopkins, Shorts III, Jaelen Strong (5) Running game is going to pick up

Where’s Hoyer’s Confidence?

  1. The morning after week 1 game where Hoyer was relieved towards the end in favor of Mallet, Coach Bill O’Brian was asked who the week 2 starting QB would be. His response was, he would reveal that next Sunday.
  2. Coach O’Brian is very familiar with both QBs. He coached them in New England. He coached Mallett last year in Houston before they signed Hoyer this offseason. After watching both QBs during the offseason, his careful evaluation was to go with Hoyer.
  3. After so many weeks (and years) of observation and thoughts you decided to go with Hoyer. You should give him at least a few more weeks. What could’ve changed in just one week of play? What kind of message does that convey to other players and the organization? What would people think of his judgement?
  4. Any QB can have a bad day, but Hoyer didn’t throw 4 INTs. If you take out that pick 6 in the opening drive, I didn’t think his performance was that bad. That’s how he normally plays. That doesn’t mean you lose your confidence in your QB. This is not a confidence booster for the QB.
  5. What did Coach O’Brian expect, a 4 TD performance from Hoyer? Coach should’ve known better because he saw how average of a QB he was with the Cleveland Browns last year.
  6. Hoyer didn’t help much of his case during the presser. He said he had felt like he let the entire organization down. No. He should’ve said, “I made a mistake and I’ll correct them in the next game with more preparation.”
  7. Mallett, by the way, played pretty good and led the offense down the field to score a TD. He did show a good command over the offense in his limited outing last year before getting injured.
  8. Mallett showed some real passion for the game after Hoyer was proclaimed starter. He was so upset, that he missed practice next morning (rumor has it he overslept). This proved he had a feel of ownership for the team which is important for a QB.

Rams Found Their Franchise Quarterback

  1. What a win for the Rams and Nick Foles! Nick Foles is for real. He took total control of the offense and spread the ball all around like a veteran pocket passer. So far the Rams seem to be the winner of the big offseason trade. That doesn’t mean the Eagles lost in the trade though. Win-win trades do exist!
  2. Foles did not do anything extra ordinary. He played his normal game. He made a lot of screen passes, he connected on some medium to deep balls, and overall, he did a great job of finding open receivers.
  3. Nick Foles got a lot of help from his WRs and RBs. There were not many drops and Benny Cunningham did an awesome job running the ball all game long. Also the fact that Seattle played without Kam Chancellor helped too.
  4. Tavon Austin showed again how big of a playmaker he is. It is still a mystery to me why the Rams didn’t use him more often in his 1st 2 years with the team.

2015 Week 1 Thursday Night Recap: Tom Brady is the GOAT

  1. Tom Brady started where he left off last year. He threw 4 touchdown passes with almost perfect completion percentage in Patriot’s win today in the opening night of 2015 NFL regular season.
  2. As said by the NBC analyst, Brady was able to contain his emotions despite the long and rough off season. He fired up the fans in the Gillette Stadium before the kick off which showed how emotional he was after being through the Deflategate allegations.
  3. Nothing to take away from Brady and the Patriots offense, but Steelers defense made tons of mistakes throughout the game. Gronkowski was left completely unguarded for a number of plays.
  4. I regret not taking Gronkowski as number 1 pick in any of my fantasy football leagues. I thought about it, but then the injury concern got me. He had a whopping 3 TD game.
  5. Gronkowski also played an important role in Patriot’s win by recovering a fumble by Dion Lewis.
  6. Steeler’s offense clicked pretty good despite the absence of few starters. Ben played a solid game and so did DeAngelo Williams and all the wide receivers. Two missed field goal hunted them towards the end.
  7. DeAngelo Williams’ outing was pretty inspiring. He lost some weight after being cut by the Panthers and his improved physical abilities were visible. Good for all the fantasy owners who played them today.
  8. The crowd’s chant of “Where is Roger” was fun to hear. Wonder what would Goodell do had he been in the stadium.
  9. Mike Tomlin’s complains over the communication issues were interesting given all these talks about the Patriot’s visitor’s locker room issues that ESPN/Sport Illustrated put out last few weeks.

Akhter’s Laws of NFL Draft

Introduction:

History repeats itself. Every year, during NFL draft time, teams make the same mistakes. Therefore, I put together 9 laws of drafting that will help teams avoid disastrous drafts. First 4 laws provide guideline to be followed on draft day while the others focus on pre-draft evaluation of players.

Akhter’s Laws of NFL Draft:

Here are the Akhter’s Laws of NFL Draft

1.    Always draft the best player available at your position and work on depth.

2.    Avoid trades. If you have to, never sell the farm.

3.    Don’t be shortsighted in your draft strategy.

4.    Don’t draft out of desperation.

5.    Avoid kids from good football programs.

6.    If a player is injury-prone, he’s probably going to be injury-prone.

7.    Pro day performance or lack of it may not mean a lot.

8.    Don’t put too much importance on size and physical tools.

9.    Avoid players with drug or ego issues

Akhter’s 1st Law of NFL Draft: Always Draft the Best Player Available at Your Position and Work on Depth

This law provides guideline to be followed on draft day. This law is very religiously followed by Green Bay Packers. They always draft the best players available and it automatically builds depth in different position. Drafting Eddie Lacy is a classic example of the Packers staying put and taking the best player available at that time. Raiders’ discovery of Derek Carr is the best example successful application of this law.

Akhter’s 2nd Law of NFL Draft: Avoid Trades. If You Have to, Never Sell the Farm

This law provides guideline to be followed on draft day. Classic example of selling the farm is the RGIII trade by the Washington Redskins. There are many other examples, especially by the Buffalo Bills in recent times. Drafting of both EJ Manuel and Sammy Watkins required trading up and those picks were not as expected. Cleveland Browns violated this law when they drafted Trent Richardson and Johnny Manziel in recent drafts.

Akhter’s 3rd Law of NFL Draft: Don’t be Shortsighted in Your Draft Strategy

This law provides guideline to be followed on draft day. Don’t think just because last year’s draft strategy worked, it will be the same this year. A lot of times if there was a good WR class in last year (i.e. 2014 draft, people tend to pick more WRs in next year (i.e. 2015 class).

Akhter’s 4th Law of NFL Draft: Don’t Draft out of Desperation

This law provides guideline to be followed on draft day.  Especially QBs and RBs. Classic examples: Jake Locker, RG3, Trent Richardson. NFL may be overwhelming for them. May be too much pressure on the kid. Never draft a RB high either.

Akhter’s 5th Law of NFL Draft: Avoid Kids from Good Football Programs

This law provides guideline for pre-draft player evaluation. Chances are the players from good programs probably have reached their peaks. Plus they probably looked good because of their good teammates and good coaching.

Akhter’s 6th Law of NFL Draft: If a Player is Injury-Prone, He’s Probably Going to be Injury-Prone

This law provides guideline for pre-draft player evaluation. Jake Locker, Sam Bradford, RGIII – all were injury-prone in college and so are they now.

Akhter’s 7th Law of NFL Draft: Pro Day Performance or Lack of it may not Mean a Lot

This law provides guideline for pre-draft player evaluation. Tom Brady was horrible during pro day while Jamarcus Russell tore it up.

Akhter’s 8th Law of NFL Draft: Don’t Put too much Importance on Size and Physical Tools

This law provides guideline for pre-draft player evaluation. Russell Wilson and Drew Brees both lacked height. Brent Grime is too small to play the CB position. Blaine Gabbert had all the physical tools, but no success in NFL. Teams should put more emphasis on skills, body language, drive, etc.

Akhter’s 9th Law of NFL Draft: Avoid Players with Drug or Ego Issues

This law provides guideline for pre-draft player evaluation. Josh Gordon is a classic example. So is Johnny Manziel (well, it’s too early to say though).