Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson is one of the few holdovers left from the bygone Chip Kelly era, and he wasn’t exactly a fan of his former coach.
Johnson was critical of Kelly’s decision to move on from some of the team’s best players in DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy, and suggested that he wasn’t the only one on the team who felt that way.
“It was definitely exciting whenever he first came in, and we did some good things,”
Johnson said on Steve Austin’s podcast, via Philly.com.
“Then we start getting rid of our best players. You’ve got DeSean Jackson, who can outrun everyone on the field. You’ve got Shady McCoy, who’s going to be one of the best running backs of all time. You just get rid of those guys just like that, and you set a tone. Players didn’t really like that.”
Johnson also pointed to Kelly’s obsession with sports science. While Johnson acknowledged that sports science had its benefits, he believes the former Eagles coach over-emphasized it ahead of other aspects of the game that deserved more focus.
After back-to-back 10-win seasons in his first two years in Philly, Kelly’s tenure with the Eagles ended after just three years in large part due to the factors that Johnson explained. While he was an innovative thinker who brought in new concepts in the realm of sports science and offensive schemes to the league, he lacked the people skills to make it work with players who didn’t completely conform to his way.
It speaks to the tremendous job done by Kelly’s successor, Doug Pederson, as well as general manager Howie Roseman, that they managed to build a Super Bowl-winning team just a couple years after Kelly left the franchise in such a disjointed state. The team’s decision to move on from Kelly has been more than justified with their success so soon after his departure.