Best NFL fits for Chip Kelly

Panthers, Browns and Bills should take a hard look at the Oregon coach

Updated: January 16, 2013, 12:11 PM ET
By Chris Sprow | ESPN Insider
Chip KellyJonathan Ferrey/Getty ImagesOregon's piled up 46 wins in Chip Kelly's four seasons -- thanks in large part to his offensive scheme.

As a head coach, Chip Kelly has a record of 46-7 at Oregon. He is 34-3 in conference, 23-7 against teams over .500 and is a whopping 29-1 in games in which Oregon has superior talent, according to Coaches by the Numbers.

Of course, many college coaches we consider great benefit from playing with superior talent on an almost weekly basis. Nick Saban is 50-7 at Alabama with superior talent, 21-7 with equivalent talent and 0-2 with inferior talent. Think about that. And Kelly is similarly 12-3 with equivalent talent, and 2-3 with inferior talent (with a couple of those losses to well-prepped Auburn and LSU teams). The story stays the same when it's all about offense; as an offensive coordinator at both Oregon and New Hampshire, Kelly's record is 64-14 overall, 18-6 when the talent is equal.

Conventional wisdom says that those numbers as an offensive guru would look similar to the numbers as a head coach because Kelly is, as we've been told, defined by that offense. What he is as a head coach seems inextricably linked to what he is as an offensive mastermind.

At least at the college level. But now that he seems destined for the NFL, let's consider some good destinations for him, including the fact Kelly's defensive chops aren't so bad, either.

1. Carolina Panthers

Benefit: The ideal QB to bring Kelly to the pro game

Carolina may not have an opening just yet, but we're looking at best fits that could make sense now -- not top openings -- and the Panthers would match well with Kelly.

This week, we've heard endless debates about whether Prototype Made-For-College Coach® Chip Kelly can become a successful NFL head coach. Meanwhile, the Redskins are headed to the playoffs under Prototype Made-For-NFL Coach® Mike Shanahan. That matters, because that Redskins team is going to the playoffs in a season in which it busted out zone-read plays regularly and its starting quarterback ran the ball 120 times in 15 games, with 77 of those coming as designed runs. Meanwhile, Kelly's starting QB at Oregon this year, Marcus Mariota -- in a scheme some dismiss as something that will never work in the NFL -- had run 98 times in 12 games heading into the Fiesta Bowl.


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