Sports, Thrill of Victory

The case for Chip Kelly as the new Titans head coach

The Philadelphia Eagles fell to 4-6 with a blowout home loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs. That performance did nothing to quiet the Chip Kelly critics.

Kelly went 10-6 each year in his first two in Philly. Unless a miracle happens, he won’t go 10-6 this year.

A Mariota/Kelly pairing could be just what the Titans need. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

Despite two winning seasons and a playoff appearance, Kelly’s Eagles are regressing. Seeing the two sides part ways wouldn’t be all that surprising.

If Kelly does get fired, he’ll be the hottest name available on the coaching market. But one team in particular makes the most sense for him:

The Tennessee Titans.

Kelly’s coaching style isn’t for everyone. But his coaching style is for Marcus Mariota.

Kelly hasn’t had a quarterback like Mariota in his short NFL coaching career. Or to put it more bluntly, he hasn’t had the opportunity to work with a franchise quarterback.

His quarterback carousel in Philadelphia hasn’t been a good one. Nik Foles isn’t a franchise quarterback. Sam Bradford isn’t a franchise quarterback. Mark Sanchez – you guessed it – isn’t a franchise quarterback.

For Kelly to experience long-term success in the NFL, he needs a quarterback that fits his system. Mariota is certainly that quarterback.

The Kelly-Mariota connection started years ago in Eugene, Oregon. Under Kelly’s leadership, Mariota was able to mold himself into the player that he is today. Kelly gave him the tools and leadership to become a star, and Mariota did the rest.

It’s clear at this point that interim head coach Mike Mularkey will not get the job. Not after a debacle of a game in Jacksonville on Thursday night.

The Titans will have options. Coaches understand what you need to win in this league: a reliable quarterback.

Mariota is that quarterback. He’s shown that even in yet another abysmal year for this Titans franchise.

Mike Mularkey faces an uphill battle in being named Titans head coach. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

Mike Mularkey faces an uphill battle in being named Titans head coach. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

Unfortunately, no one is ever going to realize how good he is if the Titans continue in the direction that they’re going. Ken Whisenhunt was a failure at head coach. Ruston Webster hasn’t been much better as general manager.

Kelly might just be Mariota’s savior from this mess of a franchise.

Too many quarterbacks come and go in the NFL without seeing their potential realized. If the Titans ownership makes yet another terrible hire, Mariota is going to become another case of what might have been.

Perhaps Kelly’s lack of NFL experience will scare a lot of fans away. His team this year might as well.

But Kelly and Mariota would be a dangerous combination. They had insane success as the college level, and could do the same at the professional level if the Titans find a general manager that knows what he’s doing.

It doesn’t hurt that the Titans play in the AFC South. The current state of the division is not good. The Titans have a lot of weaknesses, but could still challenge for the division immediately.

The Titans need a major spark. Kelly’s offense – when he’s had the right quarterback – can offer that and more.

This franchise is past the point of being a quick fix. However, it starts at the top. Adding Kelly would be the first step towards turning things around.

And more importantly, it would be a big step towards Mariota becoming one of the best quarterbacks in franchise history.