Wow, that was fast.
That's what we said the first time we saw Chip Kelly's offense play a regular-season game on a Monday night against the Washington Redskins and that's what we were thinking again Tuesday evening when the shocking news broke that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie had shown his head coach the exit before the completion of his third season.
Fast out of the gate, fast out the door and fast with just about everything else in between during his brief and fascinating tenure in Philadelphia.
Chip Kelly was a fast talker and if you're not familiar with the definition of that term, it is described this way in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary: to influence or persuade (someone) by talking quickly in a confident and often dishonest way.
Just think about how often that applied during Kelly's time with the Eagles.
He told us that the release of wide receiver DeSean Jackson was "purely a football decision." If we actually believed that, then it was one of the worst "purely football decisions" in the history of the franchise. The Eagles still have not replaced him as a deep threat.
Kelly told us that trading LeSean McCoy, the team's all-time leading rusher, was all about freeing up salary-cap space and improving the defense with the addition of linebacker Kiko Alonso from the Buffalo Bills. Kelly replaced McCoy with DeMarco Murray and we know what a disaster that became this season. His cap hit next season is $8 million and given the body of work, that does not feel at all freeing.
Murray, meanwhile, felt imprisoned by Kelly's offense and pleaded his case to Lurie on a plane ride home from Providence, R.I. The coach responded by telling us that Lurie and Murray just happened to be sitting next to each other on the team charter. He also responded by given Murray less work.
Spite is never right for a head coach at any level.
As for the defensive improvement that was supposed to be provided by Alonso's addition, we haven't seen much good from him since his opening-night interception in Atlanta. If injury was the reason, it should not be forgotten that he came in as damaged goods.
The highest-paid free agent after Kelly took full control of the roster was cornerback Byron Maxwell. It was OK when he was the fourth-best defensive back in Seattle. It was not OK when he was the fourth-best defensive back in Philadelphia.
Kelly told us he could not afford to pay Jeremy Maclin what the Kansas City Chiefs gave the wide receiver to leave Philadelphia as a free agent. The coach found out he could not afford to lose Maclin. The proof was in all those footballs littered along the ground when they should have been secured in the hands of Eagles receivers.
In his final news conference Monday, Kelly went out of his way to clarify that he was not the general manager of the Eagles, and technically he was right. But even without the title, he was still the architect of the Eagles' 2015 failure.
That is obviously how Lurie saw it. Not only did the owner remove his coach, he also took out Ed Marynowitz, who was Kelly's handpicked vice president of player personnel.
"As I watched this season unfold, I determined that it was time to make a change," Lurie said in a statement.
It would have been a better statement if he had said "As I watched this franchise implode . . ." But the result is the same. The Eagles need a new coach and Wednesday we will find out if Howie Roseman is making a return as general manager.
It's hard to believe that it was only one year ago that Kelly won his power struggle with Roseman when he convinced Lurie that he needed control of the personnel moves even if it didn't come with a new title. That was the fast talker's high point.
Ultimately, it was not the fast-talking demeanor that destroyed Kelly, although it did alienate him from many of his players in the locker room. Who wants to go to battle with a coach who almost always wants to blame the execution rather than the scheme?
Kelly's downfall was that he wanted to do everything fast. It was OK that he decided that 10-6 seasons were not good enough, but he tried to make it all better in his first season as the head personnel honcho.
It was also OK to go fast on the field sometimes. Push the accelerator when you have a defense on its heels. But when the engine stalls and your own defense is wheezing, it's advisable to take a step back and slow it down. Huddles can be helpful and insightful.
This, in fact, would be a good time for Kelly to slow down and consider doing things a little differently if he gets another chance to be an NFL coach. If you're always traveling in the fast lane all the time, you're bound to crash and that is exactly what happened to Kelly in Philadelphia.