It's fairly unusual for Bill Belichick to speak out about, well ... pretty much anything. The man in the hood tends to play things pretty close to the vest, no matter the subject. So it was more than a bit unusual to see on the morning of New Year's Eve that Belichick had thrown strong support behind departed Philadelphia Eagles coach and top personnel man Chip Kelly.
"I'd say it's really disappointing. I mean, Chip Kelly, to me, is a really good football coach. He does a great job and he's done a great job with that team," Belichick said, per ESPN. "Pretty much everyone is one a one-year contract in this league. I don't know how you build a program in one year. ... Chip is a great coach. He'll end up somewhere and will do a great job there."
Kelly did take a team that had just gone 4-12 and been outscored by over 10 points per game when he took over and go 26-21 in his (nearly) three years as head coach. That record included back-to-back 10-6 campaigns to start off his tenure. The Eagles made the playoffs in the first of those three years but did not make it in either of the last two, including this, his first year in charge of personnel.
On that front, Belichick had this to say:
Belichick w/ support for Chip Kelly GM: "A lot of the players no longer on the Eagles aren't really doing too much for anybody else either."— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 31, 2015
Now, if you're anti-Chip, I know what you're thinking when you see that last quote: "Well what about Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, and LeSean McCoy??????" Right? In that case, it's pretty important to note that Belichick didn't say "None of the players no longer with the Eagles are doing too much for anybody else," but rather that a lot of them aren't.
And surely, Cary Williams, Todd Herremans, Trent Cole, and Evan Mathis (to name just the four non-Maclin/McCoy "big" name departures from last offseason) did not exactly light the world on fire this year. Williams was the league's worst player at his position before getting cut. Herremans was unceremoniously benched by the Colts after Week 2. Cole scarcely made an impact for the Indianapolis defense. Mathis often struggled in his transition to a new offense in Denver. And former safety Nate Allen was alternately injured and ineffective in Oakland.
It's also probably important to note that Jackson sat out half the year with an injury and that McCoy looked like the second best running back on his own team for much of the year (rookie Karlos Williams outplayed Shady, for the most part). Do you want any part of that McCoy contract long-term right now? Kiko Alonso didn't have the best year and Chip's McCoy replacement (DeMarco Murray) looks like a high-dollar free agent bust, but it's not like the Eagles will regret not having McCoy for years to come.
In the end, what probably did Chip in was a combination of the Murray signing, the Sam Bradford trade (which didn't really work out for either side), and his supposedly prickly personality, but it sure seems like Belichick's point here is simply that it's not as though every single move Kelly made was a disaster. Just, you know, some of them.