During Chip Kelly’s up-and-down NFL tenure, he started six quarterbacks across four seasons and two teams. Nick Foles started 18 games for Kelly’s Eagles, the most of any quarterback; Sam Bradford started 13, Colin Kaepernick 11, Mark Sanchez 10, Michael Vick 6, and Blaine Gabbert 5. If that doesn’t sound like the greatest collection of quarterbacks to you, well, you’re right. Gabbert and Foles were terrible when not coached by Kelly, and Bradford has a career 0.408 winning percentage in games without Kelly.
The other three have winning records without Kelly, but there are other circumstances to consider. Sanchez won 53.2% of his games with the Jets, but his winning percentage in non-Kelly games were heavily inflated by the Jets supporting cast. Vick was 33 years old by the time Kelly came to Philadelphia, with his best days behind him. And Kaepernick? Well, he was on a significant decline before Kelly arrived in San Francisco, and his political stance may have impacted his style of play in 2016.
So how did Kelly’s quarterbacks fare with and without Kelly? Let’s use Foles as an example. In non Kelly-games, he has a career winning percentage of 0.333. He started 18 games for Kelly, so we would have expected him to win 6.0 games with Kelly. Instead, he won 14, meaning he exceeded that total by 8.0 wins. The final column shows each passer’s winning percentage in games coached by Kelly.
|QB||Non-CK Win%||CK G||Exp W||CK W||Diff||CK Win %|
The big outliers on the chart above are Foles and Kaepernick. When analyzing Kelly’s career, it’s worthwhile to figure out what level of talent he was working with at quarterback. To do that, you have to decide how good Foles really was, and how much stock you want to put in his non-Kelly seasons, which were basically as a rookie under Reid in Philadelphia and playing in a talent-deprived Fisher offense with the Rams. For Kaepernick, how good was he by 2016, removed from working with Harbaugh and more talented rosters?
Going 4-6 with Mark Sanchez, 2-4 with a 33-year-old Vick, and 1-4 with Gabbert probably aren’t big indicators of Kelly’s time in the NFL. Ditto a 6-7 year with Bradford, which is basically Bradford’s winning percentage in all years save 2011.
Assuming we never see Kelly coach another game in the NFL, his career will be considered a disappointment. Is that fair?