Kelly one of 10 head coaches to call plays


PHILADELPHIA -- Chip Kelly heaped more on his plate by becoming the Philadelphia Eagles' general manager in all but title after the season ended. Kelly will be running the personnel end of things as the scouting combine begins this month and free agency opens on March 10.

If he's looking to take something off his plate, Kelly could consider his play-calling responsibilities. Kelly is in the minority of head coaches who call plays during games.

The coaches who met in the Super Bowl, Seattle's Pete Carroll and New England's Bill Belichick, both have final say on personnel matters. But neither of them calls plays during the game. They leave that up to their coordinators.

In Green Bay, head coach Mike McCarthy has indicated he plans to give up calling the Packers' offensive plays. That would leave 10 head coaches calling plays on game day, eight of them on the offensive side of the ball.

One of those head coaches is in Kansas City. Andy Reid calls plays for the Chiefs. He did so for much of his tenure as the Eagles' head coach. At different times, though, Reid would hand off that part of the job to his offensive coordinator. Brad Childress occasionally called the plays early on, and Reid turned play calling over to Marty Mornhinwheg in the latter part of his time in Philadelphia.

Kelly may choose to keep calling plays for the simple reason that he's pretty good at it. The Eagles' offense has been very productive over his first two seasons in the NFL.

And while Kelly will have more personnel responsibility going forward, that requires time during the offseason and during the practice week. There isn't much Kelly can do on that front during a game, to interfere with his role as a playcaller.

Kelly could flip the keys to his offense to offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur at times, as Reid did when he was feeling ineffective during a game.

The only real concern about conflict between play calling and personnel matters is in preparation. If Kelly's role in personnel decisions somehow limits his prep time for play calling, he could decide to pass the play calling to Shurmur. Kelly would still be on the sideline, wearing a headset and able to weigh in at any time.

Again, there's no pressing reason for Kelly to stop calling plays. It's just worth noting that only two head coaches whose teams made the playoffs this season were calling plays. One was Arizona's Bruce Arians. The other was McCarthy, and he's giving it up.