Chip Kelly confirmed on Tuesday he has final say on the Eagles' 53-man roster. (AP)
The Eagles face difficult personnel decisions in the next few days, needing to trim 22 players off the roster to get to the NFL-mandated 53.
Ultimately, the decision on every player’s fate will be made by one person.
Asked on Tuesday if he had final say on the 53-man roster, Chip Kelly said, “Yeah.”
The same question has been asked several times to general manager Howie Roseman throughout the offseason but the answer was usually murky and unclear. Roseman likes to say all decisions are made collectively.
It’s an important subject right now, with several roster spots -- and a starting position -- still up for grabs with less than two weeks to go before the season opener against the Redskins. Nate Allen and rookie Earl Wolff are battling to start opposite Patrick Chung. Allen and Wolff will each play in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Jets. Chung will watch from the sideline.
The league is divided into teams with different power structures. Some franchises leave all personnel decisions in the hands of the general manager. Others have a committee process.
For years, former Eagles coach Andy Reid maintained final say on the 53-man roster as both head coach and vice president of player personnel. But the organization didn’t immediately hand over the personnel hat to Reid until a few years -- and some playoff wins -- into his tenure, after Reid won a power struggle over former general manager Tom Modrak, who eventually landed in Buffalo.
Kelly, the former high-profile Oregon Ducks head coach, signed a five-year, $32.5 million deal in January to coach the Eagles, immediately making him one of the NFL’s highest-paid coaches despite his bare resume of NFL coaching experience.
With that price tag came, apparently, the power to preside over the final roster decisions. But Kelly said he and Roseman “are on the same page with everything.”
“There hasn’t been a decision that’s been made personnel-wise since I’ve been here where I’ve felt [one] way and he’s felt the other way,” Kelly said.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that the two butt heads. It just hasn’t happened yet, according to Kelly, who doesn’t anticipate any turbulence ahead.
“No, I’m not amazed that it has been [smooth],” he said. “If you analyze it, there’s never been a situation when we’ve been going from, ‘It’s this guy or that guy,’ and then two guys are standing on soap boxes saying ‘We’re going one direction, not the other direction.’
“I think when you have guys that are professional and can see the other side of it and understand how it fits in the grand scheme of things, I think he sees the big picture. I see the big picture. So I think that’s why we get along so well.”
At his introductory press conference on Jan. 17, Kelly spoke about the importance of having the right people around to procure talent and manage the checkbook, which isn't under his jurisdiction.
“My role right now is clearly defining what we want. Then in collaboration with everybody here, not one person can do it all,” he said. “I’ve heard questions that I want control over this, control over that. That has never been an issue, never is an issue for me. I’m a football coach. I’m not a general manager. I’m not a salary cap guy. I coach football. I need people who can go out there and say, ‘Hey this is what you want. These are the people.’ And it’s going to be a collaboration. We’re all going to be on the same page. I’ve got no delusions of saying that I want all these different titles. I just want to coach football.”