Belichick: 'Disappointing' Eagles didn't give Kelly more time

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Belichick: 'Disappointing' Eagles didn't give Kelly more time

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick didn't hide his feelings when asked about coaching changes that are handed down across the NFL at this time of year. The Patriots coach immediately expressed how he disagreed with how one of his confidantes in the coaching ranks, Chip Kelly, was treated in Philadelphia. 

The Eagles released Kelly from his contract on Tuesday after going 6-9 through 15 games this season. Kelly went 26-21 overall in his nearly three seasons as head coach in Philly. 

"Yeah, I would say it's actually disappointing," Belichick said. "Chip Kelly to me is a really good football coach. He does a great job. I think he's done a good job with that team. It's disappointing to see, you know, Josh [McDaniels] in Denver . . . There's a lot of examples. But pretty much everybody's on a one-year contract in this league. I don't know how you build a program in one year.

"Chip's a great coach. He'll end up somewhere, and he'll do a great job there. I'd say a lot of the players that were on the Eagles that are no longer on the Eagles aren't really doing too much for anybody else, either."

This was Kelly's first season in the dual roles of both head coach and personnel chief.

Belichick handles both of those duties in New England, and he called his situation with the Patriots "the best situation in the league" on Thursday given the stability throughout the franchise. From ownership to the quarterback, things have gone unchanged since 2001.

Still, Belichick expressed disappointment at the fact that coaches he deems to be capable have had their tenures ended before they could insert their programs completely. All over the league -- not just in Philadelphia -- there are owners who expect coaches and personnel people to be able to install a program and create a winner in a very short period of time, Belichick explained. 

"It's disappointing to look at coaches like coach [Greg] Schiano or coach [Mike] Shanahan or coach Kelly or guys like that," Belichick said. "But, I mean, look, I'm not there. I'm not a part of those programs. I just know those guys are good coaches. They do a good job. I have a lot of respect for them."

Belichick was open in discussing his own career as an example of how it can take multiple years to establish a system. It wasn't until 2003, Belichick said, that he felt his entire program had been installed. 

"You have to change the culture," he said. "Normally one coach is different from the previous coach. You don't see a lot of, whoever the first coach is, the second coach is a carbon copy of the first coach, the third coach is kind of a carbon copy of the second coach. I mean, you rarely see that."

With a new coach comes a new philosophy, Belichick explained. And often with a new philosophy, a new scheme isn't far behind. 

"That means you're going to turn over a high percentage of the roster," he said, "because the players that the other coach had don't fit the new philosophy. A lot of the players are going to have to change, in part because of the philosophy, in part because of the scheme. Those role-type players, now that role's not needed in the new scheme, and a different role's needed so you need different players."

Even with an overhaul in personnel, it takes time for those adjustments to pay dividends. A few months of practices aren't enough, as far as Belichick is concerned.

"You're going to have to go through a lot of tough situations," Belichick said. "Tough games, tough losses, tough stretches in the season, whatever it happens to be. To build that up over time, it doesn't happen in training camp. I mean, look, training camp's training camp but those games don't count. Even in the early part of the season, you might have some tough games, but it's not like playing in January, playing in December. It takes some time to go through that. I don't think there's any shortcut to it.

"I mean, I know there's a lot of other people in the league who think there is. Like, they're just instant -- after two weeks all of a sudden after two weeks, everything's going to change dramatically. I'm not really a part of that. I don't buy into that."

Belichick had the benefit of winning a Super Bowl in 2001, which clearly helped his grasp on the head-coaching job in New England. But in Thursday's press conference he admitted that those bumps in the road of program development were felt when the team went 9-7 and missed the playoffs in 2002.

Then in 2003 and 2004, with his program established, the Patriots won back-to-back Super Bowls.

"We won in '01, but in '02 we had a lot of issues," Belichick said. "[In] '03, that was a good football team. [In] '04, that was a good football team. I don't think there's any doubt about '01. That wasn't the best team, but that team played the best so we won.

"But I think we saw in '02 more of probably overall where the '01 team was. It's just the '01 team played great when it had to in critical situations in big games. That's why they won. Can't take anything away from them because they deserved it because they were the best team. But that wasn't the case in '02."

Belichick went 5-11 in his first season as Patriots head coach and personnel chief in 2000, yet he was given time to build his team the way he wanted. Clearly he feels owners around the league, and particularly Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, should be more willing to adopt a similar approach.

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