Chip Kelly may have come up during Dan Quinn‘s meetings with the Commanders. The new Washington HC brings a defensive expertise to the nation’s capital, highlighting the importance of the upcoming offensive coordinator hire. Kelly looks to be under consideration.
Out of the NFL since his one-and-done stint as 49ers HC, Kelly has emerged as a candidate for the Commanders’ OC post, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. Kelly is believed to have interviewed with the Raiders about their OC job — one expected to go to fellow college staffer Kliff Kingsbury — but Quinn is believed to have mentioned the UCLA HC’s name during at least one of his interviews with another team.
Quinn brought up Kelly during one of his HC meetings outside of Washington, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones notes. Kelly, 60, has been the Bruins’ head coach for the past six seasons. As Jim Harbaugh, Jeff Hafley and others have shown recently, the landscape of the college game — one now included the transfer portal and NIL components — has driven coaches to look into NFL returns. Kelly is believed to have met with the Raiders twice about their OC job. With the Commanders’ play-calling gig open, the former Eagles and 49ers HC may still have a chance to return to the league.
A coveted candidate back when the Eagles hired him to replace Andy Reid in 2013, Kelly guided that Philadelphia edition to the playoffs. His 2014 squad, which lost starting QB Nick Foles to injury during the season, added a second straight 10-win season. That Eagles squad narrowly missed the playoffs, but Kelly’s early success prompted Jeffery Lurie to demote Howie Roseman and let his HC run the show in 2015. That made for a memorable year, one that ended with Kelly’s in-season ouster and Roseman being restored as GM. The 49ers hired Kelly in 2016, but after a 2-14 season, the team made a second straight HC a one-and-done (after Jim Tomsula) to lead to the Kyle Shanahan six-year contract.
UCLA’s offense ranked in the top 20 in points from 2020-22 but dropped to 70th last season. The Bruins are also set to join USC in moving to the Big Ten for the 2024 season, moves that brought about the effective demise of the Pac-12 when most of the Los Angeles-based schools’ rivals moved to exit last year.
After being off the NFL radar for years, Kelly resurfaced as a coordinator candidate last month. Kelly, who has never been an NFL assistant, had not conducted an interview with a team between his San Francisco firing and the recent Las Vegas meeting. No Commanders interview is believed to have taken place, but it would not surprise if one transpired. Eric Bieniemy received some late buzz about potentially staying on as OC under Washington’s next head coach; it would still surprise if one of Ron Rivera‘s coordinator hires was given that chance.