JImmy Johnson says he sees a lot of himself in Chip Kelly.
As someone who covered Jimmy in Dallas, and has admired Kelly's work at Oregon and with the Eagles, I agree. They're both cocky-yet-likeable mavericks.
Here's the difference:
Most in the NFL wrongly saw Jimmy as a rube, a guy who won in college mainly because he cheated, and because his rah-rah act worked on 20-year-olds.
NFL people are not underestimating Kelly.
Jimmy went 1-15 his first year, laying in the weeds. That's why Mike Lynn thought he could pull a fast one on him with the Herschel Walker deal.
Kelly has had two 10-win seasons. The NFL will not overlook him.
As for Kelly's wild offseason, I can't believe the ridicule Kelly is receiving.
Jeremy Maclin is an above-average recekver made to look like a star by Kelly's system. Kelly didnt' ditch Maclin; he just refused to overpay him.
Anyone who watched Nick Foles play full games instead of just on highlights knows that he was another beneficiary of the system. He was not an accurate passer. Sam Bradford should be better than Foles, if Bradford can stay healthy. That's a risk, but so is counting on Foles to get better. He regressed last year.
As for LeSean McCoy, he is more spectacular than reliable. Again, Kelly didn't so much ditch McCoy as seek better return on his financial investment. By trading McCoy, he got back a very good linebacker and cleared space to bring in DeMarco Murray, who is a better every-down back than McCoy, and better equipped to punish defenses that try to go small to deal with the Eagles' spread offense.
Kelly is doing what shrewd managers do - looking past name recognition to true value.
Radio on demand: My podcast will be at Kieran's Irish Pub (across from Target Center) at 5 p.m. tonight with former Gopher star and NBA analyst Quincy Lewis. Stop by, or listen live or later at SouhanUnfiltered.com.
Wednesday, MIchael Russo and I will be at Liffey's Irish Pub by the XCel Energy Center at 4:30. We will be giving away a gift at that one.