Oregon coach Chip Kelly talks about Bucs' job offer
Greg Schiano just might prove to be the perfect choice as coach of the Buccaneers. But the truth is, Schiano wasn’t the first choice.
Tampa Bay initially offered the job to Oregon coach Chip Kelly before turning to Schiano, formerly of Rutgers, when Kelly declined.
During a radio interview with KJR in Seattle, Kelly -- who had previously downplayed his interest -- talked in detail about the process of dealing with the Bucs back in January, saying he was offered the job and labored over the decision before backing out.
“I was close,” Kelly said. “I decided to stay, really, because of our staff. I love those guys, love working with them. I think sometimes when people make decisions about taking job X over job Y, it’s, ‘Well, that’s a good job.’ Well, what makes it a good job? The people you work with every day.
“ We’ve got something special there. We’re the only staff in the country that’s been together four straight years... There’s certainly challenges out there that intrigue me, but I think at the end of the day, when you finally have to make a decision, the reason I stayed was because of the staff.”
So, why did Kelly agree to be interviewed in the first place?
“When I got the call, I literally said I would like to take the interview because I thought it would be a good life experience for me,” Kelly said. “Then I ended up getting offered the job and I’m like, ‘Whoa, I didn’t see that coming.’”
One of the interesting aspects of the Bucs’ pursuit of Kelly is the fact that his spread offense, which he personally developed and runs, is so counter to conventional NFL offenses. Surely it wouldn’t work on the NFL level.
But former Bucs coach Tony Dungy, whose son plays for Kelly at Oregon, told us recently that he felt Kelly was smart enough to adapt his scheme to the pro game. It seems Kelly felt confident he could accomplish that but wouldn’t have completely discarded his system, either.
“No one can be married to one thing, because it’s all personnel-driven,” he said. “You can say, ‘Hey, we’re going to do this.’ It’s like the Denver Broncos. What John Fox did in Denver with Tim Tebow was outstanding because he looked at what he had for a player and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to run this.’ Now, all of a sudden, they have Peyton Manning and they’re not going to run the same plays.
“It’s a personnel-driven game and I think the coaches that are the best at it can adapt their systems to the NFL.”