NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Connecting the Chip Kelly dot to the Marcus Mariota dot is easy.
Yes, he recruited Mariota to Oregon and coached him there, and they had great success, which Mariota maintained after Kelly went to the NFL ahead of him.
The Eagles tried hard to trade up to No. 2 last year to get the Ducks quarterback, but to no avail. The Titans have little going for them beyond the quarterback who showed in his rookie season that his game translates to the next level just fine.
Here’s the thing: Kelly needs Mariota far more than Mariota needs Kelly.
The fast, spread offense of Oregon was something to behold when Mariota ran it. But he's shown he wasn't running it because his skill set meant he had to, rather because Kelly and then Mark Helfrich wanted him to. And that was great.
But Mariota doesn’t need to go back to a version of it now in order to be a success in the NFL.
A new coach will inherit a good young quarterback with tremendous upside. That coach should be creative with him while also knowing he gets the foundational element of NFL quarterbacking -- strong pocket play.
ESPN.com’s Eagles reporter Phil Sheridan wrote this about Kelly after Philly fired him: “He’s self-confident bordering on arrogant and he doesn’t suffer fools very well. And since he’s pretty sure he’s the smartest guy in every room, the supply of those he considers fools is endless.”
Sound familiar? That’s an extreme version of Ken Whisenhunt, a coach Titans fans quickly came to dislike, who was fired after just 23 games at the helm.
At a time when the Titans need to find a path back to embraceability, Kelly appears to be a porcupine.
Maybe he could come to Tennessee, be more of the 10-6 coach he was in each of his first two years and in a second chance really pan out as the NFL revolutionary many of us rooted he would become. But the three-year NFL resume says he’s a guy who wanted power, would ignore people in the hallway and did far better at dismantling a roster than building one.
Is that what the Titans really need?