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Evan Mathis played under Chip Kelly for two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, and based on an email exchange with Mike Klis of 9 News it’s clear he is not a fan of his former coach.

“There were many things that Chip had done that showed me he wasn’t building a championship team,” Mathis wrote. “Two of the main issues that concerned me were: 1. A never-evolving, vanilla offense that forced our own defense to play higher than normal play counts. 2. His impatience with certain personality types even when they were blue-chip talents. The Broncos team I was on would have eaten Chip alive. I don’t think he could have handled the plethora of large personalities.”

If you’re a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, these are pretty scathing words about the new coach from Mathis. While it’s pretty clear that Mathis doesn’t like Kelly, he has nothing to gain by ripping his former head coach.

Most of what Mathis said isn’t terribly new criticism, but the claim that he couldn’t coach the Denver Broncos Super Bowl-winning team paints Kelly in an especially bad light.

A Super Bowl champion with “a plethora of large personalities” is not unique to the Broncos in any way.

Before Denver, we had the New England Patriots with characters like Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady. The year before, the Seattle Seahawks were led by big personalities like Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch. The 2012 Baltimore Ravens had those types of personalities in Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, and Anquan Boldin. The list goes on and on.

Any team in contention for a Super Bowl will have a lot of big personalities that a coach will have to deal with. Right now, the 49ers aren’t anything close to a Super Bowl contender but even if they were, Mathis certainly doesn’t seem to believe that Kelly could handle the personalities that would come with it.

Coaching in the NFL is often as much about handling egos and personalities than it is about the X’s and O’s. Hearing someone who certainly has credibility on the topic saying that about Kelly is incredibly damning. It sure seems like Kelly has a lot of work to do if he’s ever going to win a Super Bowl.

Michael Dixon
Bay Area born and raised, I have extensive experience in both the print and online worlds. There are few things in this world I love doing more than talking sports.