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5. Chip Kelly/Philadelphia

Predecessor: Andy Reid

Others interviewed: Then-Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was the rumored frontrunner for the job until Kelly changed his mind and re-entered the picture. Two days later, Kelly was hired away from the University of Oregon and the “Gus Bus” headed to Jacksonville.

Why Kelly?: Eagles brass say it was more than just the innovative offense Kelly fielded with the Ducks. They also were impressed with the way Kelly built “a program.” Kelly elevated the Ducks into a perennial national championship contender.

Biggest philosophical change: Every NFL defensive coordinator is anxious to learn exactly how Kelly will transfer his rapid-fire attack into the pro ranks. Some earmarks of Kelly’s approach with Oregon are already used by New England, which ran more plays at a faster pace than any other team in 2012.

Most pressing task: The Eagles have yet to hire a defensive coordinator. Candidates reportedly include Todd Grantham (University of Georgia), Ed Donatell (San Francisco) and Ted Monachino (Baltimore).

Outlook: Thanks to the success of Harbaugh and Seattle’s Pete Carroll, coaches from the college ranks are being viewed in a much more favorable light by NFL teams than during a stretch in which Saban, Steve Spurrier and Dennis Erickson were among those who couldn’t graduate to the big leagues. A large part to how Kelly fares will be determined by quarterback play. The Eagles must decide if Michael Vick or Nick Foles should lead the team into 2013 or whether there is a better option elsewhere. I get the feeling that Florida State’s E.J. Manuel could become a superstar under Kelly’s tutelage. The Eagles have a shot at him with the No. 4 overall pick. Ex-Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon also may get added to the QB mix.

(AP Photo)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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