Sam Donnellon claims to be able to read body language or maybe a Ouija board, but he always gets it wrong about the Eagles coach, especially his relationship with quarterbacks he inherited like Nick Foles (above)

By Theodore N. Beitchman

I never miss a chance to read Sam Donnellon, whom the Daily News has seen fit to grant a column, which used to be the mark of excellence in the newspaper world.

It generally takes reading halfway through a Donnellon column to spot something so silly that it would make me chuckle for an hour.

Take last Eagles’ season, when Eagles coach Chip Kelly got off to a 1-3 start. Sudden Sam was the first in town to suggest that he would be scurrying back to college, especially the vacant USC job.

Or later in that season when, after a press conference, Donnellon mused about Kelly’s body language, as if he were an expert in that area like the dopes Fox News foists on us.

Donnellon went to college in Massachusetts, which is less than an hour from the University of New Hampshire, where Kelly played and was head coach before he lit up the sky in four years at the University of Oregon with a 46-7 record.

So, maybe Donnellon feels a geographical kinship with Kelly.

Whatever it is, he is by far the leader in the pack of local media types who still doubt that Kelly is a first-rate NFL coach.

Take today’s Daily News, and another witless column in which Donnellon compares Kelly to his predecessor, Andy Reid:

There are other similarities, as well. Both men were risky choices. Both men were risk-taking, offensive-minded men: Reid a third-generation apostle of Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense; Kelly a college trailblazer with his breakneck offensive pace, dictating your personnel as well as his.

Risky choices?

Reid was quarterbacks coach with the Packers, who employed a fellow named Brett Favre in that position. In other words, there was nothing much for a QB coach to do.

Kelly had just put Oregon on the map as a national football power, where once it was only known for track and for Phil Knight’s largesse.

… Reid drafted his franchise quarterback before his first season and taught him his system, step by step. Kelly, whose offense is harder to defend when the quarterback is a threat to keep and run, has taken the quarterbacks left to him, added a discarded one, and instead adjusted his system to account for the more stationary players at the position, with surprising success.

But that’s not how it was drawn up when he was hired, and that makes the last two games of this season not just a last stab at the postseason, but a crossroads as well…then isn’t Kelly farther from the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl championship than Reid was at this stage?

That’s not how it was drawn up when he was hired?

Says who? A bubbleheaded typist for the Daily News?

Kelly has shown more flexibility to adapt to reality in less than two seasons than Reid did in 14 with the Eagles. Reid never adjusted, just read plays from his pre-approved plan, as if doing so would somehow make him seem like Bill Walsh, a coaching genius.

Longtime followers of the University of New Hampshire football program recall Kelly’s eight seasons as their coordinator as both exciting and frustrating. Twice over a 3-year span from 2004-06, the Wildcats, with the same kind of breathtaking offense the Eagles exhibit on their best days, were ranked as the nation’s top 1-AA team.

But each of the three seasons ended with a second-round loss in the NCAA playoffs.

Really, Sam? You think comparing Kelly’s stretch as offensive coordinator at UNH, an FCS school, with how he has done as head coach of the Eagles — an NFL team, by the way — after 30 games is fair?

Yeah, you probably do because you’re the guy who complained about the Eagles publicly when they cashiered Joe Banner and chose to give the story to the Inquirer, which has much higher circulation than the Daily News.

You were a whining child then and you haven’t grown much since.




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