Coach Talk – Chip Kelly

Posted: November 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 58 Comments »

I prefer to hold off going full bore on coach talk until December when we should have a better idea of Andy’s fate, as well as seeing how potential candidates are doing this year.

There are a couple of things to bring up now, while they are fresh in my mind.  Did anyone watch A Football Life – Jimmy Johnson on the NFL Network?  I did.  And it did get my brain to thinking about some things.

I hate Jimmy Johnson with a passion.  He replaced Tom Landry, a coach that I loved.  Jimmy coached at Miami, a school I hated.  He led the Cowboys to greatness, which made me miserable.  Even worse, he did so at the cost of Reggie, Seth, and the gang.

All that said, I do respect Jimmy because he was such a great coach.  I was in serious torture mode back in January 1995 when Jeff Lurie brought him to Philly to pick his brain about coaching the Eagles or making suggestions about who should coach the Eagles.  I didn’t know if I could handle that, but I will admit fascination with the idea.

As I watched the show on Jimmy you could see what made him a great coach.  He was bold.  He embraced pressure and expectations.  He was smart.  Master motivator and a great psychologist.  He was willing to be unconventional.  Failure didn’t scare him because he believed in himself and his players.

Jimmy was also an asshole (pardon the language).  Former Eagles C David Alexander told a story about going on a recruiting visit to Oklahoma State when Jimmy was the head coach there.  Jimmy offered him a scholarship, but told David he needed a decision right then, right there.  David wanted to talk to his parents and think about it.  Jimmy took back the offer and sent him home.  David went on to play at Tulsa and still made the NFL.

Why would you treat a kid in such a way?  Jimmy was already playing mind games with him.  That’s mean, but also genius.  Jimmy burned out on coaching quickly because of the way he was.  He said in the show last night that he simply got tired of being the bad guy.  I remember Leon Lett making a huge mistake in the Thanksgiving game of 1993.  He tried to recover a blocked field goal and wasn’t able to do it (snowy day).  The Dolphins got the ball right back and kicked the winning field goal.  Lett sat in the locker room in tears because he thought Jimmy was going to cut him.

Jimmy ruled his teams with an iron fist, but it worked.  Some players hated him (most notably Charles Haley, who literally wanted to kill Jimmy), but most loved winning so much that they embraced Jimmy’s style of doing things.

Think how different that is from the Andy Reid style of things.  Players love Big Red.  He’s hard on them, but only behind closed doors.  He protects them from the media.  He protects them from the fans.  Andy can be agonizingly patient.

Before you go nuts with ripping Reid for his style of doing things, realize that Bill Walsh had great success doing things this way and that Jimmy had only moderate success when he went to Miami.  Dan Marino wasn’t half the leader that Troy Aikman was.  Jimmy never found a star RB, despite trying many players.  He never had an impact WR like Michael Irvin.  Jimmy could push buttons and play games all day long, but things just weren’t the same.  He didn’t have the same level of talent or same kind of team.

If the Eagles fire Reid, I do think they need to go in a different direction.  Don’t hire one of his old lieutenants (Spagnuolo, Shurmur, etc.).  Find someone who has a different personality.  You need a shake-up so that players don’t see this as just Andy, with a new twist.  You need to bring a new personality to the building.  The coach doesn’t have to be the opposite of Andy, but there does need to be some difference.

Just so happened that Yahoo had an article up last night on Oregon coach Chip Kelly.  I read this after seeing the Jimmy Johnson special and wondered if this was a message from the Football Gods.  Or maybe just a dumb coincidence.

Here is the article, which focuses on Kelly’s extremely aggressive style.  For those who don’t follow the college game, Kelly is very unorthodox.  He loves to go for it on 4th down.  He goes for 2 after TDs early in the game because he likes putting teams down 8-0 or 8-7 and making them feel uncomfortable.

I’m not going to go into his full background here because there is a lot about him that I don’t know.  I’ve got to do a lot of research.  I do think he’s incredibly fascinating because he’s so confident and so aggressive.

Kelly did talk to Tampa last year about coaching them.  I think he took the job and then backed out because he wanted to win a title at Oregon.  His Ducks are 9-0 this year and have a chance to win the title.  He lost the title game to Cam Newton a couple of years back.

I’m not going to get into the full discussion about how Kelly would do with this team in 2013 and which players would fit.  Let’s save that stuff for down the line.  Way early for that.

I’m bringing up Kelly and Jimmy today because they remind me of each other a bit.  Kelly isn’t as much of a jerk, but his ideas and bold approach are similar.  When Jimmy was at the University of Miami he placed an emphasis on speed unlike anything I can recall.  DEs became DTs.  LBs became DEs.  Safeties became LBs.  CBs became Safeties.  He wanted a defense that could really fly around.

Jimmy brought this philosophy to the NFL.  I laughed at the idiocy of that.  Look at his 1992 DL.

DE Tony Tolbert – 6’6, 268
DT Tony Casillas – 6’3, 278
DT Russell Maryland – 6’1, 285
DE Charles Haley – 6’4, 245

Reggie White was bigger than any of  those guys.  How could a group that small play good run defense?

They found a way.  Dallas finished with the #1 overall defense in 1992.  Even worse, they were #1 against the run.  They were light, but they tackled well, played physical and really flew to the ball.  Other teams saw what they did and copied it.  The current Chicago Bears are built on principles that Jimmy brought to the league.  Dallas wasn’t running the Tampa 2 per se, but they’re similar in a lot of ways.

If Kelly comes to the NFL, he will do some unorthodox things that could change the game or could blow up in his face.  Like Johnson, Kelly won’t be afraid to fail because he believes in what he does and thinks he can make it work, no matter what level.

We’ve seen more than a few college geniuses get to the NFL and flame out.  Lou Holtz was a disaster with the Jets.  Steve Spurrier was bad with the Skins.  Barry Switzer was handed a dynasty.  He won a title, but let the thing quickly fall apart.  Bobby Petrino was a disaster in Atlanta in his one partial season there.  Nick Saban was 15-17 with the Dolphins.  And so on.

Why was Jimmy different?  Why could Chip Kelly be different?  Both guys are incredibly driven.  Both are innovative.  Both are risk takers.  Just as important, both are ultra-competitive and hate losing.  Some of the other coaches seemed to see the greener pastures back in college and headed back quickly.  Much easier to dominate the SEC than the AFC East.

I don’t know what I think of Chip Kelly yet, but I do find him very fascinating.   There are no guarantees he would pan out, but he sure would keep things from being boring.

* * * * *

2012 has been a down season for us Eagles fans.  Sometimes I’ll watch episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia after games to pep me up.  A good laugh can do me a world of good after a miserable loss (or 4).

An Iggles Blitz reader just sent me a book that has helped for the past couple of weeks.  The book is The Bro Code For Parents.  The author is Matt Kuhn and he’s one of us, a degenerate Eagles fan.

Matt writes for the hit show How I Met Your Mother.  He has now put out 4 books, written in the persona of Barney Stinson, the character played by Neil Patrick Harris.  Matt is a hilarious guy, in person or in print.  If you need a good laugh, check out The Bro Code For Parents.

This book is Barney’s information on how to get pregnant, what do to during the pregnancy and then how to be a parent.  Some of my favorite parts:

* There is one section of the book done in the form of a comic book – The Adventures of Human Conception.  “Our hero races against time through the treacherously narrow caverns of fallopia…and saves Princess Egg seconds before she falls to her doom down Tampon Alley!”

I now cannot get the phrase “tampon alley” out of my head.  Classic.

* You’ll find out key information on home pregnancy tests:  “The good news is that the significantly more affordable home-based kits are approximately 75% accurate, or when used by people who understand that only the woman is supposed to pee on it, 96%.

* There’s great advice for helping the baby during the pregnancy:  “Studies have shown that exposing your child to music at an early age may increase his/her intelligence. Since you want to give your child the biggest advantage possible, I recommend jamming a speaker against your stomach and cranking up Van Halen’s 1984.”  Brilliant, especially Hot For Teacher.

* I love the Baby’s First Cocktail section.  My favorite is the Irish Diaper Bomb, which consists of root beer, formula, and Jameson’s whiskey.

* Barney offers a list of songs to help the baby relax and go to sleep.  Here are some:

Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
Suicide is Painless – theme from MASH
Mad World – Donnie Darko soundtrack
Sounds of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel

If you want to support a fellow Eagles fan and get some good laughs, buy a copy of  The Bro Code For Parents.  


  • Mac

    Read the Chip Kelly article this morning. I was thinking about how Reid may have incorporated some of those techniques and studies in his game plan (albeit to a moderate extent rather than fully embracing the data). He hasn’t been afraid to go for it on 4th down with Shady this year.

    I am intrigued by the possibility of Kelly coaching the Eagles. It’s an offense driven league, and we need someone at the helm who can exploit that.

    • TommyLawlor

      Reid is a partial believer. Think of all the times he punted from the 38 or 40 instead of trying a long FG or going for it.

      You are right that this year, in the 4th Qtr, Reid has been very aggressive on 4th/short.

  • Mac

    Oh and in honor of Jimmy Johnson (whom I also have an extreme distaste for) (and what week it is)…

    We hold this truth to be self-evident: “Dallas Sucks.”

    • Ark87

      Was watching Eagles live on the Tuesday after the loss. The whole ordeal was just depressing. Dave was depressed/tired/pissed and frankly not well suited to handle the role of being the therapeutic ear to all the enraged callers. People calling him out for not being able to criticize the Eagles, he lost it a few times.

      So it’s rough, last caller of the day comes on. Real subdued sort, said his piece, guy coaches highschool football and made a very reasonable point without just going into a rant. So then at the end he says “can I just say one more thing Dave before I go?” Sure bud fire away “Dallas sucks, i just hate them so bad, have a good week” And everyone on the set laughed, I laughed audibly and just like that I was over the loss.

      • TommyLawlor

        Amazing how good something like that can make you feel. Hating Dallas can cure a lot.

  • Ark87

    College whiz kids frighten me. Motivating a broke young player aspiring to be drafted in the nfl vs grown men with families, buckets of cash, and relatively better life perspective are 2 very different animals.

    Not to mention a lot of these innovations that are successful in college just don’t work in the speed and talent of the NFL. It seems like the innovator type is a change the game or bust type. The Jim Harbaughs of the world seem extremely rare.

    At the same time it would be nice to be ahead of the game. Picking the next coach is sure going to be a big time decision, wouldn’t want to make it.

    • Mac

      I’m with you on not wanting to make the decision myself. I haven’t seen the numbers on how many teams have made smooth coaching transitions, but while we have coasted with stability under Reid, we’ve seen all kinds of problems in Dallas and Washington trying to find some solution. Just firing from the hip I would guess the odds of getting a great coach are significantly less than 50%.

      • holeplug

        Most of Dallas and Washington’s problems have come from their owners though. I have more faith in Lurie as an owner then Jones/Snyder

  • SteveH

    I could live with someone like Chip Kelly. At least it wouldn’t be boring.

    • Anders

      I think we would mimic the Pats, Saints and Packers. All offense, no defense.

      • TommyLawlor

        Packers D is 12th right now. Was Top 10 in 2009, 2010. Last year was an anomaly.

  • ohitsdom

    I’m a huge fan of Chip Kelly, especially after reading the Boston Globe piece about how his philosophy influenced the Patriots offense. Their practices sound really interesting. http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2012/10/08/patriots-huddle-relies-power-one/nHTapuVnBOwfFlffwTrN6J/story.html

  • Anders

    Reason why I like the Ducks offense. They are 2nd in college in total offense, but only 77 in passing, meaning that there explosive offense is based on the run game

    • TommyLawlor

      Chip runs the spread, but does run the ball a lot. Best players are normally RBs. Very intriguing because of that.

    • The_Reddgie

      They run the QB option/QB read (or whatever it is called) to perfection with RBs that have crackhead speed (Oh, you ain’t catching no crakhead). I don’t know if this current offensive system would translate to the NFL, but if it would, he would be the man to do so.

      • Anders

        yea I actually didnt think of that. That means if we get Chip Kelly, we most likely will not have Foles as our QB or he needs to change his offense.

  • nopain23

    Chip Kelly is an intriguing candidate but I continue to feel strongly that the next HC should be a defensive minded coach. These types of coaches believe in running the ball as well. As much as Tommy HATES the 3-4 defense I’m ready to see it in Philly. Might take two years to get the right personnel but seeing what the 49ers, patriots and Steelers are able to do with the 3-4., I say what have we got to lose.? new HC, new scheme. Go back to that Cardinals game. guys were coming at our OL from a plethora of angles. It looked like our guys’ heads were spinning out there. Vic fangio, next HC of the Iggles!! Howie get on this.

    • TommyLawlor

      Keep your 3-4 away from me!!! Where’s my garlic necklace and silver cross? Away with you, demon.

      • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

        It’s no coincidence that 3 fours is 12 which is really two sixes which is only one six short of the mark of the beast.

        • TommyLawlor

          Exactly.

        • http://twitter.com/TheFakeAndyReid FakeAndyReid

          so is 4 threes… just saying… and i love chip kelly but don’t fire me plz!!! i have so much to life for

    • Anders

      you dont need a 3-4 to have confusing D. Jim Johnson was a master of creating confusing (so is McDermott just with his own players). Also the best D in the NFL right now is a very vanilla 4-3 D many predicted would soon be out of favor

  • shah8

    I would hate a change to 3-4.

    /me shudders. We don’t that many players suited for a 3-4. And, to me, the wide-9 is a kind of compromised 3-4 wrt the passing game. Getting more productive DEs would work better. Heck, raw Bruce Irvin is more productive than Babin.

    As far as Chip Kelly, Not only did Cam beat the Ducks, so did Pryor. Chip Kelly isn’t really like Harbaugh, to me, and I think Harbaugh is a bit overrated, even for all the good work he’s doing. The 49′ers were just not that much of a mess before he came, and the players that were young with Singletary are more mature now. Good solid principles work, guys.

    To me, that’s the real problem with Reid. Starts from the premises that player selection allows. Reid is too tolerant of the idea that he can make smaller players play big. I’m sick and tired of bit players like Chad Hall take a roster spot. I have no problems with Kendricks or Sims, per se. Just like I have no problems with DJack or Maclin or Vick. But good gods and holies, *everyone* is small! And when one of the few big stars we have, Jason Peters, goes out, things just get impossible just waaaaay too fast.

    The next problem is that Reid pretty much *has* to convert to a straight up Coryell. Vick was always a QB for a Coryell system, who keeps getting fit into abominable West Coast offenses, Greg Knapp’s most offensively. Run the ball, Andy. Run it again, Andy. Oh, hey, since you have four running backs on the roster, and a fullback, run the ball *again*, Andy. Then playaction the bejesus out of the defense. This Coryell grafted onto WCO nonsense just has to stop.

    On the fence about Reid going away. More enthusiastic about taking away power. An Oregon style offense with Vick and Shady would be kinda cool, but I think it runs into the same problems June Jones had. Requires tremendous on field skills and awareness. And as with the Martz system (and I think I would go for Martz, actually, rather than Kelly), even when it works, it kills your QB. Heh, that abominable stretch of goal to go situations Monday Night was exactly the worst possible dysfunction of what a Martz system does. Oh yes, look, there’s another empty backfield!

    Right now, envious of Lovie Smith, who seems to get the best out of his staff, as well as his players. Wonder what Smith could do with Bobby April, for example. Harvey Mudd? Arizona’s horrible line fails, and they mostly fail at the tackles. It’s almost possible to work with that line. However, the Eagles are constantly missing assignments. Atlanta wasn’t bad, but New Orleans was horrific. This aspect I think is understated. The difference between Singletary and Harbaugh–Harbaugh effectively overseas the other coaches. So in a coaching search, I would advocate finding someone with happy and effective subordinates, rather than anything “ambitious” or “tough as nails”. It’s not as if Saban wasn’t capable, but…

    • RC5000

      Martz- yucK, he would be hated here.

  • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Patrick

    Is it good or bad that im actually pretty exited about all the things that will likely happen this off-season? Not only will the draft and FA, resignings and so on be fun as always, but now we get to speculate even more about coaches, scheme changes etc, that will make that process even more action packed. Lets hope were a become a good team fast. I think the Rams and Browns were pretty excited the first time they had some chances. I imagine the Browns fans wasnt as giddy last off-season, since its been the same since..well Jim Brown.

  • Nikko

    Chip Kelly is the guy I have kept in mind basically since the first time I considered who I would want to replace Andy. I think Chip would be a great fit. Very good at utilizing skill position players and finding ways to get them in space. I think he would definitely bring the most out of Jackson and McCoy. I also think certain players like Brice Brown, D. Johnson, and Clay Harbor could definitely benefit in a big way as well.

    I’m curious as to how he would adjust his offense to the NFL level. I wouldn’t expect anything major, just some minor adjustments to transition to a more professional style offense while keeping a lot of his spread concepts.

    It should also be noted that both Seattle and Washington have had some solid success this year with the read option. There was an article recently about how Pete Carroll/Seattle added more read option stuff to their offense after studying the success RG3 through the first 4 weeks combined with Wilson’s poor performance against STL. In his first 4 games he had 4 PTDs and 4 INTs. In these last 5 games he has had 9 PTDs and 4 INTs.

    • Anders

      Just with the read option, you need a mobile QB. That means we either have to draft one or keep Vick. No way Foles would function in the read option.

      • Nikko

        I realize that, though I have a feeling Chip Kelly could still put together a functional offense without the read option. Though I doubt it’s possibility, nor would I exactly be happy about it.. possibly Michael Vick would restructure his contract?

        This QB class is pretty weak in general so I wouldn’t feel comfortable banking on it. Hopefully we at least get to see Foles start 4-6 games this season to get a better idea of where he is at in terms of being our QB next season.

        • Mac

          In theory you could probably get the Ravens to trade Tyrod Taylor…

  • ACViking

    Re: The Wishbone and Jimmy Johnson’s Success in Dallas

    T-Law:

    Your recitation of JJ’s insistence on speed at UMiami ultimately led to the end of Barry Switzer’s vaunted wishbone at U-Oklahoma.

    JJ had coach at Ok State before going to Miami — and he and Switzer really disliked each other.

    Johnson saw up close how Oklahoma’s speed to the edge made the wishbone almost unstoppable. Back in the early ’80s, the wishbone (and similar 2-back U-Houston veer of Bill Yeoman) were still the predominant college offense of choice — including at Alabama.

    They were all about speed. (Watch youtube highlights of the 1971 Sooners with Greg Pruitt and you get the idea.)

    Anyway, once in Florida — with a fertile talent pool that remains the cradle of the best high school players America has to offer — Jimmy Johnson constructed a defense designed to stop the wishbone. Not just fast D-linemen but fast LBs and really fast safeties who could set the edge. Benny Blades is a great example.

    In the 1989 Orange Bowl, Johnson’s Hurricane’s faced off against Switzer’s Sooners — both teams coming in at 11-0.

    NO CONTEST. Too much speed. Miami won 20-14 . . . but it wasn’t that close. Miami limited an OU offense that averaged 43.5 points and 499.7 yards per game to just 255 yards on 66 plays. OU’s longest play from scrimmage was a 29-yard “Bummerooskie” touchdown by offensive guard Mark Hutson with 2:05 left in the game.

    The wishbone was done. Long live the spread offense.

    _____________________

    Re: 1992 Cowboys #1 Defense

    T-Law -

    I remember, like you, that Dallas team well. Dominant run-oriented offense that chewed up the clock on the ground with Emmitt Smith but also had WRs Irvin and Alvin Harper plus TE Novacek to go with Aikman.

    In discussing the ‘Boys defense in the Johnson era, that’s important. Because Johnson knew his offense not only would control the clock but score points. Lots of points.

    Consequently, he constructed a D-line to rush the passer, with fast LBs to cover TEs and backs, because the Cowboys would be ahead most of the time. And comfortably ahead with opposing offenses forced to throw more and more as the clock ticked down.

    So, yes, the 1992 ‘Boys were the #1 rush-defense. But opponents ran the ball only 345 times that year — more than 100 below the NFL average. The ‘Boys led in yardage . . . . and also the fewest attempts.

    Because JJ had an offense that scored points.

    __________________

    RE: AR and the JJ Cowboys Defense

    Ironically — and this may hurt some (but it’s for your own good) — I think last off-season I think Andy Reid tried to build the Eagles defense exactly the way Jimmy Johnson constructed the Cowboys. Light, quick, pass-rushing D-linemen with cover-corners galore.

    The idea was the Eagles, with their quick strike offense, would get ahead early and keep the pressure on. Then the Eagles could turn loose their pass rushers.

    To quote the immortal Howard Cosell: “To little too late . . . the Eagles [fill in the blank].”

    • holeplug

      Could also throw 90′s Nebraska with teams affected by Miami’s speed. Osborne got pissed that he kept losing to fast southern teams in bowl games at the end of the 80′s so he adjusted his recruiting to look for more speed at the skill positions.

    • TommyLawlor

      @ ACV…totally agree that Andy wanted to copy that defensive style. Built the unit to play with the lead. That’s one reason it is so frustrating that they’ve blown leads.

    • A_T_G

      Great stuff, as usual, with one request. Let’s not refer to Jimmy Johnson by his initials around here. There is only one JJ on an Eagles blog.

      • TommyLawlor

        Jaiquawn Jarrett loves the fact you still care about him.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

          Lol, 2 work outs with the Lions and still nothing

    • http://twitter.com/benjabad Ben Hert

      Excellent stuff as always ACV.

      I will say, after all that, I’m just thrilled there was a football player named Benny Blades. I shall name my child that. I just hope he was a good football player.

  • Eric Weaver

    I respect Jimmy a lot as a constructor of teams, but he got lucky too. He was gifted Michael Irvin and then drafted early Aikman and Smith. Those are three very key positions for building a dynasty.

    • Anders

      We can say that about almost any coach. Dungy had Manning, McCarthy had Rodgers, Payton traded for Bress (lottery ticket back then), Tomlin got Big Ben. The only coach to win SB with his own drafted QB lately is Tom Coughlin.

      • Eric Weaver

        I was speaking more in terms of the fact that he had so many early 1st round picks early in his coaching career. Something Andy never really had early on and still doesn’t. He got Donovan and had a poor year that year and a decent pick, but after that it was late rounders after late rounders.

        I guess the Smith pick was a mid-rounder, but he still got lucky to have a HoF RB drop that far.

        • ACViking

          NOT accurate.

          Johnson inherited Michael Irvin — chosen at No. 11 by the prior administration.

          Johnson chose Aikman at No. 1

          Then he chose Emmitt Smith at No. 17.

          But for Aikman, those are not particularly “early” picks.

          (Fletcher Cox was No. 12. Graham No. 13. Pretty close to Irvin)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

        Coughlin didn’t draft Eli the charger did, Jim Fassel was the HC when the Giants traded on draft day for him

        • Anders

          I would say that count as drafting him, but that means the last Super Bowl winning HC there drafted his own QB was Cower back in 2005.

    • TommyLawlor

      Part of the point with Jimmy is that he didn’t get lucky. He developed those players and made them great. Had Emmitt Smith gone somewhere else, maybe his career would have been closer to Fred Taylor’s, another star Florida RB. Emmitt had the perfect system, QB, OL, and coach. Also helped that Jimmy pushed him and the team relentlessly.

  • ACViking

    Re: J-Johnson — Top of the Draft Picks

    T-Law:

    Jimmy Johnson won in Dallas because the Cowboys made 3 consecutive HOF draft picks.

    In 1988, the old Gil Brandt gang selected Michael Irvin.

    In 1989, coming off a 3-13 season, the recently hired JJ chose Troy Aikman — who then took a vicious beating during a 1-15 season. But he learned a hell of a lot.

    In the 1990 draft, Johnson used the Vikings No. 1 pick and others (after using their own No. 1 to take UMiami QB Steve Walsh in the previous supplemental draft, who was later used in a trade to get DT Russell Maryland No. 1 overall) to trade up with Pittsburgh at No. 17 pick . . . where Dallas took Emmitt Smith.

    The “Triplets” were born. And all three became HOF players.
    ______________

    In Miami, JJ surely didn’t have the same success. But he inherited a far more talented team than the 1989 Cowboys. Nor would any team make a trade as stupid as the Vikings acquisition of Herschel Walker.

    So JJ never had the chance to rebuild — really rebuild — the Dolphins.
    ______________

    RE: What Jimmy Johnson’s NFL Run Teaches Us

    T-Law:

    It’s very possible that, whomever the Eagles may hire as a new head coach (or even if Reid stays), the team may be destined for mediocrity.

    To build with a team with a blue-chip QB, a team has to be terrible.

    This Eagles’ team may be too talented to be truly bad.
    1972 Eagles bad.

    Jim Harbaugh inherited some pretty good players on offense, including an *experienced* but struggling yet talented QB. More important, he inherited some great players on defense. (As noted in the comments, he fixed a mess.)

    This Eagles team may not have those kind of players.

    The result may be a few more years of mediocrity. That would be very disappointing.

    That said, if a new coach comes in, he may clean house . . . and produce a 3-13 season (for example). Then nab a couple of elite players and, boom, they’re off to the races.

    Reid came here off a dismal 3-13 season. His first draft (with Tom Modrak) resulted in McNabb.

    In the next draft, off a 5-11 season (and after cleaning house of the deadwood), the Eagles picked up DT Corey Simon.

    Reid also inherited a core of some very good to HOF players: Dawk, Trott, Tra Thomas, Duce Staley, B-Taylor, T-Vincent, Jermane Mayberry.

    Anyway . . . I’m just saying that it may be, regardless of who the next coach is (including Reid) — unless Foles was badly misjudged and is a more slow-footed Andrew Luck, and J-Pete comes back close to where he was — the Eagles may not get the draft position needed to turn truly turn things around . . . because there’s a core of some pretty good players here.

    • TommyLawlor

      JJ did rebuild the Dolphins. From 1996 to 1998 he brought in 36 draft picks. Jimmy traded down, down, and down. He was trying to jump start the roster by acquiring volume.

      He hit on some good players: Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Patrick Surtain, Sam Madison, etc.

      The problem is that Jimmy failed to develop a great OL or find a stud RB. He never got the ground game he wanted. Also, Dan Marino was tough to coach. Jimmy and Aikman were peas in a pod. Marino was an entitled veteran that was tough to control at times.

      I do totally agree that QB is the big question. Is it Foles? If not, we might be in some trouble.

      • TommyLawlor
        • http://twitter.com/MFlicker Mike Flick

          Remember too, it came down to a pick between Miami and Tampa. Tampa was loaded with draft picks, but the deciding factor was Marino vs Dilfer.

          Had he picked Tampa he might have been able to pull it off. Or at least choked that NFC Championship game.

  • McMVP

    Just how out of the box is Chip Kelly? Can he find a use for Sam Gordon in a few years? Lol

    http://youtu.be/JqydG0BtX68

    • TommyLawlor

      Great video. She is really, really talented. Those are legit football skills. The Natural.

      • Ark87

        I saw this too. It’s a well done video. You start off wondering if she is just the speediest kid on the field, you see that sort of thing on the field all the time. And you wonder if she just falls over whenever there’s contact, then bam a section on breaking tackles then shows her taking hits. The most impressive part was at the end, she is a decisive and willing tackler despite her size. Which isn’t common for kids in that age-group. I hope she sticks with the game and takes it as far as she can. Regardless of what sport she ends up with I think she will be an exceptional athlete.

  • Jernst

    I’m glad you brought up Andy’s style and how much the players seem to love him and defend him in the media and yet seem to show up consistently unprepared and seemingly unmotivated to perform on Sundays. You’re memory is a bit more encyclopedic than mine, but if I remember correctly this is a fairly new phenomenon for this team. I don’t remember players in the first half of Reid’s tenure constantly talking about how much they like him. I don’t remember players feeling comfortable running up to him and doing hip bumps to celebrate. I remember him making George Hegamen push a blocking sled up and down the field for hours as punishment for a poor performance and then cut him the next day anyways. I think Andy’s gotten tired of being the bad guy too, and it’s cost him his team.

  • BC1968

    http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/report_jon_gruden_to_philly_if_andy_reid_is_fired/12162043?linksrc=home_rg_head_12162043

    This is from Howard Eskin, well known Eagles’ insider ass kissing jackass. There’s a good chance this is true if he said it.

    • ceteris_paribus1776

      Gruden’s past does not bode well for Foles. Gruden likes vet qbs i.e Gannon, Johnson, Garcia. To my knowledge Gruden has never developed a homegrown QB.

      He also ran a more horizontal attack than our current set up. Maclin would need to shape up or ship out. I think he’d love Jackson’s deep threat to open up his preferred underneath style. He’d also use Shady to his fullest!

      I’d be ok with Chucky

  • Ark87

    Surprisingly insightful and candid comments by DRC came out this morning. We already knew that this Eagles team isn’t consistently physical and tackling is regressing to 2011 form. But he acknowledged a rep that the Eagles have as being soft. Nobody is afraid to run up the gut or go over the middle against this team. But how much of that is just a symptom of the rule changes? Are our guys being coached to be less physical in taking down receivers in order to avoid penalty yards? How do we make our D feared without ponying up some serious fine money?

    • ceteris_paribus1776

      Have Safeties that are laying the wood instead of whiffing on tackles, have CBs that are not afraid to step up and punish ball carriers for trying to take the edge, have DTs that wreak havoc up the middle, and have OLBs that maintain gap responsibility and deliver punishing blows on cut backs. We don’t seem to currently have any of those elements.

      • Ark87

        That’s why I really wish Jaiquan Jarrett could have figured out how to play in the NFL. He was bad at pretty much everything but the guy was capable of and willing to lay the wood. It felt like if he ever got comfortable to where he could play instinctively like he did at Temple he would be a much-needed presence on this defense.

  • Kevin_aka_RC

    @TommyLawlor:disqus, the underrated part of picking Chip Kelly is that he knows all the smart, talented young college coaches and who to pick. Reid’s contacts are all with other NFL teams since he’s been in the same spot for 14 years (why all his big hires were big names, he hasn’t moved enough to create new relationships).

    Schiano is doing ok in Tampa too. Harbaugh is succeeding. The “college” coach stigma is not what it used to be because the NFL is using so many college playbook elements.

  • Ark87

    Nice! Just when i had written off the O-Line: how can I write this guy off! Rawr!!
    Oh, semi-encouraging article. It’s good to remember that most of our back-ups should get better every game as individuals and as a unit. The only lineman I’m truly down on is Bell. http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/20121109_Problems_can_be_fixed__says_Eagles_O-line_coach_Howard_Mudd.html