Chip and His Predecessors

Posted: January 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 84 Comments »

For my column, I wrote about Chip Kelly and compared his similarities to Dick Vermeil, Buddy Ryan, Ray Rhodes, and Andy Reid.  I focused on the good traits those coaches had and Chip has a little of each guy in his style.  It was kind of interesting to look at Chip in those terms. Going over his background generically is one thing.  Putting him in context with our former coaches might help some to appreciate or understand him more.

I did leave out Rich Kotite.  My apologies to his supporters.

* * * * *

Big news of the day…the Eagles are interviewing Jim Herrmann (Giants LBs coach) for the position of defensive coordinator.  This is interesting.

Herrmann is a Michigan man.  He played there.  He was a positional coach there for 12 years.  Then he was the DC there for 9 years, including the championship season of 1997.  Herrmann did some great things early in his tenure, but the rise of the spread offense proved to be his undoing.  The more he tried to adjust to it, the more his defense struggled.

Herrmann was fired by Michigan and became the LBs coach for the Jets under Eric Mangini.  When Mangini was fired, Herrmann got hired by Tom Coughlin to be the LBs coach for the Giants.

What do we make of this?

Herrmann is a 3-4 guy.  He has coached in college and the NFL.  He won titles in both college and the NFL.  He is a veteran coach with a system he believes in.  I’m sure the system would be altered by what he’s learned since coming to the NFL.  One of the downfalls he had at Michigan is that his scheme was too complex for college kids.  He started off with a simple, attacking defense, but the spread caused him to try and make adjustments.  The college kids could not handle all of his ideas.  I’m sure Herrmann would now know how to better mix the ideas and have a balance of simple and complex.  Also, he would be working with NFL players and that would allow him to add wrinkles to the scheme if he thought the players could handle them.

This wouldn’t be a home run hire, but I actually might like him more than Todd Grantham.  Herrmann ran a great defense at Michigan.  Grantham didn’t have a great defense at either Cleveland or the Univ. of Georgia.  Grantham is a good coach, but there is nothing compelling about him.  There were a few years when Herrmann was considered one of the top DCs in all of college football.  The spread was his undoing, but I would think he’s learned a lot since then and would be better prepared to deal with it now.  Obviously the spread isn’t a prevalent attack in the NFL so that also helps.

I like the fact he’s 52, has plenty of NFL experience, and knows the NFC East already.  Herrmann would be a riskier hire than Grantham, but might have a higher ceiling if he got back to his A-game.  You also would know that he’s not going anywhere in a year or two.  You’d have good stability with Herrmann.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama has a good post on Chip Kelly and the the incorrect notion that he won at Oregon due to superior talent.  Heath Evans was a good player, but as an NFL analyst I think he’s a bit of an idiot.


  • Kotite wore a visor.

  • Interesting points.

  • deg0ey

    We don’t give a damn for the whole state of Michigan!

    Go Bucks!

    • TommyLawlor

      Used to love when OSU fans would sing that.

    • eagleizeit

      Come on Tommy; Go Blue. Since Herrmann coached at UM you know he’s not lacking in the intelligence department and should be successful. We’re not talking about someone from OSU who generally can’t even read, or even figure out what’s round on the outside and hi in between. Even if it is their own state.

  • Iskar36

    I agree with you that Jim Hermann is not some kind of slam dunk option, but like you, I would much rather roll the dice with Hermann than with Grantham. I like the fact that he has some DC experience, some of which was very successful, and also that he has a decent amount of NFL experience. From what I have read about Grantham, there is nothing that seems to jump out and say he will be anything more than a mediocre DC.

  • I didn’t know anything about Kelly before this whole HC search began, but I have to say, I’ve been impressed with him at his interviews and press conference. I like that we’re hearing new names for the assistant coaching jobs and not NFL re-treads.

  • R G

    As an avid follower of the SEC, I am not excited by the idea of Grantham has our DC. It seemed every big game I saw UGA involved with, the defense stunk up the joint. This past season he had 3 probable 1st round picks on D with possibly 2 more than will got in the 2nd or 3rd. Thats 5 players in the top 100 or so in the draft. In arguably their 2 biggest games(Alabama and USC) their defense was the reason they did not win the game. I looked up that statistically they were 5th in the SEC in overall D which is not bad till you look at points and yards given up game by game. They did their best work against Vandy and the non conference part of their schedule. The 3 years prior, they never had a dominant defense. One could argue is that the defense was the weak point of UGA during that period.

    Hermann sounds interesting and more importantly he seems to have something to prove. I will lean on you Tommy, but at first glance the hire would seem decent.

    • RC5000

      Georgia didn’t have a great defense but it wasn’t just their defense that lost against South Carolina. Murray interception and Punt Return TD were also huge factors as was South Carolina’s defense. Murray was 11-31 for 109 yards and an int and the Georgia offense was also terrible. They got down but it was due to offensive turnover, defense and special teams and South Carolina.
      I do think Grantham isn’t a slam dunk or anything. You also have to give him some credit for developing the talent.

  • austinfan

    If you look at draft picks, Oregon hasn’t produced a lot of top picks the last five years either, some 2nd and 3rd round guys, Unger, etc., but not the blue chip studs that come out of Alabama, LSU and Texas on a regular basis. That tells you Chip is coaching up good athletes, not managing great athletes.

    The 3-4 is looking inevitable, but given the guys talked about as DCs, it would seem Chip wants more of a one gap 3-4 with smaller, more athletic DL who can get penetration rather than the two gap system with 3 big slugs eating up blockers. Think Houston and SF.

    But in that case, you have to wonder if Ryans and Kendricks are big enough for ILB, if the NT is attacking the A gap instead of absorbing blockers, you may need those huge ILBs that can take on OGs.

    • deg0ey

      Kendricks might struggle, but I’d think Ryans should be big enough. Look at the two teams you mentioned:

      Willis – 6’1, 240lbs
      Bowman – 6’0, 242lbs
      Cushing – 6’3, 255lbs
      James – 6’2, 240lbs

      Ryans is listed at 6’1, 247lbs. Not the biggest out of the four, but doesn’t stand out as particularly small. Hopefully Kendricks can make up for some of that with his athleticism; if linemen can’t catch up to him then they can’t block him.

      Another ILB I’m keeping my eye on for the 2014 draft (if he declares) is Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State. Watching them this season, that guy seemed like he was all over the damn place breaking up passes, grabbing INTs, getting TFLs on the goal line. Big time playmaker and could be just what we’re looking for in the middle.

  • Gregory Post

    So with Herrman’s background with the 3-4, is this a pretty solid statement by the front office that we’re more than likely to go with the 3-4 defense next year? Or are we exploring all avenues here?

    • Zach

      They’re switching to the 3-4. No question in my mind.

      • My assumption is that Kelly believes the 34 is the best system for dealing with the NFL offenses of the future.

        Tommy, maybe a quick post on the strengths and weaknesses of these two systems?

  • Kotite even sucked as a RB coach… thank you for not bringing him into the piece.

    Heath Evans is a schmuck with idiotic ideas and commentary who obviously has taken too many blows to the head.. Darren Sharper is only slightly better… The NFL network needs to hire guys who know football at some point. I am tired of ex-Players with there rudimentary grasp of the English language.

    Ok Rant over…

    I am not excited by Herrman or Grantham. I would be excited about Nick Saban’s DC Kirby Smart. I would have been excited about Ray Horton but old slick Joe got him first. LSU DC John Chavis might be fun to pursue if we are looking to the SEC for Defensive Coordinators.

    Herrman left to his own devices might be great if he returns to form. Still going to have to deal with the spread when we play Redskins, 49rs, Seattle, or anyone else that starts sticking spread plays in… can you imagine Elisha Manning running a Zone Read??? It could happen.

    Thanks Tommy for giving us good stuff to read. Cheers!

  • D-von

    Tommy your in the wrong profession. You could sale anything to anybody. Great article

    • Sale anything?

      • aerochrome2

        I like discounts

      • D3FB

        I’m sure he meant sail anything

  • T_S_O_P

    You left out Marion Cambell too. Without Marion and without Kotite, we’d have had no Ultimate Weapon and no Bud Carson to orchestrate that defence. On every multiverse where Bryce Paup missed, we won that Superbowl.

    • And no Reggie.

    • TommyLawlor

      I was trying to keep it simple. Marion Campbell would require explanation. Might make for a good offseason column to talk about his short tenure.

      • shah8

        Marion Campbell did wrong to the Falcons, too…

  • aub32

    So if we were to transition to a 3-4, what would be the bigger need? Should we try and get a legit 3-4 NT or worry about getting a stud OLB? I ask because we know Dixon has the size to play NT, maybe not the toughness, but we aren’t sure if either Cole or Graham can play OLB in a 3-4. If they both struggle in the transition, it would be nice to have some one on the roster that could fill the immediate need, while Graham and Cole battle it out for the remaining spot.

    • Neil

      Put it this way, it would be more disastrous to end up having nobody who can play NT.

      • D-von


      • aub32

        Dixon was decent against the run. He struggled getting upfield. If he can clog up the middle and eat up some blocks, I would be fine letting Cox Cole/Graham and the stud new OLB worry about getting the sacks.

        • Neil

          I feel you. I just wouldn’t bet on Dixon resembling a functional nosetackle. Certainly possible. However, we have major questions about the kid’s work ethic. I remember reading a bit where he was talking about how he was down to three fastfood meals per week to control his weight. For god’s sake, your weight is the only thing keeping you from being a good starting NT in a 4-3. Now, if we ask him to play 2gap NT, it’s like Tommy says, that guy has to get beat up by two people simultaneously for three hours every sunday. And again, it isn’t talent, but Dixon was getting controlled by 1 blocker during spring training last year much of the time. The key for a 3-4 NT is to have the kind of mental tenacity combined with physical power that the offense either doubles him or the play gets blown up, play in and play out, every snap. Dixon so far has demonstrated he’s lacking in the mental tenacity side.

          • eagleizeit

            The Bills GM said there going to draft a franchise QB & is willing to move up from the 8th pick to get him if KC passes on him If the Eagles move from 4 to 8 not only can they get NT,DT,DE Jonathan Hankins who looks like he can be a dominant Pro Bowl caliber NT for the next 10+ yrs (; ranked 7th BPA) but they’d probably also get the Bills 2nd rd pick(71) and 4th rd pick(101) this yr, as well as I’m guessing their 1st or 2nd rd pick in ’14 draft.

    • Anders

      Much rather have the stud OLB

      • I agree, a good enough NT won’t be all that hard to find. If there are doubts about Cole, Curry, or Graham we could snatch up Bjorn Werner or Damontree Moore at 4.

        • Anders

          I admit I got a huge man crush on Dion Jordan if we switch to the 3-4

      • Neil

        I agree with this. If the choice is between stud olb and decent nt or vice versa, go with the olb.

        • Anders

          I know you can find pass rush help late in the draft, but its much easier to just plug in a big body then it is to find a stud OLB.

          • Neil

            There’s definitely no replacement for an elite passrusher.

          • Neil

            Excuse me, besides Revis.

          • eagleizeit

            It seems like there’s plenty of 3-4 pass rushers in this yrs draft, we also have Graham who coming out of college looked like he can be great at the position, haven’t heard much recently and can’t recall if Vinny Curry’s supposed to be good here. But a Pro Bowl calliner NT(DL) is a lot more valuable. Take a look at NT Jonathan Hankins from Ohio State (; ranked 7th BPA). In their mock draft they mention that the Bills GM wants to move up from the 8th pick & draft a franchise QB ( which would allow us to not only get an amazing player at an important position where we have nobody with any experience, but also accumulate draft picks. I’m guessing if we move from 4 to 8 we’d get there 2nd rd pick (71), 4th rd pick (102) this year and probably something like there 2nd rd pick next year.

          • Anders

            Both DT/NT and DE/OLB is stacked this draft. So if we go one way the other is not a big problem for me, but if we do switch to a 3-4, I think we should use 2 of our first 3 picks on those positions unless somebody with great value drops to us.

  • dislikedisqus

    Why did you apologize to Rich Kotite’s jockstraps?

    • TommyLawlor

      Brilliant but frightening.

  • Hermann coached under Mangini. Why not Mangini?

  • D-von

    I think these are some basic blitz packages that Herrman has in his 3-4 scheme. The squiggle lines made my head hurt

  • Baloophi

    Wait, this is the Grantham we’re talking about, right?

  • D3Keith

    Heath Evans is not a bit of an idiot. He’s a lot of an idiot, like a Stephen A. Smith/Skip Bayless in training, but not that good yet. Whereas those guys know they are stirring the pot, Heath says the pot-stirring stuff, and I’m not sure he knows that he’s doing it.

    There are a lot of ex-players who say idiotic stuff on NFLn, mixed with some really good ones, but that’s what makes it compelling to watch … as much as I hate to admit it.

    The more talking heads I watch, and the more I do it in the little world of D-III, the more I realize it’s hard to have an educated opinion on 32 (or 239) teams, so there are a lot of generic, generalized fallbacks used.

    • Anders

      If it was my job to comment on NFL teams, I would do some research instead of just saying stupid things.

      • D3Keith

        :light bulb:

        If I had access to NFL Films, I’d watch that stuff all day.

  • D3Keith

    BTW, unrelated, I listened to the Chip podcasts while stuck in inauguration traffic today. I was actually fiending for one the day we made the hire, but all there was was the 10-day old thing when he was the leader for the Browns. Was interesting to listen to it from that perspective.

    I also laughed, as I remember exactly where I was too when I heard about Nnamdi.

    And thanks for throwing me the UMHB/Mount Union bone there. Me and the Nate Menkin fans appreciate it.

    • TommyLawlor

      Anything for the D3 crowd.

  • A_T_G

    Tommy, I know how meticulous you are about your writing, so I wanted to point out that I think you have a typo. For some reason, there is an s at the end of this sentence:

    “I did leave out Rich Kotite. My apologies to his supporters.”

    • D-von

      Thats wrong but true

    • TommyLawlor

      Bubby Brister + Mrs. Kotite = 2

      • A_T_G

        I should have known better. Of course you have the research and rational to back up your writing. Otherwise you’d be on NFL Network.

  • DaO_Z

    Any way we can poach some of the Arizona assistants, or they all probably going to follow to Cle? Could help Herrmann out with ideas, given most of them worked under LeBeau and Horton….

    • DaO_Z

      Also, what about Mike Trgovac as another candidate? He ran the 4-3 in Carolina(?), but maybe could bring over Capers 3-4 with him….

  • D-von

    Its a great day. Bobby April signed with Oakland. Hopefully we’ll have a more competent S/T

    • P_P_K

      April fools day for the Raiders.

  • camouflagedmonk

    Very underwhelmed with the DC candidates thus far. We have to aim higher, imo

    • What big name is out there that you’d go after?

      • ICDogg

        I would love for Lovie Smith to come aboard and put together what this D was meant to be.

        • Cliff

          Me too, but I don’t think we can consider him as a coordinator candidate. Lovie might just not want to go for those jobs.

        • i would too but im pretty sure the bears have to pay lovie if he doesnt get hired. He’s also probably prepared to bolt for an hc jos asap so he cant really be counted on long term chip needs a guy he can count on for 3-4 years i think… though if they did get lovie i’d be thrilled.

          • P_P_K

            That’s a good point about Lovie. He’s likely not going to want to be anything other than a HC. Too bad, I think he’d be great with our personnel.

  • bridgecoach

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Chip Kelly has an eye on a coach from a current playoff team for DC. Ed Donatell and Tim Lewis leap to mind.

    While Ed Donatell is currently a position coach with the 49ers (secondary), he has been a successful DC with the Packers and Falcons. In his first season with Atlanta in 2004, the Falcons advanced to the NFC Championship Game and led the NFL in sacks (48) for the first time in club history. During his final year as the Falcons defensive coordinator in 2006, the club led the NFL in third-down percentage (30.2), while ranking sixth in the league in yards per carry allowed (3.8). Donatell spent four seasons as Green Bay’s defensive coordinator (2000-03), helping the Packers lead the NFL with 116 takeaways from 2001 to 2003. Green Bay advanced to the playoffs during each of those three seasons, including the 2001 and 2002 campaigns when they won the NFC North title. In 2002, Donatell’s defense set a Green Bay record with 52 sacks and led the NFL with 45 takeaways.

    Tim Lewis is currently a position coach for Atlanta, but also has two successful runs as a DC with the Steelers and Giants. His Steelers’ defense ranked seventh overall in his first season as coordinator and jumped to lead the League in total defense in 2001. In 2002 and 2003, his unit also finished in the NFL’s top 10, giving him four-consecutive top-10 finishes as a Defensive Coordinator. Following his coaching stint with the Steelers, Lewis spent three years as Defensive Coordinator with the New York Giants. In 2005, his defense did not allow a touchdown in a span that covered 15 quarters and 53 opponent possessions. During his three-year tenure, the Giants ranked sixth in the NFC in opponents passing yards per attempt average (6.79) and second in the conference in opponent passing plays of 25-plus yards allowed. In 2004, New York ranked fifth in the NFC in total defense allowing an average of 339.8 yards per game.

    • eagleizeit

      They both sound great to me for a change. Maybe grab whichever one losses Sunday. I’m just curious why they were demoted from DC to positional coaches though?

      • bridgecoach

        Tim Lewis bandwagon starts here…

    • RC5000

      Harbaugh wouldn’t give Bucs permission to interview Donatell last year for their DC job. Doesn’t mean the Eagles would be turned down this year just an fyi

  • phillyfan1987

    just wondering if maybe TJ YATES can fit this system

  • eagleizeit

    It looks like we’d have great competition at the ILB positions if we moved to a 3-4 defense. Mathews(who actually played at Oregon) and Kendrick’s were very successful in college playing in the 3-4. Chaney looked his best a couple years ago playing MLB and might do well as an ILB. I guess the biggest ? is the Texans weren’t to high on our MLB when they switched to the 3-4 with him. But he played so well this year we could always trade him to a team that’s switching to a 4-3 for there best 3-4 ILB(save some money as well).

  • RC5000

    fwiw from
    Philadelphia Eagles: Sources tell us Boston College linebackers coach Bill McGovern will join Chip Kelly’s staff with the Eagles. Sources also tell us former Buffalo Bills receivers coach Bob Bicknell will join Chip’s staff. Adam Schefter adds that former Browns head coach Pat Shurmur is expected to join the staff as well, likely as offensive coordinator. Will update…

    • bridgecoach

      Luke Kuechly’s coach… love it.

      • SleepingDuck

        My thoughts exactly.

  • nickross23

    Reports coming out of espn that Pat Shurmur as our new OC.. hmmm idk how i feel about this

    • shah8

      I feel bad about this. Shurmur was not a good head coach for the Browns, and his offense was astoundingly unproductive. Did okay on the defensive side. In any event, it sounds/feels too much like Kelly wanting impaired charisma yes-men (too much like Oakland’s sub coaches under Allen).

      • Iskar36

        I do like that Shurmur has had success developing QBs and has been part of a (our) dynamic passing offense. If the balance between Kelly and Shurmur leads to Kelly’s fast paced offense and dynamic run game mixed in with Shurmur’s insight into the passing game, I think this is a very good mix. I actually think the fact that Shurmur has a very different style of offense that most people are surprised to see mixed into Kelly’s coaching staff strongly suggests that Shurmur was not brought in here to be a “yes-man”. Instead, it suggests that Kelly is looking for a coach with different ideas and opinions to balance his own in the NFL.

      • D3Keith

        I thought we were all clamoring for Kelly to have someone with NFL experience join him on staff. In that sense, the Shurmur hire is great, because he won’t stop Kelly from calling the plays, but he’s someone who has a different offensive philosophy and someone that Kelly can lean on for advice on how to run an NFL franchise, should there be things that are different from college.

        Also says something about the organization that a Reid guy was willing to come back to Philly.

    • phillychuck

      Shurmur has a great record as an assistant and was also a QB coach. Great ability to teach and get players to buy in. Lots of NFL experience should help BK. I don’t love Shurmur’s offense, but we won’t be running it , so who cares?

  • holeplug

    Would love to be in the room the first time Kelly tells Shurmur they are not gonna be punting on 4 and 2 from the opponents 37 yard line next year which Shurmur did all the time last year in Cleveland.

  • BobSmith77

    5 yrs/$32.5M for Wells making him one of the Top 5 paid coaches in the NFL.

    Given several factors with this team, I am willing to give Kelly until Year 3 to really show progress with this team and win the NFC East. I bet most Eagles’ fans are willing to give him a pass next year as long as this team shows progress & they end up 7-9 or 8-8 while being competitive. By Year 2 though, I bet most fans will expect him to have rebuilt this team into one that makes the playoffs and wins at least 1-2 games and by Year 3 is a SB contender.

    If the Eagles aren’t competitive though and suffer through another 4-12/5-11 season, Kelly is going to find out how tough it can be to coach in this town.

    • Iskar36

      Watching Harbaugh succeed in San Fran, I think expectations for Kelly
      should be high. I don’t expect us to be a major contender next year,
      but in two years, I expect significant progress. If that means we are
      competitive and just miss out of the playoffs, I’m fine with that, but
      if we turn in a season similar to 2011 for example, that will be
      disappointing to me. The NFL is a league where teams from the bottom of
      the league can make the jump to contenders very quickly, so at the very
      least, I need to see the team making progress from game to game and
      season to season to trust Kelly.

      • D3Keith

        There’s also a difference in trying to rebuild a team with a gutted roster, a la maybe the Jags, and the Eagles, who should have a lot to work with.

    • ceteris_paribus1776

      I’m sorry, but is it normal to hire a HC with no NFL experience to top 5 money?

      • Cliff

        Really, who cares? It’s Lurie’s money and it doesn’t count against the salary cap. LOL

  • phillychuck

    Details on the hiring “dance” from I think a couple of people here nailed the way it was going down.