Chip Kelly talked to the media for 72 minutes today. Not much got mentioned on Twitter this morning so I wondered how much he would have to say that was interesting or relevant. Thankfully Philly.com has the full transcript. It is like reading a novel, but full of good information. I’m going to cover a few highlights.
”But we want taller, longer people because big people beat up little people.”
This quote has already gotten lots of attention. It is simple and to the point. Sounds like something Buddy Ryan would say, actually.
“…as I tell our guys, we don’t make the depth chart, you make the depth chart. You make it every single day you go out on the field and show us what you can’t do.”
I love this quote. This is the way football should be. Play the best players. Most coaches generally do it, but you see times when coaches play favorites and make some odd decisions. I think players love it when you give them a true chance to win a job. That brings out the best in them and keeps everyone on edge. One of Andy Reid’s shortcomings was trusting his players and allowing them to work out of a slump. If you aren’t getting the job done, let’s get someone out there who will. This isn’t to say players can’t have a bad game, but don’t let them have a bad month.
“I’m not a hypothetical guy. I don’t look at it that way, or have preconceived notions. I think when you do, you gotta change your mindset. You’re trying to influence yourself before the process happens … I’m trying to come to a conclusion, and we’re in March. The conclusion will come to itself, because it’s going to be played out on the field.”
Back to the importance of competition. Give the players a chance and let them answer questions…on the field. I’ve never heard “the conclusion will come to itself”, but that is a great phrase.
On how he teaches it: “You teach the fastest learner, and everyone else has to catch up. …Those guys don’t have time to teach the other guys. Everybody’s moving. That’s the coach’s job.”
There is definitely something to be said for this philosophy. Kelly isn’t going to focus on the guys at the back of the line. He wants the focus to be on the best players. That forces others to try and keep up. It keeps pressure on the players and everyone on their toes. You set the standard high and have everyone work toward that. I’m in favor of anything that tries to draw out the best in players rather than pandering to them and trying to make everybody happy.
On the comparison from UNH-Oregon transition and Oregon-NFL transition: “I approach everything the same way. It’s still 11 on 11, whether you’re at New Hampshire, whether you’re at Oregon, whether you’re at Johns Hopkins University, or whether you’re at the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s still football. The only difference is more people watch it. That’s the adjustment. But the game itself is still the game itself.”
There is a lot of truth in this. Football is football. It all boils down to blocking and tackling. The Eagles struggled in both areas last year and went 4-12. The money, pressure, and level of players all change, but the game is still the game. I think this ties in to Chip’s simple philosophies (run vs 6 in the box, throw when there are 8 in the box, etc.). Don’t try to out-think yourself. Right, Andy?
On preference of training camp: “I like the fact that we’re there, because we’re there all year long. There’s not a transition. You’re not moving, picking things up, going somewhere, and then turn around and coming back. Part of what I always wanted to do is get our guys in a rhythm of this is how we do things. The only thing that changes is the schedule starts to change, but we’re in the same spot. I think there’s a comfort level from being in the same spot. The other thing that was amazing to me is when you see that building and what it can provide to our players, from a rehabilitation standpoint, our weight room, video, all those other things are right there.’
No one is really happy to see the Eagles leave Lehigh, but I like Chip’s explanation. If he truly thinks this can help him and the team get into the flow of things, I’m all for it. I am desperate for the Eagles to get back to winning. I’ll support Training Camp in Afghanistan if that can help the team.
On having success with a variety of quarterbacks: “What we did is, we adapted, depending on who our quarterback was. If you’ve got a good coaching staff, that’s what you do. The best example in the NFL is John Fox. A year ago he had Tim Tebow, and went to the playoffs. Now he has Peyton Manning and runs an entirely different offense and went to the playoffs. When you’re good, you adapt to who you have.”
Chip keeps talking about this idea, but no one seems to buy it. Everyone is just sure that he’s got to have a great athlete. Chip would love an athletic QB, but only if the guy is a good passer who is also smart, tough, and coachable. Good coaches can adapt. Don Shula won with Bob Griese handing the ball to Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris, and Jim Kiick. Shula also won with Dan Marino and no running game. Look at the Patriots. How different were the 2001 and 2007 teams? You have core ideas, but adapt them and build around your players. I honestly believe Kelly can win with Nick Foles. I’m not saying Nick is his choice at QB, but I do think Chip can make it work much better than most realize.
Chip touched on some other subjects. He said Jason Peters should be ready on April 1st. That is huge news. A healthy Peters at LT makes a huge difference for whichever guy gets the QB job and whatever system we try to play.
Chip really talked a lot about perception. He wasn’t defensive, but didn’t care for some of the labels and generalizations out there. Chip wanted to make it clear he’s not going to go for it on 4th down just for the heck of it. He explained how Oregon did it when the decision made sense. The same was true for going for 2 points after a TD.
He had to shoot down the notion that he’s anti-NFL because the league is too conservative. He explained how things come and go in the sport of football. I think Chip doesn’t want to get labeled as Mr Joe College who is here to teach the NFL boys how it is done. The media will jump on that story line plenty. I’m glad he’s not helping.
Chip talked about DeSean as PR. I know a lot of people want this. I am not as big a supporter. DeSean is incredibly talented, but in the last couple of years his PR skills have gone down. He seems to have fallen in love with TDs. That leads him to make some erratic decisions. It seems like DeSean’s first instinct is to move backward, to try and create more running room. I hope Dave Fipp and Chip are able to coach the bad habits out of DeSean. If DJax could get back to the kind of a PR he was in 2008-2010, that would be great.
I was interested to read Chip’s thoughts on practice before games. Most (if not all) teams simply do a walkthrough the day before a game. Chip wants to do more than that, although still nothing close to a normal practice. I don’t have an opinion, other than to do what won you all those games at Oregon.
I really enjoyed reading almost all of Chip’s comments. The only part that bothered me was the talk of the defense. Chip acted like he didn’t know what the 4-3 Under was. All he will commit to is having 7 guys on the LOS. This refusal to discuss the defensive scheme bugs the crap out of me. I shouldn’t let it, but it does.
* * * * *
How did you guys feel? I’m stoked that Chip is our coach. I love his ideas and his attitude. He’ll be the first to tell you that all of this doesn’t mean a hill of beans (baked beans) if he doesn’t go out and win some games.
I just love the vision he’s got for the team and the way he expresses himself. I think Chip is going to be tougher than Reid and will push every button he can to light a fire under players. It will be sink or swim time.
I am really looking forward to seeing this team in action. Of course, I said the same thing last March. Oops.
* * * * *
MLB Brian Urlacher is leaving the Bears. There is no spot for him on the Eagles. He isn’t as good as DeMeco Ryans right now. You want some perspective…Urlacher is from the same class as Corey Simon. Urlacher has had an amazing career, but he’s a declining player. Just doesn’t run well anymore. I wonder if he could land in Denver.