Going All-in on Chip Kelly

Posted: May 16th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 145 Comments »

When it became clear that Andy Reid was on his way out, Chip Kelly became my #1 target to replace him. I wasn’t sure that Kelly would succeed in the NFL, but I felt he was the right guy to replace Big Red. The Eagles needed change. Hiring another NFL coach would have meant some change, but not the culture shock that Kelly has brought. I didn’t anticipate Kelly’s personalized smoothies, reorganized locker room, and things like that, but I knew that he would be distinctly different. This is like a knuckleball pitcher being replaced by a guy who throws 100 mph. The change is so dramatic that it has extra impact.

I fully acknowledged that Kelly was a risky hire. What works in college does not always work in the NFL. Steve Spurrier is the most famous college-to-NFL failure. There have been plenty of others. I felt the risk was worth it because Kelly reminded me a bit of someone that did make the transition successfully, Jimmy Johnson.

Since the hire, I’ve been mostly impressed by Kelly. My biggest concern is the hire of Bill Davis as the Defensive Coordinator. Davis doesn’t have a great track record as a DC. It is hard to get excited by him. I’m also nervous about the hybrid defense. Trying to use the 3-4 and 4-3 Under can be tricky. Hybrid defenses have failed more than they’ve succeeded in the NFL. Too often, coaches think Bill Belichick’s ideas can be copied, but don’t realize you need a brilliant coach like him to teach them, run them, and make adjustments to them.

Fast forward a bit. The last month or so has gotten me to completely buy-in on Chip Kelly. The more I see him in action…the more I hear from him at press conferences…the more I find out about him…the more I like him.

Last week’s PE.com column focused on many of the reasons I’m so excited by Kelly and what he’s doing.

So that you know I’m not completely delusional, this week’s PE.com column is a reminder that even with Kelly doing good things, we do need to remember that the Eagles are a work in progress.

Beyond those columns, there are additional reasons for optimism and excitement.

Check out this blurb from Michael Vick in a recent interview:

Cole: You say you’re satisfied, but you sound like a guy who knows the results are still not exactly what you wanted them to be.

Vick: Right, and I won’t go into detail about it because Coach Kelly told us as a team, “Don’t talk about winning the Super Bowl, just put in the hard work to get there. You talk about if you get there.” So I don’t think about winning the Super Bowl anymore. I just think about working hard as I can and whatever’s in the future is going to come.

I love this.

We have no more dream team talk. We have no more dynasty talk. Kelly has beat it into the players heads to quit talking about how great they are and what’s going to happen down the road. Kelly has sold the players on his philosophy…”win the day”. Players are focused on the here and now. Nothing was more infuriating in recent years than hearing the players talk about how talented the team was and how great they could be…right after a bad loss.

The players seem to genuinely be enjoying Kelly’s coaching. Tim McManus covered this recently and had a good quote from Jason Kelce.

“It was always an uptight conversation whenever I had one with (Reid). Whereas Chip is a lot more — at least at this point — one of the guys. He’s still the head coach and you still have great respect for him, but he converses with everybody, he strikes up conversations. He’s much more of a loose guy to be around than Andy was, that’s for sure.”

You don’t want the coach to be buddy-buddy with the players, but you do want him to have good interaction with the players. Kelly seems to be doing a good job of walking the line right now. The players are following his lead. You don’t hear complaints about the changes he’s making. Kelly is very cognizant of the importance of leadership. He isn’t trying to be popular. That would be no good. Kelly knows how to sell his ideas so that players will embrace them.

One of the things Kelly preaches to his coaches is to always be able to explain to players why something is being done. Think about how often kids ask parents, teachers, and/or coaches why something is being done. The standard answer is either “because” or “because I said so”. Kelly tells his coaches that if they can’t explain why something is being done, then it probably shouldn’t be done.

I think too often outsiders see the unique things Kelly does and don’t understand that there is logic behind all of it. Everybody made a big deal out of the loud music at practice. Kelly mentioned at his PC that there was science behind that. The loud music may have made things fun, but Kelly had proof that it worked in a positive way.

Kelly truly sees the big picture.  Remember when Reid came to Philly with the blue binder and had all his plans mapped out? Kelly goes beyond that. He has everything mapped out. He takes being a control freak to a whole new level.

Here is when we practice. Here is how we practice. Here is what we listen to at practice. Here is what you eat before practicing. Here is what you drink after practicing. And so on. This could be a major issue if Kelly was a domineering perfectionist, but that’s not the case. He tells players that he understands they will make mistakes. It is up to Kelly and the coaches to correct them. Players will be held accountable if the mistakes continue.

It is also crucial that Kelly is able to sell his ideas so well. If he came in pushing these methods on players like a dictator, there would be some sense of revolt. Les Steckel coached the Minnesota Vikings in 1984. He was a Vietnam vet who believed the team needed discipline and drew upon his Marine background for how to run the team. Steckel was 38 years old and the youngest coach in the NFL at that time. He wanted to do things his way. The Vikings went 3-13 and that doesn’t tell the whole story of how disastrous the season was.

Kelly is more salesman than bully. He understands that the ideas are worthless if players aren’t on board with them. It probably helps that Kelly had great success with these methods and ideas at Oregon. The offensive players are excited to play in Kelly’s offense. They watched Oregon move up and down the field and score points left and right. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

Kelly’s teams were among the leaders in plays per game. They didn’t just rack up plays and yards, though. Over the last 3 years, Oregon was 2nd in the nation in Red Zone TD percentage.  The Ducks led the nation in TDs scored (154). For comparison’s sake, Penn State scored 79 TDs in that same stretch.

Even defensive players can get excited. Think about the last 5 drafts. LB Dion Jordan was taken 3rd overall this year. DBs TJ Ward, Patrick Chung, and Jairus Byrd were all early 2nd round picks. MLB Kiko Alonso was a mid-2nd round pick this year. There were several other LBs drafted in the mid-rounds. Oregon’s defense also led the nation in takeaways over the last 4 years. Kelly is an offensive coach, but his defenses and defensive players have had some success.

I think one of the key’s to the success is that Kelly preaches the importance of competition. He said something great at a recent PC, “…if anybody came in here and said they were really vying for a backup job, then they would probably be on the bus down 95 pretty quick.” This might sound like B.S., but Kelly comes from the college world. We regularly see 5-star recruits that never pan out and walk-ons who become star players. Kelly will give all players a chance to show what they can do. It is up to them to win a job or playing time.

Competition will keep a sense of entitlement from setting in. DeSean Jackson got benched in 2011, but it should have happened earlier. Amazingly, DRC and Nnamdi Asomugha never got benched last year. Reid did bring them in for a talking-to. We don’t know how Kelly’s attitude in this area will translate to the NFL. There are no signing bonuses in college. In the NFL, economics do get factored into decisions. Still, I like the fact that Kelly wants his players to always feel that the guy behind them is a threat. If you don’t play up to his standards, he will give someone else a chance. No one gets a free ride.

I guess you could say that I’m a fan of Chip Kelly and what he’s done so far. I can’t wait to see the team in action. There will be ups and downs, but I really think we’ve got the right coach to get this team headed back to the top.

Don’t just sip the Chip Kelly kool-aid, chug it.

* * * * *

If you’re tired of my yakking about Kelly, go check out this recent column by Derek at Iggles Blog.  Derek doesn’t grace us often enough with his thoughts, but when he does…he always provides great stuff.

* * * * *

There is still time to go and support the Eagles Almanac. You’ll get brilliant writing from all the usual suspects. There are rumors about a Sheil Kapadia centerfold, but I have my doubts. His agent would probably want way too much money for that.

_


  • Anders

    I think a very underrated aspect is that everybody seems to be buying in tho Im getting my doubt with Maclin.

    http://www.csnphilly.com/football-philadelphia-eagles/eagles-experimenting-jeremy-maclin-punt-returner

    Some of those comments are not really encouraging. Of course I didnt here the full interview and maybe the comments are spinned a negative way.

    • TommyLawlor

      Mac is one player who is in for a wake-up call. He will have to block. He will have to do a better job as a receiver. And he will get a shot on STs.

      Mac could turn into a star under Kelly or he could struggle and find himself elsewhere next year. He is a real mystery.

      • Anders

        yea, its just those comments is not what I hoped for. Maybe he will prove me wrong and do all that and become the WR we think he can become.

        • http://www.facebook.com/brendanekstrom Brendan Ekstrom

          Conversely, I thought the last interview eagles.com had with Desean was the most mature he has ever sounded in an interview. That is something that I just never thought I’d say about him. It was just one interview but it kind of gave me hope that he is more focused than ever right now. It also reminded me that he’s truly a veteran at this point. It’s easy to forget that when someone acts like a kid throughout most of their career. I would really love to see his full potential come through this year. I’m starting to get excited about this offense.

          • GEagle

            I just want to see trips in the redzone:
            Casey, Desean, Benn lined up to the right, Ertz out wide on the opposite side: 1) pound the ball with Shady. 2) Screen to Desean. 3)Fake the screen, fade to Ertz!!!
            ….
            I’m setting the Overs/unders for TD’s scored on a screen play by Desean this year, at 3….

          • ICDogg

            Yeah… Desean strikes me as the kind of guy who will work harder than anyone if he believes in what he is doing. So if he’s bought in to Chip’s rationale, he will be a force.

        • Flyin

          Does it really matter? Chip will impose his will on the personnel.

        • GEagle

          anders…I feel you! I get so pumped when I hear most of the eagles talk these days…Maclin hasn’t had that effect on me..I can’t really judge him by the limited interviews I have seen, but He is probably the guy I am most concerned with(when trying to read between the lines)…
          ..
          I never liked Curtis Marsh…but two days ago, he made me a fan. he gave an interview on PE.com, where he was basically FOAMING AT THE MOUTH, starving with Hunger to get on the field..I gotta respect that!!!… Its rare that you watch n interview and see so much hunger from a player. I liked it!!! here’s hoping Marsh comes into his own this year…Barwin has a pretty good interview on CSN.com right now…and Boykin did a good interview with Spadaro yesterday. I also enjoyed Cox talking abut Cole,Graham,Barwin

    • Telmert

      Mac is definitely a guy I’d be looking to trade. His value will only go down from here, if only because there’s only one football. Chip’s history doesn’t seem to have the #2 receiver getting a boatload of catches.

      Tommy – totally agree on the questions about the Bill Davis hire, but I think you nailed it a week or two ago: I hope there’s some patience with him. Give them time to get the right pieces in place and get everyone on the same page.

      • TommyLawlor

        I trust Chip. If he’s willing to hire the guy and let him run the defense, I’m in.

  • Don Smith

    Hey, Tommy. I know this is nitpicky, but there are no “former veterans”. Veterans are people who have served and are now retired/discharged, and they retain “veteran” status until they’re dead.

    So, we would call someone just a “Vietnam Veteran”. You could also call him a “former Marine”.

    Thanks and love everything that you do for us Eagles fans.

    • TommyLawlor

      I changed that sentence several times while trying to get it right and forgot to get rid of “former” when I went with Vietnam vet. Thanks for the correction.

    • ICDogg

      Last time I referred to someone as a “former Marine” I got an earful about how there is no such thing. Once a Marine, always a Marine… apparently “retired Marine” was OK.

      • TommyLawlor

        Kinda like “former EMB’er”.

  • ACViking

    Hey, T-Law . . . Let’s be careful out there.

    It’s only May.

    • TommyLawlor

      Are you a Hill Street Blues fan?

      This is the grounded version. You should have seen what I wanted to write!!!

      • P_P_K

        HSB was one of the greatest ever. Got that, Dogbreath?

  • James

    The Chip Regime is definitely going to be an exciting ride. I think that when you factor in that Chip has: changed the nutrition, the locker room, targeting certain measurables, practices including music, and play calling. While all of these are somewhat small and somewhat significant at the same time, he really is the complete opposite of Reid: he runs 60-40 in favor of RUNNING, he makes in-game adjustments, he moved TC, he has an evolving offense, runs a hybrid defense etc.

    To that end, the hybrid attacking defense is still a big part of their success, and the fact that their offense was so successful was a big reason they had success with the defense later on in the game creating turnovers from teams trying to air it out on a comeback effort. It is going to nice to see a collective TEAM effort that will flow between the offense success and how it will trickle to the defense. Some worry about how the defense will be gassed because of the amount of plays that will be run on O and how it could be a lot of quick 3 and outs. I dont think so, our strength is the O-line and the running game and Chip is going to find the best way to utilize them with an emphasis on running and not throwing.

    I really do not think we are years away from contention.Yes, the Eagles have their weakspots but every team does and it is not a lack of talent for the Eagles. Lets build chemistry, stay healthy, and Chip’s brilliant coaching and I really think we have something special here. We are a young team with a lot of players coming into their prime, so realistically we can win the division, heck even surprise in the playoffs. I know that seems optimistic but everything Chip has done just feels right, and feels like true success is coming.

    • TommyLawlor

      Love the optimism.

      I expect the Eagles to be a solid team this year. Gotta see what happens at QB and on defense before I can get too optimistic about 2013.

  • Archangel357

    I agree with your trepidation about Billy Davis, but when he first was hired I had the feeling like it was basically a situation where he would only be here for a couple years. If he did well he should be in contention for a HC spot somewhere, and if he did poorly then he would be shown the door to make room for Chip’s preferred DC: Jerry Azzinaro. Either way, Jerry should be in the defensive driver seat in a couple years. Billy has the experience to get the defense set up for now and groom Jerry for the future.

    • A_T_G

      Your comment got me wondering, is there any chance Kelly walked away from PHI the first time because he was insistent on having Azzinaro as his DC? Neither side budged, talks broke down, but eventually cooler heads prevailed and we are looking at the compromise solution?

      To be clear, I have no evidence of this. It is just that the pieces look like they fit from way over here.

      • holeplug

        Don’t think we’ll ever know why Chip changed his mind. Can’t imagine it was b/c of that though. Head coach should get to pick his staff.

    • GEagle

      I’m actually very excited about Graham. Alot of his former players Rave about him. I think Philly will love his aggressive, blitzing style..Theman rarely had some decent pieces that one could expect him to win with as a DC. here have been some DC’s who Today, we think of as Genius’s, that didn’t have much success at their first or second coaching stints..I already think that Billy Graham, has as most talent as he probably ever had to work with….Philly needs to remember, it’s been YEARS since we even had a real DC. We haven’t had one since the passing of JJ. I guess bOwles was a real DC, but he wasn’t allowed to coach a Todd Bowles defense here…..Graham is a REAL DC. he is no Juanita. he isnt a DC who is being asked to run a 4-3Under..It has ALWAYS been his scheme. Blitzing is BACK, and it’s been Too Long!!!
      Depending on how young players develope the next 2 years, we could already have a good portion of the personel for a good defense, already in place..One more offseason worth f defensive additions, and we could be very close to having the right personel I’m place…Of course it’s still going to take some time to Gel, and for young guys to develope, and come into their own…..I liked what Barwin said about the music…He said in Houston(like many places) they were all doing something similar(simulating crowd noise), but it was the worst sound that you could ever imagine lol…Instead of the simulated crowd noise. We are using loud music, and it accomplishes getting used to playing in chaotic road environment when you have to go Silent count because you can’t hear anything, while tapping into extra energy from the rhythmic beats…Like Barwin, it’s really hard to not buy in, when changes are explained and make so much sense…
      ….

      • GEagle

        Sorry, correction..I’m actually excited,about Davis(not graham)

  • Midnight_Greenville

    Thanks Tommy for letting us know about Derek’s post. It is a great read. If you don’t get pumped by reading his last line, then you’re not a real fan. And really, the entire offseason has been so great for those of us who, despite liking AR and respecting what he did, were just so frustrated by the failure to correct the same problems that held us back year after year. I don’t know if Lurie could have foreseen after targeting Chip that his philosophy addressed essentially everything that AR did that drove the fans nuts, but if he did, he deserves some serious kudos. Chugging the Kool Aid? Oh yeah!

  • Tom33

    I gotta say – I was not in favor of the Kelly hire when it happened. All the stuff about guys at the college level with no pro experience … That said, I am really impressed with what I have seen and heard so far. I love the fact that he has a plan and it sounds like it has been fairly consistent since his days at UNH.

    Who knows how this will all pan out. I still have huge concerns regarding the QB position and the secondary but so far so good (off topic – but what do you think about bringing Charles Woodson in for some veteran leadership and help at the safety position? The Eagles have lots of youth in the secondary and having a guy with his resume would have to help with the development of Boykin, Wolf, Allen et al. Especially considering the last couple of years and all the drama that existed on the back end of the defense.)

    • TommyLawlor

      I assumed Woodson would go as a role player to a contender. I’m confused by what’s going on with him.

      Kelly may prefer younger players that have some kind of future. Woodson is a year-to-year guy.

      • Tom33

        Agreed, but you could say that Allen, Coleman and Phillips are also year-to-year at this point. As far as a contender, I have no delusions about winning a Super Bowl (this year anyway), but I don’t think winning the division is out of the question since there isn’t a NE, SF, GB sitting there with them.

        • GEagle

          yeah man, I too have wondered wtf is going on with woodson. very strange. like Ty law, I thought it was a simple lock that he would be a role player for a contender. I’m baffled as to how the niners could take a swing at NNamdi and not Woodson. Could it be a medical problem we don’t know about? Even a team like the Falcons, who will rely heavily on rookie CBs this year, you would think a, cheap but experienced mentor like Woodson would be appealing

  • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

    When Bill Davis was hired, I commented that his hiring is like getting socks for Christmas. All that build up and excitement only to be disappointed. The only positive thing I can think of is that if Kelly’s offense scores the way it’s supposed to, Davis doesn’t have to have a dominant defense. It just has to be good enough and get take aways here and there and make a stop or two, kind of like Oregon’s defense.

    I’m cautiously optimistic about Kelly. The players are loving it now, but the true test is going to come when the team is in a losing streak (and it likely will happen as this team is a work in progress). If the players are still buying in then, I’ll be sold on Kelly.

    Also, Maclin is going to have to put on his big boy pants this year. I can’t imagine Kelly putting up with the return of Self-Tacklin’ Jeremy Maclin. I have to think Kelly would be more than willing to give Cooper a shot at starting (assuming he makes the team) over Maclin. Mac has way more natural talent than Cooper, but Cooper is by far the more physical player. From what I saw last year, Maclin is about as physical as a pillow fight.

  • Flyin

    If you like Chip Kelly’s interviews, check out this one from August last year before Oregon’s first game… “this ain’t hard knocks”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSGgfjdemzM

    And Tommy, I would like to read your optimistic version. Wondering if it is any way close to mine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hesselfitness Ben Hessel

    “There were several other LBs drafted in the mid-rounds.” C’mon Tommy… Say what we’re all thinking… CASEY MATHEWS

  • GermanEagle

    ‘There will be ups and downs, but I really think we’ve got the right coach to get this team headed back to the top.’

    AMEN, brother.

  • GEagle

    I’m confused…someone help me make some sense of this:

    James Casey talking to Derrick Gunn:
    “In Houston I had to learn the TE and FB role. Here it’s a little easier because I only have to worry about learning the TE’s role”….WTF?
    ..
    isn’t he supposed to be our Hback? What does he mean by this? is he saying that FB and TE are already combined in this offense? I’m confused….Can anyone make some sense out of this? Barwins interview was also pretty interesting

    • TommyLawlor

      There is no fullback in this offense. Casey is going to play the role of the “F – Tight End”. To keep things simple, we’re calling that the H-back role.

      • ACViking

        So that would mean if he doesn’t make a play, it’s “F-ing Casey”?

        • A_T_G

          And the wives can comment on the F-ing tight end.

  • Pingback: Eagles Wake-Up Call: Clay Harbor At Linebacker? - Birds 24/7

  • Dominik

    Love the article, Tommy, I feel exactly the same way. Especially about Davis.

  • GEagle

    Clay Harbor is learning how to play OLB.-Philly mag

  • Eric Weaver

    Over/Under on Clay Harbor sacks? I set the line at 15!

  • Pingback: Random notes around the NFC East: The Doug Free saga concludes, donut eating Felix, Skins no-huddle possibilities, and Freeney/Woodson in NY? – Blogging the bEast

  • William Flick

    A good coach who has exceptional leadership skills can have a big impact on his assistant coaches and everyone else in the organization, too.

  • austinfan

    I’m still skeptical about Chip, I preferred Bradley b/c he had some NFL experience. But I never bought into the Chip’s gonna bring his Oregon offense to the NFL schtick, if that was true, it would have been a horrible hire. And I knew Chip wasn’t Spurrier, “what do you mean I actually have to coach, I can’t recruit 10 1st rd picks?” The key to Chip’s success was and is his football mind, not his system, and his ability to manage (people underestimate the importance of the HC as CEO, the assistant coaches do 90% of the coaching, the HC keeps the zoo running smoothly.).

    Keeping Foles and adding Barkley makes me feel much better, Chip is focusing on QBs who are accurate and make quick decisions, not the read option. Signing Casey and drafting Ertz and bringing in Benn and Momah suggests he’s already thinking about incorporating some of what NE does, maybe some of what Gruden used to do in the WCO (Shurmer influence?).

    Kelce’s comment that Stoutland is incorporating much of last year’s zone blocking scheme instead of his college zone power blocking suggests that Chip is working out a consensus with his coaches. Stoutland liked those 325 lb OGs in college (not just Bama, check out the Miami OL), but in the NFL and Chip’s high tempo offense those guys can’t run for 75 snaps or get to the second level on a consistent basis. Mathis, Kelce, Kopa, Watkins, Lane, Barbre, the 1st and 2nd OL have a lot of athletic zone blockers, even the big bruisers (Peters, Herremans) can run, Kelly and Reynolds are the only “slow” guys in the group (and Reynolds may be supplanted by Quinn or Tennant).

    As far as Davis, jury is out, Fangio had a horrid track record until he was handed a talent laden SF defense, Davis never had a lot of talent on defense – ironically the teams he coached seemed to make a commitment only after he left (see SF, Arizona). Some of this is perception, see Davis 2009, then Horton in 2011, not much difference but Horton came out of a franchise known for good defense so he’s a good DC, even if he succeeded with the young players Davis groomed as rookies (Washington, Peterson).

    • holeplug

      Davis is probably like 80ish% of coaches in that if they have good players their defense will be good and if they have bad players the defense will be bad. Top guys like JJ,Lebeau, Rex etc, can scheme bad players to about average or just below since they can pick up stuff no one else can during a game and adjust. Doesn’t look like Davis is anything special so they better hope for the SF model and hit a bunch of draft picks.

    • P_P_K

      This is a excellent post.

      Tommy wrote above, “This is like a knuckleball pitcher being replaced by a guy who throws 100 mph. The change is so dramatic that it has extra impact.” I think it’s more like a guy who can throw 100mph being replaced by by the knuckleballer. Chip seems to have a bag of tricks that he’s using to mold his team, on and off the field, and I really hope they work. Otherwise, he’ll be another college guy who couldn’t make it in the pros.

  • Dominik

    Probably a stupid question, but why do you seperate the EaglesBlog and Iggles Blitz, Tommy? Not that it’s a big deal, I click on both blogs, but I don’t really get it.

    Maybe there is a ‘historic’ reason for it that I don’t know, because I’m kind of a new reader. But I’m curious. ;)

    • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Patrick

      Tommy didnt want to put the quick post on here, because so much of Igglesblitz is in the comments, and the comments would be separated under different posts, which would ruin the discussion, but Tommy researches a lot and finds a lot of nuggets which he can quickly share on Eaglesblog. Think of it this way, Eaglesblog is a news site, you read and learn, where on Igglesblitz you have to contribute and talk to other people to get the full experience, like facebook or myspace. Following the late draft rounds on here were as much about fun as it was finding out who would be Eagles.

      • Dominik

        That makes sense. Thanks! :)

    • Iskar36

      Patrick basically answered your question, but Tommy actually asked on here shortly before creating the EaglesBlog site how most of us felt. The overwhelming majority of us feel that the comment section here is part of what makes this site special. Most other Eagles blog sites have almost unreadable comment sections full of disrespect and frankly useless commentary. On here though, even when people disagree wholeheartedly with each other, the discourse is respectful and thoughtful and creates fantastic debate rather than a bunch of insults. Since the point of the EaglesBlog was to post short nuggets of interesting news multiple times a day, the concern was that it would interrupt the conversation that took place in the comments section. If an interesting conversation was happening, it would often get cut short by one of the short pieces from EaglesBlog. Thus, Tommy created the separate website to allow for him to post quick thoughts on news items while keeping this site his long post website which lead to conversation.

  • EaglesHero87

    Tommy, I agree with you that Bill Davis wasn’t exactly a “sexy” pick when hired. Wasn’t Davis not his top DC choice? If that’s the case, you would think that Chip would at least want to have a say or contribute in the decision-making aspect on the defensive side. Whose idea was it to install the hybrid 3-4, 4-3 Under defense: Davis or Kelly?

    I also don’t know Davis’s extensive track record as the DC for his previous teams, but did he or did he not play favorites? Let’s say Curtis Marsh outperforms Cary Williams, would both Davis and Kelly then put Marsh ahead on the depth chart?

    • D3Center

      If I remember correctly, Chip said he wanted to higher Bill Davis right after interviewing him but felt he needed to do his due diligence and interview more candidates. Whether Chip was just trying to instill confidence in the hire or not I don’t know. But my guess would be both coaches want the hybrid defense.

  • Iskar36

    I definitely agree with what you wrote here and have liked most the moves Kelly has made. The Davis pick for DC is something I am very hesitant on, but I am willing to see if Davis can prove me wrong

    The one thing I will say though is that while everything is exciting and optimistic now, I believe part of that optimism (certainly not all) is simply due to change. Regardless of who we picked, assuming it wasn’t a guy completely out of nowhere (Castillo-type pick for example), there would be optimism and excitement because of all the changes and new schemes. Players who have been here the last two seasons, who are itching for a winning season, would be mostly ready to buy into something different because of the simple fact that what we had been doing was not working. With Chip Kelly, there is certainly the added benefit of the extent of the change and the fact that he had exciting success with his system in the past, so obviously Kelly himself is creating plenty of excitement.

    Having said all that though, the real question will be, in year 2 or year 3 of CK, after the initial shock of going from AR to something different, are the players still buying in and still excited about CK’s system. Will players continue to be motivated by “the science backs doing it this way” or will they start to feel micromanaged with all the team imposed rules. Part of that will depend on how successful we are as a team obviously, but part of that will also depend on how well CK can be open with his player and be a positive leader. So far, it seems like he is doing that part well, so that is definitely promising, but at the same time, it is easier to be a leader right now when things are exciting and you can sell the idea of a promising future compared to when we hit a down point in the season (which for most teams is inevitably going to happen at some point). The real test will come when CK has to be a leader in those harder times.

    • holeplug

      Optimism for me is b/c they hired Chip. I would have been massively disappointed if he went to Cle and not here. I would have talked myself into Gus Bradley but honestly anyone but those two would not have given me much confidence of anything great happening with this team over the next 5 years or so.

    • Telmert

      I mostly agree, a lot is about just the change, but I do think it’s more than that. Like Tommy has said, Chip is a great salesman. You watch and listen to him and he just seems like a good guy. More than that, though, the moves they’ve made seem to make sense. They’re not outsmarting themselves. This draft (and to be fair, the last one too) was 100% guys who went where they were supposed to go or later. No reaches or surprises. They didn’t pick JaiJar or Daniel Te’o, or Bryan Smith or anybody coming off an injury. They stayed calm in free agency and didn’t sign Vince Young or Steve Smith. They’re not naming their 4th round pick the starting MLB. And they definitely didn’t pull any Juan Castillo as DC coaching hires. We all knew those were bad moves at the time and we were right. Some of the moves they’re making now might turn out to be bad ones, but none feel like any of those head-scratchers. I think that’s a big part of the optimism everyone has right now.

      • Iskar36

        Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all trying to take anything away from Chip Kelly. He has done a very good job so far. He was also my top choice for coaches to replace AR. My point though is that right now, it is very easy to get excited about things. Nothing has failed. In fact, nothing even had the possibility to fail yet. With a different coach, sure, we may not have gotten excited about things like “he’s bringing a completely new offense to the NFL” but assuming we got a guy like Gus Bradley, we would have gotten excited about the changes he would be making on defense, or whatever made that particular coach worth hiring, we would have found reasons to get excited about those things. Heck, I’d bet that people in Kansas City are excited to have a coach who has had a long history of winning in the NFL.

        In other words, right now there are two reasons us as fans are all excited. One of them is Chip Kelly himself, and the other is simply the idea of change. The same thing very likely holds true for the players. It’s easy to buy in right now, regardless of who the coach is. Next year, or the year after, that’s when we will really see how much the players believe in the system. We will really see how CK deals with both the ups and the downs of an NFL season. So far, he has only really dealt with the ups. That’s not to say he will not do that very successfully by any means. Every new head coach has to go through that. AR will have to go through that in Kansas City.

        I understand Tommy is the true optimist and wants to chug the Chip-Kelly kool-aid, but I guess for me, while I am extremely excited about what CK can provide and I am optimistic about how good he can be, I’m sticking to sipping, possibly even waiting on the kool-aid until we actually see things start to play out a bit.

        • Telmert

          I’m agreeing the change is the biggest reason for the optimism. Just saying that if I’m a KC fan right now, I’m thinking we overpaid for Alex Smith, Knile Davis was a major reach in the 3rd round, they botched the Brandon Albert situation, and I’d want to know who voted to sign Donnie Avery. I’d have optimism because of the change but a lot of the things they’re doing would be making me nervous. None of that here yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.stempo Stephen Stempo

    Hey tommy been to http://www.eaglesfan4life.com/ lately? Might be time to clean up the links section. Though I guess that site might be all about the eagles I couldn’t tell :D

    • P_P_K

      Those are quotes from guys in the old 700 level at the Vet late in the 4th quarter.

    • TommyLawlor

      Saw that a couple of weeks back. Left it alone to see if Jake was going to get his site back up. I’ll hit him up on Twitter to look into it.

  • iggles328

    Hey Tommy- What is your opinion on this article saying Clay Harbor is taking reps at OLB? What does this indicate about how the coaches feel about Clay at tight end and also how the coaches feel about depth at OLB? Thanks

    http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2013/05/17/sports/doc5195b29d26b59169080624.txt?viewmode=fullstory

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    “Don’t just sip the Chip Kelly kool-aid, chug it.”

    Glug, glug, glug!
    May I have another, sir?

    • TommyLawlor

      The Chip Kelly Keg…better than the Fountain of Youth. Or a 3-liter Mello Yello.

  • livingonapear

    One of the reasons I’m so excited about Chip Kelly is that he really does feel like a young Andy Reid. Reid has been behind the times so long, it’s easy to forget that he got the Eagles job because he wowed everyone with some fresh ideas and a binder full of scripted practices. He was a man with a plan and someone who was ready to get the most out of his players from day 1.

    Even if you aren’t buying into the smoothies or the music blaring during practice, its hard to ignore that Kelly has come to innovate and implement, just like Andy when he first arrived.

  • Wilbert M.

    I’m late on this conversation- But the players always loved Reid – he was Jesus walking on water. After reading Kelce’s statements, I wonder if they loved him because he never criticized any of them. We would all love a boss that doesn’t hold us to any standards, right? Hey Nnamdi – keep up the good work buddy!

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