All coaches make mistakes. Life is even tougher on coaches in their first NFL job. Bill Belichick got fired from his first job. Bill Walsh had losing records in his first 2 NFL seasons. Jimmy Johnson went 1-15 in his first year. I’m sure all 3 of those NFL legends have regrets on things they did early on.
Chip Kelly isn’t new to coaching. He’s also not a young guy. Still, he will make mistakes. I’m curious where/how he’s going to err.
Too aggressive – Kelly was aggressive at Oregon. What happens if he goes for 2 after the first TD in the season opener and the Eagles don’t get it, then lose the game by a point? He could go for it on 4th down, fail to get it, and have the opposing team then take advantage of good field position. Kelly’s aggression worked really well in college, but that wasnt the NFL. Some ideas will translate well, but not all. Will Kelly pick the right ones?
Too conservative – Part of the reason the Eagles wanted Kelly is that he is aggressive. Might he get to the NFL and err on the side of caution? Kelly will never be flat out conservative, but part of his magic is that he doesn’t play by the book. Kelly takes chances. Kelly coaches in his share of blowouts at Oregon. NFL games tend to be tighter. Could that cause him to be more cautious?
Personnel decisions – Kelly had a hand in free agency and the draft, but his real power will be in September when he decides who stays and who goes. That is all him. Howie Roseman can only offer an opinion. Is it possible Kelly will err in cutting one player or keeping another? Will he go too heavy on offensive guys since that is his side of the ball?
The QB situation also falls into this category. Kelly must choose wisely or it could set the wrong tone for the season. I don’t get a vibe that the players have a favorite right now. Vick is the veteran, but burned through goodwill last year due to the struggles and turnovers. Foles was well-liked by the players, but went just 1-5 as a starter. I have no idea what the players think of Matt Barkley. Someone should emerge in Training Camp. What if Kelly chooses the wrong starter?
Tactical – Kelly had great offensive ideas at Oregon. His offenses thrived year after year. Players could come and go, but Kelly and the Ducks offense rolled right along. Kelly isn’t bringing the Oregon offense to the NFL. He’s taking parts of it and adding in NFL passing concepts. Will Kelly choose the right parts of his offense to bring along?
Poor adjustments – We all agree that one of Andy Reid’s major flaws was the ability to adjust within games. The hope is that Kelly will be really good at this. If you watch the FishDuck video below, it sure looks like that was something he did well at Oregon. This is the NFL, though. While Stanford had a good defense, that’s nothing compared to what Rex Ryan might throw at you. Kelly will certainly try adjustments. He does need to show that he can make the right adjustments against NFL coaches and defenses.
Game management – Kelly will have to adapt to the NFL rules on instant replay, although that side of things is easier than ever with automatic reviews on TDs and turnovers. Kelly will have to adjust to the fact the clock doesn’t stop after 1st downs. He will gain the 2-minute warning as a free timeout. And so on. Coaches who are smart can really help their teams late in the half and in end of game situations. Kelly will be new to the NFL. Could he make a crucial error that will hurt the Eagles?
Leadership/intangibles – Right now the players are buying into Kelly’s ideas. He is pushing the right buttons and the players are embracing the new ideas. While we hope that carries over to the season, it could change if their are on field struggles. Lose the season opener 31-13 and the shine goes off some of the magical ideas. At that point, Kelly has to know which buttons to push. The flip side is that if things start well, Kelly has to know how to keep the players focused. Every year we see a team go 4-1 or something like that and then fall part. Last year we were 3-1, then went 1-11 in the final 12 games.
* * * * *
So what area do you guys think will prove to be Chip’s weak spot? What mistakes will he make? Is there an area I left out?
This isn’t an anti-Chip Kelly post. It is just crazy to think there won’t be some area where he struggles a bit.