Where Will Chip Err?

Posted: May 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 81 Comments »

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.


81 Comments on “Where Will Chip Err?”

  1. 1 austinfan said at 2:48 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I said this before he was hired, his lack of NFL experience will show primarily in his first year as he underestimates the speed of the NFL game. You can watch film, and you can watch preseason, but until you’re on the field, seeing how things that look perfect in practice fall apart in games, you won’t have a true feel for what will and won’t work.

    This involves both tactics and personnel. Chip will have to reevaluate everything he’s doing during the bye week, probably 80-85% will turn out to be workable, but 15% will have to be discarded or modified. And players he thought were quick enough will prove to be a step slow, or a half second slow in their decision making.

    I see 2013 as an extended tryout for both Chip and his players.
    2014 is when Chip will be ready to rock and roll.

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 3:13 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Good stuff. There is no way to appreciate NFL speed.

  3. 3 jshort said at 4:17 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Don’t think speed will be a problem. He sees it every practice. and will tweek during TC and preseason, Your right though, something has to go wrong, The philly media will give him some wiggle room, if the same things keep repeating, it can get ugly fast.
    Football is the guys life, he has no family to distract him (wife children).. think it’s a good hire, just have to wait and see.

    Curious, was jimmy johnson married?

  4. 4 A_T_G said at 4:28 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    The media will give him some wiggle room, as long as he makes new mistakes. I shutter at the idea of him making some of Andy’s mistakes.

  5. 5 CTAZPA said at 4:42 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I shudder at the small window the media will give him for error.

  6. 6 Ark87 said at 4:29 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    In essence the range that players have in the nfl makes the field feel more narrow, while the speed of receivers and arm strength of QB’s make the field “longer”. These concepts are why the spread initially struggled to gain traction in the NFL. Plays that were devastating in college can have minimal effect simply because schematically you didn’t think a man could be in the play, but unexpectedly he had the range to make the play. It takes time to see your plans at *game speed* to get a feel for it.

  7. 7 Iskar36 said at 5:06 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    The Eagles will practice fast, but we here it from every player every year that the speed of the game is so much different from the speed of practice. That the speed of preseason is slower than the speed of the regular season. Then even more so, the speed of the playoffs is faster than the speed of the regular season. So while I don’t think Kelly is clueless about the speed, I do think he will not have an opportunity to truly see it until Week 1.

  8. 8 Telmert said at 3:06 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I thought he already made his big mistake. He didn’t decide immediately to take the Eagles head coaching job. With that out of the way, he should be perfect from here on out. On a totally unrelated note, the cool-aid is especially delicious on a beautiful day like this. I had 5 glasses this morning!

    I think the bigger question is how long will it take him to correct his mistakes. And when he does fix them, will the changes be lasting or will he keep falling back into his tendencies. If he picks the wrong QB, how long will it take him to switch? If he starts too aggressive, will he be stubborn and continue to force it, or will he adapt? AR kept making the mistake of getting away from balance on offense. He would be late in recognizing/fixing it, and when he did fix it, the fix would be short lived and he would revert back to forgetting the run game. Chip certainly talks like he’ll be open minded and will adapt.

  9. 9 Alex Karklins said at 9:25 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Your flying Marlon Favorite avatar is what dreams are made of. Bravo.

  10. 10 Scott J said at 4:20 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Early on I think players will make a lot of mistakes, like jumping offsides, which will put us in 3rd and long a lot. I think with a fast paced offense that stalls, our defense could be on the field too much. And our defense isn’t good enough to get many 3 and outs. I think Kelly might have to slow things up early on.

  11. 11 OregonDucker said at 5:23 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I agree that offense personnel will tend to be anxious and make mistakes the first few games. If I recall, lineman off-sides were common the first few games at Oregon. However, usually we were playing Portland State or Nichols State so it did not matter as the game was won.

    I think we tend to minimize or forget that Chip has Shurmur to help him with NFL specific game issues – time management and over-aggression. But make no mistake, Chip will be a very aggressive play caller.

    This is a transition year so expect a roller coaster of a ride – make sure you seatbelt is fastened and be prepared to scream – maybe put a wire screen in front of the TV to stop the beer bottles from hitting your 60 incher!

  12. 12 Anders said at 4:33 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I wonder how much the hash marks will be a problem. In college Kelly was very good at exploiting the wide side by spreading the defense thin (like having 2 WRs on the close side etc.)

  13. 13 Duracell said at 4:41 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    This is something I’ve wondered about also. Between the speed of the NFL and the ‘field’ side being narrower, some of Chip’s concepts probably won’t be as effective. However, the ‘boundary’ side will also have more space than college, so I trust Chip to be able to figure out how to take advantage of that, which in turn could help open up the ‘field’ side.

  14. 14 D3Center said at 5:59 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I think this was the point of Shurmur being hired as the off. coordinator, he can help Chip’s passing game adjust to fit the NFL field and game.

  15. 15 Duracell said at 4:37 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Personally, I think with tighter games in the NFL, this means that being aggression is even more beneficial than the college game. Obviously we don’t really see this in the NFL due to external considerations (outside pressure, job security, etc.). Generally, the aggressive decisions have a significant mathematical advantage over conservative decisions and any edge that can be gained is more beneficial in a close game than a blowout.

    There’s certainly more risk involved with high aggression, but over a season it should result in more wins. I don’t think we’ll see Chip going for 2 early in the game like he did at Oregon (in part because I think the mathematical edge in doing this is minor), but I would like to think we’ll see equal aggression on going for it on 4th down, etc. that Chip had at Oregon.

  16. 16 holeplug said at 5:07 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    “Chip has to play the percentages and punt more” mine as well be WIP’s slogan starting in September. Casualfans gonna be so confused

  17. 17 SteveH said at 4:40 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Something I hope people understand when it comes to things like 4th down attempts is that you can make the right decision and still have it fail, the same as sometimes you can make the wrong decision and have it work out. So many times we evaluate whether a decision is the “right” decision or not based on the outcome rather than the circumstances in which it was made. Bill Bellichek got murdered for that 4th and 2 call a couple years ago against Indy, but in reality it was probably the right call, based on his offenses ability to convert in short situations and his defenses’ inability to stop Indianapolis. Just because it didn’t work doesn’t mean the decision was a poor one.

  18. 18 247365IgglesFan said at 10:12 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Yes, yes and yes this is 100% correct!

  19. 19 TommyLawlor said at 10:18 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Very true.

  20. 20 Iamallthatisman said at 11:42 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Poker players call it “expected value”. It’s the entire premise in which a player can make money. Say if the bet is $1 to call, the pot is $5 to win. If you think your pair of jacks wins better then 20% of the time, you make money in the long run.

    The other guy may laugh at you once or twice, but you smile and encourage it because you’ll win that often enough.

  21. 21 SteveH said at 11:53 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Poker is actually a great way to illustrate why people don’t understand a concept like expected value in the context of football as well. In poker you are looking to play thousands of hands in order for random variation to succumb to the percentages in order to collect your winnings. In football you might be looking at a sample size of 5 or 10 of a particular kind of situation (such as going for it on 4th down at the 35-40 yard line). With such a small sample size to work with its entirely possible to make the correct move every time and still have it work out. No one will look at it that way though, they’ll just think the coach is an idiot.

  22. 22 Iamallthatisman said at 1:17 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    That’s exactly it.

    Another problem that it boils down to, is the money ball example. The baseball seasons are so long, even the championship series is at least 4 contests.

    In football, sometimes a situation only comes up once. Injuries, a specific player in specific conditions. There is no defending a good decision that has a bad result.

    I’m afraid Philly media will eat him alive. Fortunately, Lurie seems to have good patience. I’d be surprised if Chip doesn’t get at least 4 seasons, worse case scenario.

    Speaking of betting, I took a bet earlier that was over/under 10 2 point conversion attempts this year. I figure 1 per 2 games is realistic just on the hunch that he will do it if he scores first, and there will be at least 3 “real” circumstances. I feel comfortable in my number.

  23. 23 Adam said at 9:08 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    Have you been watching Chip’s interviews with the Philly media since he’s started? I think he’s about as intimidated by the media here as Andy was intimidated by an all you can eat buffet.

  24. 24 Iskar36 said at 2:05 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    I will say that for the most part I agree with you, but there is a counter argument to this point. There is a lot of value, both in poker and in football, in being able to read your opponent. The expected value may give you all the insight that playing your pair of jacks is the mathematically sound move, but if you have managed to read that your opponent has a pair of aces, it is also important to be able to count your losses and fold. This gets complicated because you don’t want to allow yourself to be bluffed but you also want to minimize your loses. If you are playing a lesser opponent who doesn’t understand those expected values, you have the advantage and the right strategy is to play based on the math and hope you don’t simply get unlucky. On the other hand, if you are playing someone who understands the expected values and is working with the same strategies, unless you plan on leaving it entirely to a game of chance, you have to take certain calculated risks that may go against the expected value based on the way you read the situation.

    If you take that analogy to football, yes, expected value is extremely valuable and it is important to put a lot of weight on the expected value. Still, if the situation suggests that you should go for it on fourth based on “expected value” but you sense your offense is out of sync, the defense has the momentum, and your gut is telling you that you will not convert the 4th down, you do have to weigh those feelings against the math. To me, a good coach (possibly even very good coach) will understand the expected values and in the long run will generally get above average results. However, a great coach will know when and where to trust the expected values and when to read the situation and go with his gut. If he has a good feel for when and were to make his move, he will have incredible results.

  25. 25 Ark87 said at 4:49 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Well I’ll list this possibility but it won’t be popular.

    Chip Kelly is a thinker and a planner, to the extreme. Everything is for a good reason, at least theoretically.

    I play a real time strategy came called Starcraft. Chip’s type is called a “theory crafter”. Meaning he spends and incredible amount of time thinking about, theorizing about, every aspect of everything, every possibility, every scenario. He can formulate, write-out, talk about something that is perfect, absolutely flawless, on paper anyway.

    This isn’t an inherent weakness, but this type tends to (but not always) struggle with formidable opponents. These extraordinary opponents have a way of throwing something at you that you haven’t yet obsessed over.

    Time will tell how he handles these situations. Basically the Theory Crafter’s knowledge, expertise, and mental capacity dwarfs his actual experience. These folks tend to have to gain experience to marry the theory realm to the reality realm to become elite.

    TLDR: chip may be vulnerable to over-thinking

  26. 26 D3Center said at 5:06 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    While Andy was guilty of over thinking things, I don’t think Chip will have the same problem. I see Chip’s strategy as more along the lines of exploiting the weaknesses the defense gives him be it personal weaknesses or scheme. I could see him struggling at first with some NFL defensive concepts against his offense due to inexperience but not over thinking.

  27. 27 holeplug said at 5:14 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    This describes Andy much more closely than Chip.

  28. 28 Ben Hert said at 8:55 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Theory-crafters spend countless hours tuning and tweaking their
    strategies, and creating new ones based off of long hours of analysis.
    That sounds more like a CK. Andy seemed more like the guy who would
    pick one strategy and do it every time, and focus everything on making
    that one strategy work.

  29. 29 Iamallthatisman said at 1:21 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    Most competitive gaming has these, even MMO players. Once of the most acclaimed features of World of Warcraft is the amount of study that goes into optimization. It’s pretty depthful stuff.

    Baseball goes crazy over situational statistics too. I think its entirely too cut and dry to apply to football.

  30. 30 Iskar36 said at 5:03 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    One other area that I think will be interesting to watch is whether the defense can compliment the offense Chip Kelly runs. If we are to assume that Kelly’s offense will be fast, getting from one play to the next quickly, chances are the defense will be on the field longer. Since the roster is significantly smaller in the NFL compared to college, it will be interesting to see if Kelly can manage to keep his defensive players rested and healthy. To me, while there are a ton of questions about how Kelly’s offense will work in the NFL, I think his ability to balance his offensive ideas with the team as a whole will be significant in determining Kelly’s success.

  31. 31 holeplug said at 5:20 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I actually don’t think this will be a problem once he finds a QB. Pats were fine with up tempo last year b/c they have Brady so they almost never have like 4 straight three and outs that would exhaust the defense. Ravens failed in the up tempo last year b/c Flacco is too inconsistent and they couldn’t sustain drives long enough to rest the defense. One of the reasons why Chip keeps stressing he needs an accurate QB is too keep the chains moving even if they don’t score so the defense doesn’t tire out.

  32. 32 Iskar36 said at 6:17 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Using the Pats as a model though is not entirely fair. We all would love to have Brady be our QB, but finding a guy like that is extremely difficult. Finding a guy like Flacco is already very hard, but it is significantly easier and more likely to find that caliber of a QB. If Kelly’s offense is centered on the idea that we need a QB that can be as consistent and efficient as Brady, Kelly would be doomed to fail from the start. So that circles back to my original point, can Kelly balance his offense with what we have (or what we will have in the future) at QB with the defense?

  33. 33 holeplug said at 9:50 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I didn’t mean Brady literally just that if Chip doesn’t find his RG3 or Cam to read option the NFL into submission than he probably would rather have an average arm QB who can complete 65% of his passes than a guy like Flacco or McNabb who have a howitzer attached to their shoulder but will always struggle with accuracy issues. Brady is the best possible outcome of QBs in that mold but they aren’t impossible to find. Chad Pennington,Matt Schaub,Brad Johnson,Andy Dalton etc. Obviously the chances of finding one as good as Brady are incredibly small but if Foles or Barkley have a Brad Johnson type career that doesn’t rule out a parade down broad street.

    Thats why I brought up Flacco before. Ravens tried it last year and had to dump it once Ed Reed starting bitching to the coaches that everyone on D was exhausted b/c the offense kept going 3 in out so fast. Flacco is good enough to win a SB but is not a good fit to run an up tempo offense.

  34. 34 shah8 said at 9:58 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Chad Pennington ultimately was the death of Mangini in NYC. I think there is some thinking about there be dangers in sticking with a so-far-effective but obviously flawed QBs–Matt Cassel, Derek Anderson, Jake Delhomme, qbs like those…Eventually they are all casually solved, and you can’t even run kiddy offenses with them. Harbaugh is probably thinking along these lines when he replaced Alex Smith. My QB won’t pass to the wide receivers? Uh….nuh-uh. **peeks at alternatives**.

  35. 35 Neil said at 10:51 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Chad Pennington had the makings of a great quarterback until injuries ruined his career. In no way is the outcome of his career a result of his originally less than ideal arm, which was made worse by shoulder problems. And then there were all the other injuries which made it so that he only approached a full season of starts every two seasons or so. Pennington early on was a poster boy along with Brady for success in circumstances you would probably deem fatal, not a “so-far-effective but flawed” quarterback.

  36. 36 shah8 said at 1:02 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    Hmmm? No, no he didn’t have the makings of a great QB. And Chad Pennington was the post injuries self when Mangini was coach of the Jets.

  37. 37 Neil said at 1:34 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    He definitely was past his shelf life when Mangini got there. I remember a guy who everytime he seemed to be taking off got hurt again. He never got comfortable, and he never got to his prime. He only consistently played in the first few years it takes any quarterback to become comfortable in what he’s doing in the NFL, and he was significantly better in those years than a lot of quarterbacks who people would now call better. Maybe his arm was too weak, and defenses were on the verge of shutting him down, but because of the injuries I don’t think it’s fair to say that was the story of his career. We just don’t know.

  38. 38 Skeptic_Eagle said at 8:46 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    I don’t think your theory matches up with reality very well. Pennington’s last season in New York was 2007. Mangini was fired when Brett Favre & the team collapsed down the stretch after starting off 8-3 in 2008.

    Now, if you wanted to argue that trading “so-far-effective-but-obviously-flawed QB” Chad Pennington to the Dolphins, where he acted as caretaker to an effective ground game and helped Miami win the division was the “death of Mangini”, I might be inclined to agree.

  39. 39 shah8 said at 12:59 PM on May 28th, 2013:

    He had to get Favre because effectively, defenses figured out Brian Schottenheimer’s version of the Chad Pennington passing game. And had to handle Favre’s unhappiness, and eventually the torn biceps.

    Miami got only one decent year out of Pennington as well.

    Pennington’s contract in 2004 prevented the Jets from moving on when they should have. Imagine if they drafted Jay Cutler instead of Ferguson?

  40. 40 Skeptic_Eagle said at 1:41 PM on May 28th, 2013:

    Mangini is a clown that seems to have a much greater estimation of his own abilities than is appropriate. Hard to blame anyone but Eric Mangini for his failures as a head coach. Besides, Herm Edwards was the coach when Pennington was extended with franchise QB money.

    Pennington was the first QB to throw short passes, and let his skill players try and get YAC afterwards? I thought that was a tenet of the WCO. He absolutely had a noodle arm, but was extremely accurate, intelligent, and showed all the leadership qualities most NFL franchises seem to look for.

    The Jets were in contention for the NFC East title with Pennington. They went to the playoffs as a wildcard the year he got extended, and beat the chargers. 2005 was the year Pennington tore his rotator. You don’t just throw away a franchise QB and draft a guy in the top 10 (Cutler) because your franchise guy got injured.

    Miami didn’t just “get one good year out of him” and then watch his play fall off. He re-injured the same shoulder that had been rebuilt twice before in the 3rd game of the 2009 season, effectively ending his NFL career.

  41. 41 Iamallthatisman said at 11:49 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    The point you misses is that Brady was a late round pick for a reason. I’ll give him some credit, but i dont think people recognize how good Belicheck is. Brady needed that defense and Kicker early on. Being around Belicheck and his creative offense helps Brady tremendously.

    Bonus points if you can guess who Belicheck has given credit to for his offense.

  42. 42 CTAZPA said at 5:13 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Eaglesrewind.com had a great series last week about going for it on fourth down. It’s mathematical/analytical. If you like Football Outsiders, you’ll love it. The FO guys love the idea of Chip Kelly because all the evidence points to him using Moneyball-type insights to drive his program. Fourth down is one of those ideas. The point at eaglesrewind.com is that coaches often don’t go for it on fourth down because they need to manage the risk, and they won’t be second guessed for not going for that fourth and three. The blog describes this scenario: The Eagles are on defense and the other team has a fourth and three at our 43. Do you want them to send out the punting team? I do. On offense, Chip Kelly won’t.

    The media generally okays the punt and second guesses the failed attempt to convert. The percentages say “Go for it!” whether you make any given individual attempt or not. Interestingly, I’ve never heard Chip say, “The percentages say…” He’s more liable to say, “I don’t know anything about math, I just felt like we had the momentum there and I wanted to keep it going.”

    So, he knows the percentages. He has the courage to play them. And he has the savvy to understand that the average football writer/fan doesn’t want their coach to be making decisions based on those facts.

    He’s gonna err. And Tommy’s list is far more extensive than anything I could think of. If an unconventional but scientifically supported Chip Kelly decision fails, I hope a large contingent of educated fans swarms to his support.

  43. 43 Tumtum said at 5:40 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I just hope he didn’t err in staff selection. If he got that right we are going to be okay for some time to come. So far it looks like he got that one right, but Tommy’s doubt of Davis has me worried, NGL!

    The rest of this stuff is easily correctable and if corrected should only cost a game. A poor selection on staff could set the team back irrevocably in his tenure.

    That being said I can certainly see his first error noticeable to us being in the area of aggression. Perception will be key though. If he decided to go for it out 4th down on our own 30 and failed, Eagles fans would almost certainly call that an error. Chip may see it another way.

  44. 44 ACViking said at 6:16 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Re: Kelly’s Errors


    I think the most important category you listed is *personnel*.

    If the Eagles QB plays at a relatively high level, then a lot of the other categories of mistakes you listed can be masked or forgotten. (Assuming the O-line stays even remotely healthy.)

    Almost as important will be making sure the Eagles have — all season long — a quality place-kicker, punter, and long-snapper will also mask or erase some of the possible mistakes that could be make. Although their collective impact will depend, I think, on the Eagles having a Top 12 or so defense — including in the RZ — and good QB play.

    Back in 1978, in Vermeil’s third season as the Birds’ HC (so he’s presumably experienced), place-kicker Nike Mike-Mayer from Temple was injured in the Miracle at the Meadowlands game — game No. 12 that year. But Vermeil did NOT sign a new place-kicker. Instead he had punter Mike Michel double up, as he did in college at Stanford, as both the PK and P.

    In the last four games in ’78, Michel did not attempt a single FG. Not one. And he went only 9-12 on PATs. Nonetheless, the Eagle reached the playoffs for the first time since 1960, where they faced the Falcons in the Wildcard round on a rainy day in Atlanta (and Philly).

    And wouldn’t you know it . . . the Wildcard game came down to 34-year FG attempt by Michel on the last play. He missed wide right. Still the most heartbreaking loss in all my years as a fan.

    Vermeil’s never explained in any real depth his reason for not signing a PK after Mike-Mayer’s injury.

    I wouldn’t expect Chipper to make the same mistake. But you just never know.

    Think of Tom Coughlin’s decision just before the 2002 Wildcard game to sign long-snapper Trey Junkin — who’d not played all year. And on the potentially game winning FG in a playoff game, Junkin makes a terrible snap that costs the G-men a chance to kick the winning FG. (Pass-interference arguments asside.)

    My guess is Chip will make mistakes of all kinds.

    But I’d be happily heartbroken if his most glaring happen in the Wildcard game.

  45. 45 shah8 said at 10:03 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    The last three seasons, the Eagles have been terrible at the hidden yards element of the game. Consistently horrible field positions that made for more work for an offense that tended to be as finicky as a Masarati.

    Also, AC Viking, I *was* heartbroken about the wildcard loss and Aker’s role with those missed field goals. I won’t feel better if it was Chip rather than Reid.

  46. 46 ACViking said at 10:26 AM on May 28th, 2013:


    I’m limiting my “happy disappointment” just to this season — not Chipper’s 12th year.

    Back in ’78, you have to appreciate that the Eagles hadn’t come close to being competitive for 17 years.

    Then to lose on a missed FG by a punter . . . just crazy.

    Anyway . . . GREAT point about the Eagles’ hidden-yards problem. Great point.

  47. 47 Midnight_Greenville said at 6:32 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I am concerned that they will lose a game where they are up by more than 1 score in the fourth quarter but have a hard time downshifting from a fast paced offense and give the opponent an extra possession or two that gets them back in the game. But I also am convinced that Chip will adjust incredibly well over the course of the season and we will be a better team at the end of the year than we are in the beginning. My optimism this year stems in large part from my belief that Chip will not allow his ego to stand in the way of winning. He will adjust even if it means scrapping the uptempo or zone read. And that is why he will be successful over the next few years, if not in year 1.

  48. 48 Tyler Phillips said at 12:00 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    One of the often overlooked aspects of the way Chip orchestrates the O is that it isn’t always uptempo. All one way or another is easy to prepare for. If I remember correctly (and I may not), Oregon’s O ran at 3-4 different speeds depending on the game situation. http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8631595/the-success-chip-kelly-oregon-ducks-offense-more-familiar-seems

    IMO, it’s really not as simple as scrapping concepts as it is knowing when and how to use them.

  49. 49 Wilbert M. said at 12:54 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    I don’t see this happening when you consider how heavily weighted Chip’s offenses have been towards the run. Oregon was something like 65% run.

  50. 50 Scott Greenberg said at 6:56 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    i’m worried hes a one trick pony. honestly i dont care what he does this year. we arent going to be very good. im worried once the nfl figures him out and hell have to adjust to real nfl football which he isn’t accustomed to.

  51. 51 Anders said at 6:59 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Doubt that will be a problem consider what he does he old school football


  52. 52 Mac said at 10:06 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    I believe that Chip is the antithesis of Reid with regard to scheme/playbook. It’s not surprising to hear people having this opinion after 14 years of Andy, but we’re talking about a fundamentally different approach to the game. At his worst, the Andy/Marty ball became somewhat predictable and when you combined that with a lack of talent from a depleted O-line and a QB given to making mistakes with turnovers… well we have a complete train wreck of a season. Heck, even in Donovan’s later years, he slowed down the Reid offense with his unwillingness to make certain throws.
    If you take Chip Kelly at his word, then you need to start moving away from the Reid model. Kelly isn’t coming in here with a playbook as much as he is coming in with big picture concepts. The concept I’m most excited about is finding favorable match-ups and exploiting them on offense. 8 in the box, throw the ball. Spread em out and if they start putting in extra CBs run the ball. Let the defense pick (to a certain extent how we’re going to beat them). Part of the reason I believe this can work is because it doesn’t over think things. Another reason is because we have so many home-run threat players at skill positions. I really think the whole thing is going to hing on getting the right guy under center to adjust things on the fly and get the ball where it needs to be.

  53. 53 Baloophi said at 7:38 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    All I know is that whatever mistakes Chip Kelly makes as a coach, he better correct them in 14 years or he’s toast.

  54. 54 TommyLawlor said at 10:23 PM on May 27th, 2013:


  55. 55 JJ_Cake said at 8:26 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I doubt anyone will agree with me hoping that we loose most of our games so we can take DE Clowney or the best QB if Barkley or Foles don’t pan out.

    I hope the games are exciting and demonstrate that when the team is in synch that they can compete with the best, but it is unrealistic to think that a totally new offense and defense will go well without mistakes (and I mean a lot of the bang your head on a wall I can’t believe they did that kind of mistakes).

    I’m not so much worried about Kelly as I am the players. I was really pulling for Vick to turn it around, but was dissaponted with his poor judgment about calling out RG3 and Kappernick to a foot race against him. It just demonstrates he isn’t taking the QB job seriously.

    I suspect we’ll get burned the most on defense though. Bunch of new guys playing in a new system. I bet a lot of dudes will be out of position and we will give up some big plays.

    It will be interesting to see how well Kelly handles the adversity. He is not accustomed to loosing. Hope he can handle it well and not unjustly take it out on his players and staff.

  56. 56 Anders said at 8:35 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    “I’m not so much worried about Kelly as I am the players. I was really pulling for Vick to turn it around, but was dissaponted with his poor judgment about calling out RG3 and Kappernick to a foot race against him. It just demonstrates he isn’t taking the QB job seriously.”

    Oh come on man, the guy is just having fun after just everybody told him last season he was getting slow.

  57. 57 JJ_Cake said at 9:57 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    I was a supporter for Vick back when he took over for Kolb.

    I liked how different he was from McNabb during the press conferences. Leadership, and responsibility along with complementing the rest of the team when he had success.

    After his performance last year, and the last few games of the prior year starting from that Viking debacle (except the GB playoff game, I thought he was good there), Vick doesn’t have the right to goof and “just have fun”. The dude is lucky to still be on the roster.

    He should be humble, focused, and working his ass off on being accurate, and making good quick decisions.

    Sorry if 3-13 makes me a bit of a sour puss. He can goof all he wants when he proves he can win again.

  58. 58 Wilbert M. said at 12:48 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    Lose – not Loose. You lose a game. Your shoelace comes loose. (sorry – pet peeve)

  59. 59 Adam said at 9:50 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    The mix of NFL and college coaching staff is something to think about as well. Seems like most positions have a “Chip guy” (even if they are only assistants) and an NFL guy. It may work out magically but.. it also might not.

  60. 60 shah8 said at 9:51 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    New coaches tend to err by not handling dumpster fires well. Guys like Mangini and Singletary tried to be tough guys who held people accountable, but fostered an every-man-for-himself atmosphere. I think Schiano will wind up the same way. When you look at most of the big failures, spectacularly inadequate QB play tends to kill young coaches even faster than they do established coaches. I can’t remember a young coach that got busted for bad defenses other than Raheem Morris. There are fewer institutional barriers to fixing bad defenses. When Gary Kubiak had his horrible defense, he concentrated on bringing in sufficient talent and was successful at that. Schiano put bigtime stock on upgrading his secondary this last draft.

    So, basically three things gets a young coach fired before he gets going…

    1) Not addressing a bad QB situation, whether that was your own fault or not. Wisenhunt and Mangini consistently failed to put starter talent in at QB and tried to make do with wildly inadequate QBs. Pete Carroll does the smart thing and has a bad, but *real* QB in TJack hold down the fort and maybe have an exciting moment or two until he has a good QB.

    2) Alienating the players on your team. Brad Childress is a pretty good example here. You are a professional, among professionals. Treat players like you would college kids, and, well…they be signing contracts elsewheres, not playing as hard as they could, etc, etc.

    3) Alienating your GM or owner. ‘Nuff said.

  61. 61 shah8 said at 10:10 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    And when you think about what I said…Compare Jim Schwartz with coaches that only lasted a couple of years or less. And think about whether if he *really* does merit job security more than the coaches that didn’t make it.

  62. 62 SteveH said at 10:27 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    With Schwartz I have to wonder if where the Lions came from (0-16, worst team in history) gives him a little extra leeway. I mean 4-12 looks downright fantastic next to 0-16.

  63. 63 Wilbert M. said at 12:46 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    No doubt the fact that the Lions were so bad for so long has extended Schwartz’s stay. He is on par with Andy as far as game management.

  64. 64 TommyLawlor said at 10:26 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Interesting take on things.

    I think part of Morris problem is that he was a defensive coach and couldn’t solve the defense. Not good. Chip is an offensive guy so that’s where he’ll be held most responsible.

  65. 65 Iamallthatisman said at 12:21 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    This is true. He may end up having a stubbornness in something that could be very bad.

    I do too wonder how he will handle a professional players locker room. I’m wondering how he will handle disagreements with the front office.

  66. 66 Baloophi said at 10:49 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Here’s another potential “error” category that sounds like it’s probably also a major at Syracuse: Media Relations

    While I honestly don’t foresee it being a problem with Chip, there’s always the possibility that his “straight from the hip” style backfires with our intrepid beat reporters and our fickle “Fire everybody!” fan brethren.

    Consider Chip’s “Who would you take?” retort to Jeff McLane during his pre-draft press conference – good fun for the assembled media (minus McLane, I assume), and later used to describe his “refreshing” approach to press conferences. I wonder if, after gambling on a 4th down, and losing to Dallas for our fifth loss in a row, he fires back at a reporter, “What would you have done? Punted?”

    Again, I don’t really see any of this as realistic (especially losing to Dallas), and I think Lurie will sincerely extend Kelly a long leash, but I just wanted to throw out another potential area for catastrophic blunder. Coupled with an offensive strategy that many are already mis-characterizing as gimmicky, Chip’s “fresh” attitude could conceivably turn the tides against him just as badly as any personnel mistake.

  67. 67 TommyLawlor said at 11:17 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    Good point. I should have covered the media. Chip’s aced that so far, but we haven’t hit a trouble spot yet. That’s when you really find out.

  68. 68 Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran said at 10:58 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    How dare you say that Chip Kelly will “err” this year!
    What reckless statement will you make next:
    – Vick will throw multiple incompletions this year?

    – Shady will fumble a time or two?

    – Henry (or is it Henrey – I always forget, but does it really matter anyway?) will miss a FG at some point?

    – Maybe even – gasp – the Cowboys will win a regular season game????
    I immediately demand my money back from this free blog for making such an outrageous statement, you obvious Giants/Redskins/Cowboys-lover, you!

  69. 69 TommyLawlor said at 11:17 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    To atone, I did 4 sit-ups in my driveway.

  70. 70 Wilbert M. said at 12:36 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    I love the FishDuck video!! Andy would have got stuck on bubbles or something else and never changed. I think Andy’s a smart guy in some ways but tactically in games he sucked. I also think Chip will pick the right 53 players – Andy was too concerned about giving up on his guys – yeah, Curtis and Jamar, you’re a couple of those guys. Andy was great for the Eagles but he ran out of gas around five years ago.

  71. 71 Skeptic_Eagle said at 9:07 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    I think there’s a chance that Kelly has already made some personnel missteps, and I’d say that area presents the greatest opportunity for error going forward. I think there will be future mistakes about some of the players that “fall by the wayside”–simply because they don’t fit Kelly’s archetypes. In fairness, the personnel angle is the hardest part.

  72. 72 Adam said at 9:34 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    The players that you see “fall by the wayside” are mainly going to be guys that don’t fit the new schemes, not necessarily the Kelly archetypes. I doubt there has been a coach who has came in and changed schemes on both sides of the ball without quite a few casualties.

    But on the topic of Kelly’s archetype.. I think the mold Kelly has put forward has been something Eagles fans have been wanting for a long time. I know myself, I had just about enough of the undersized speedy guys on both sides of the ball. “Big guys beat up little guys” might be really simplified, but it will be a refreshing change.

  73. 73 quest4fire said at 9:32 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    Defense is key. The NFL is a copy cat league. If Chip brings a new wrinkle that works, teams will copy. With that said, Im not too worried about the offense, Im confident we will score points. Its the defense that worries me. Opposing teams will use the ground and pound, the dink and dunk to keep Chip’s offense on the sideline. I’m a believer that you need a good defense over a good offense to be successful in this league. We have too many question marks on defense right now.

  74. 74 Tom33 said at 10:07 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    The biggest thing I worry about with a guy like Kelly will be how open he is to listening to other opinions/ideas as opposed to just doing everything his way. Any time you have a guy who has had so much success, was sought after by several teams, and is anointed a “genius” by the media – you worry he believes he is infallible. So far Kelly has shown a willingness to bring in multiple points of view (Shurmer as OC for instance) as opposed to surrounding himself with his guys like Spurrier did as Washington. So I’m hopeful. But until we get a year or two into this, it remains to be seen if he can strike a balance between confidence in his system and overconfidence/stubborness.

  75. 75 Mac said at 10:10 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    Worst possible mistake would be letting a player drink a peanut butter and lemonade smoothie.

  76. 76 TommyLawlor said at 11:18 AM on May 28th, 2013:

    We’ll get that in Jimmy Bama’s next video.

  77. 77 Mac said at 1:18 PM on May 28th, 2013:

    Haha excellent!

  78. 78 knighn said at 2:14 PM on May 28th, 2013:

    I find your lack of faith disturbing.

  79. 79 aub32 said at 2:19 PM on May 28th, 2013:

    My biggest fear is that this season turns into 2011 all over again. In 2011, the offense performed pretty well throughout the first 3 quarters. However, their inability to score in the 4th as well as the defense being much further behind in a new scheme led to many heart breaking losses in the fourth quarter. It eventually came together, but it was too late. I would feel much more confident about this year if we were running a 4-3 with an at least somewhat proven DC. Then next year we could look at switching into a 3-4 when we once again have the draft and FA to bring in players with a better fit. In addition, players that we expect to be much better in a 4-3, such as Graham, Cole, and Curry, would a chance to build their value this season. This would allow us to get something in return for these players, instead of just letting them “fall to the wayside”

  80. 80 GEagle said at 5:55 PM on May 28th, 2013:

    Im sorry, I know this is a different game, but there is no way in hell that I can envision Such a Bright, Quick witted, well prepared man making the blundering Idiot time management decisions that Reid made at the end of halfs…
    I have always said that my absolute dream in life would be to play 1 game of madden against Andy Reid, and one game against Marty..just to see the decisions that they would make lol..Does Andy Reid still screw up the time management when all he has to do is move his thumb over 2 inches and press a button lol?…Even computer players wont honor your play action pass after you passed the ball 10 times in a row lol.. In terms of the pass, Marty often called the game how a 5 year old would play…screw the run, swing for the fences and go deep on every play lol..I would have paid anything to play 1 game of madden against those 2, just to see if the same boneheaded crap shows up even on a video game lol

  81. 81 xlGmanlx said at 6:41 PM on May 28th, 2013:

    BB fired? The owner moved the team in the middle of the night and fired the whole staff. Billick basically won a couple years later with the players Ozzie and BB selected minus a few others.