Chip Kelly’s first Training Camp will start Monday when rookies report. We’re all curious about what will happen. Chip is a new coach and a coach’s first TC can be interesting.
Make sure you read this. It is full of great stories.
Vermeil was trying to turn around a franchise that was losing every year. Buddy was trying to put his imprint on the team, and to a lesser extent, the whole city. Rhodes was trying to undo the Kotite years. Reid was trying to lay the foundation for a football program. More than the others, Reid saw the big picture and wanted to plan for the long run.
Kelly has gone on record as saying that he doesn’t have grandiose plans like those coaches. Maybe Kelly does have those ideas and is simply deflecting from the media getting too caught up in that. Or maybe Chip is trying to keep his plans simple.
We know that Kelly does see the big picture. He’s using technology like never before. He’s focusing on nutrition and sleep in ways that no other Eagles coach has. His practices could be mistaken for Ozzfest, with all the activity going on and the barrage of loud music. Kelly may simply see Training Camp as an extension of what he’s already started. The other coaches used it as a way to set the tone for their tenure. Kelly may have already set the tone with his changes and innovative ideas that were implemented in the spring.
It does seem like Kelly has the attention of the players already. He didn’t do it in an overly aggressive way, but rather by making so many changes, in terms of scheme and the way things are done. The Eagles ran the 4-3 defense from 1986-2012. They are now moving to a hybrid scheme. The Eagles ran the WCO from 1995-2012. They are now moving to a spread attack that focuses on the run game. I already covered all the changes in terms of training and practicing. There is no doubt that the Reid era is over and this is now Chip Kelly’s team.
I certainly don’t see how any player can feel truly comfortable because of all the changes. And that’s a good thing. The Eagles were 4-12 last year. No player should be comfortable. All 90 guys need to have a chip on their shoulder.
It will be interesting to track the results of Kelly’s camp vs the other coaches. His will be less physically grueling, but will require great stamina and will be mentally taxing. There are new schemes to learn, complex schemes, and they will be practiced at breakneck speed. Teaching will be limited on the field. Most of that will happen in the classroom. This is going to be vastly different than what the players are accustomed to from high school, college and whatever NFL experience they have.
The other angle of note here is timing. When you take over a team is important. Vermeil took over the Eagles when there was no free agency and turning a team around was a huge challenge. Now there are worst-to-first teams every year. Vermeil and Rhodes took over the Eagles when the Cowboys were established juggernauts. Kelly comes into the NFC East at a time when the division is down. There are no clearly bad teams, unless you think the Eagles fit that description, but there isn’t any team to really fear.
The Eagles won the division in 2010. There are still players left from that team. Heck the Eagles were seen as a Super Bowl favorite just 2 years ago. Kelly has some rebuilding to do, but it isn’t as if he’s starting from scratch. If Kelly can find a QB, the offense could be outstanding, one of the best units in the league. Out of Vermeil, Ryan, Rhodes and Reid, there was only one good unit in Year One. Ray Rhodes defense finished 4th in the league in yards allowed.
Kelly can approach this team differently because he is taking over a group that has good pieces in place. While things grew stale under Reid, it isn’t as if there was a need for a drastic culture change. There were only 2 losing seasons in the last decade. Things did fall apart last year and that’s why the coaching change was needed. Kelly doesn’t have to undo years of bad coaching. Reid left him a good foundation to work with.
We’ll see if The Chipper has a couple of curveballs for us this summer or if things will simply be an extension of the spring. No matter what, it won’t be boring.
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Good news. Dion Jordan has agreed to a deal with the Dolphins. He is the #3 pick. Jordan agreed to offset language in his deal, which has been the holdup in getting Lane Johnson signed. Now that Jordan has set the precedent, it is more likely Johnson and his agent will copy that deal. Hopefully this means the Eagles will get Johnson under contract in the next few days.