Do Your Thing

Posted: August 16th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 91 Comments »

The true genius of Chip Kelly isn’t X’s and O’s. The thing I’m most impressed with is that he finds a way to get players to do what they do well. That’s really simple if you think about it, but is also critical to building a great team.

The biggest frustration with sports is players/teams that don’t play to their potential. Everyone hates wasted talent.

Kelly seems to do a good job of identifying what players do well and then putting them in position to succeed. Andy Reid talked about that all the time, but he often strayed from that principle because he was so focused on “his offense”. Andy was so enamored with his ideas that he lost sight of doing what was best for the players.

From Day 1, Kelly said this is an equal opportunity offense. We can run or pass. He just wants to score points. He wants to see what the players do well and then adjusts to those skill sets.

Last night we saw Nick Foles running the offense at a fast pace. Foles threw short and intermediate passes. Run plays were mixed in. The offense had a good rhythm. The ball moved up and down the field.

Then Mike Vick stepped in. The offense slowed a bit, but still moved quickly. Vick likes to throw the ball more downfield so yards came in bigger chunks. The ball moved up and down the field.

LeSean McCoy looked as electric as he ever has. Chris Polk played the best game of his young NFL career (considering he was going against starters). DeSean Jackson made plays. Jason Avant moved the chains. Zach Ertz showed what he can do. Riley Cooper blocked well and added a key catch.

Last year the offense was highly dysfunctional. It seemed as though one player would step up, while others disappeared. The next week roles would reverse. I don’t know if this was due to X’s and O’s, erratic player execution or just a dysfunctional environment that brought out the worst in players and coaches. Maybe all three.

Kelly seems to be able to get the best out of multiple players…in the same game. That isn’t to say everyone will have 100 yards a game, but the players can make key plays that impact the game in a substantial way. There are only so many touches to go around. Although, Kelly has helped that by going up-tempo and having the offense run more plays.

Kelly hasn’t made DeSean faster or LeSean more elusive. He’s simply finding a way to use them that allows them to be their best. I do think part of this is the way he treated players, letting them know there would be competition for all spots. What you did prior to February 2013 is irrelevant. Show me what you can do now.

Not every player has stepped his game up. A young guy like Ifeanyi Momah has struggled. So has veteran Felix Jones. More players are stepping up than struggling and that’s the important thing.

Special Teams is an area where coaching has made a ton of difference. Chip Kelly last night referred to Dave Fipp as “Fipper”. So now we have Fipper and Chipper, which is either the story of 2 country squirrels lost in the big city or the story of forbidden love in a federal prison. Anyway. Fipp and Chip have totally changed STs. Brandon Boykin looks like the stud kick returner from Georgia that other college teams feared. Damaris Johnson is smarter, more decisive and very dangerous with the ball in his hands. Think about the coverage teams. We saw Brandon Graham make the stop on a KOR. We saw Russell Shepard make a big play on a punt return last night. Brent Celek was flying down the field and getting in on tackles last week after taking over as the LS. Guys are fired up to play on STs. And not just fringe guys. Graham is a former 1st round pick. Celek is an established veteran.  It feels so good to have good STs once again.

The talent was there last year. For whatever reason, Bobby April just could not get the group to function well. Chipper and Fipper have players motivated and confident. That’s a huge part of STs. Kelly is very active in practice with the STs units and that is critical. But most credit goes to Dave Fipp and his eyes. You play well or your soul is his.

Crazy Eyes Fipp

On defense it is harder to really be definitive. The change in scheme is so drastic that it will take more time to know how those guys are responding. The coaches made some adjustments between games. Players also got better as they got to study tape and see how they looked and what the problems were.

Kelly is less flexible with the defense. He wanted no part of a generic 4-3 defense. There was going to be a shift to the 3-4 or some hybrid variation, even if this wasn’t an ideal fit. My guess here is that the looked at the defense and didn’t see the talent in place to demand that you build around them.

There is talent on the defense. The point is that there wasn’t transcendent talent that you MUST build around. If Kelly took over the 1991 or 2001 Eagles, he’d have stuck with the 4-3. Those were good units already and they had some great pieces in place. The current Eagles defense featured players that Kelly can use in the new defense or as situational players.

Some players have taken well to the new scheme. Connor Barwin looks like a steal from free agency. Mychal Kendricks played a good game last night. If truly turned loose, he could become a difference-maker. Cedric Thornton played well. Vinny Curry has been lights out in the games so far. Bennie Logan played well again last night. Chris McCoy was brought in from the CFL and got little fanfare from any of us, but he’s pushing for a roster spot. There are the makings of a solid, if not good, front seven.

I need to study Trent Cole, but at first glance, he had another quiet game. He didn’t have a strong year in 2012 so this could simply be a matter of age catching up to him. Fletcher Cox was bad in the opener, but looked better last night. I need so see the tape before I know how much better. He can be a good 3-4 DE.

The secondary simply lacks talent. Some guys with talent are stepping up. Bradley Fletcher has shown good cover skills. Patrick Chung looks like he’ll be the physical presence the secondary has needed for a couple of years. Brandon Boykin is a young player on the rise. We’re still hoping that Earl Wolff and Cary Williams pan out. Nate Allen is close to Public Enemy No. 1, but I’m not sure if he truly played as poorly as people want to think last night. We’ll see on that.

The defensive players made huge strides from Week 1 to Week 2. They should get even better between now and next week. This group won’t be anything special on defense because they simply don’t have that level of talent, but they can be a middle of the pack unit.

And that might just be good enough if Kelly continues to get maximum production from the players on offense and STs.


  • goon

    Tommy, Vick ran the offense at a faster pace last night. His quickest snap was close to 12 seconds. Foles quickest snap was somewhere near 20 seconds.

    • goeagles55

      I was at the game last night and watched the play clock on each of their first drives. Foles typically got the snap off with :20-22 remaining. Vick was closer to :17-18

      • TommyLawlor

        Always trust someone named “goeagles”.

        • planetx1971

          Law, I don’t know how many backs we’ll keep or admittedly much about Tucker. But from what I HAVE seen from Jones & Polk, I cannot for the life of me see us keeping Felix @ this point. Am I jumping to conclusions here?

      • Mike Flick

        It sure felt slower with Vick.

        • ICDogg

          Only because the other players weren’t as frantic

    • TommyLawlor

      I’ll watch this closely and cover it in the DGR.

      • ICDogg

        Watch the Car-Phi highlight video on, they show a lot of the timings

  • Scott J610

    I thought with all the new players, new coaches, new schemes, up tempo, there would be a lot of mistakes and penalties on offense. The players look like they know what they’re doing! Impressive.

  • Weapon Y

    Chip is definitely a creative genius on offense and special teams, but he’s out of his element on defense. I don’t think he’s found his equal on that side of the ball with Billy Davis. When Rex Ryan gets fired this year and it will happen, Chip should interview him for the defensive coordinator spot. He might be a lousy head coach, but he’s a brilliant defensive play caller. He’s the only guy I’ve ever seen repeatedly stump Belichick.

    • eagleyankfan

      There might be some players on the Giants who might disagree with you… 🙂 …

      • Weapon Y

        Fair enough. I like to repress those memories.

        • eagleyankfan

          I’m with you on those nightmares/memories…

    • RC5000

      You are way, way too premature. Davis is a question mark but he’s trying to transition the defense and they’ve got some elements on the DL for the 3-4.
      For one thing the defense needs more talent, we don’t have a stud pass rusher at this moment, cornerback is a question mark with Cary Williams who has barely practiced and shuffling safeties next to Chung.
      It’s not going to happen overnight on defense and they were okay last night.

      • Weapon Y

        No doubt that it’s still too premature. This is merely a prediction. I was wrong to suggest the Eagles made a mistake in bringing Vick back, so this wouldn’t be the first time I’m wrong. My point is that Chip blew me away with how good the offense has been. He’s clearly in the top tier of offensive coaches. It would just be great to see the defense perform at that level. I’m nostalgic for the Buddy Ryan, Bud Carson, and Jim Johnson defenses, but I can appreciate a powerhouse offense too.

    • T_S_O_P

      But he is a gobshite. I can’t see how he’d fit the model of how Chip does things.

      • Anders

        I dont see a problem. Before he became HC, you never heard anything about him outside of how good a DC he was.

        I really think the whole mess have brought out the worst in him (the owner loves attention and the GM wasnt any better)

      • Weapon Y

        I consider him no different than Andy or Lovie Smith (btw Lovie is another guy I’d love to hire as defensive coordinator if he was interested) in terms of why he failed. He isn’t good at managing and delegating responsibilities for the side of the ball he isn’t familiar with. Andy struggled with McDermott and Castillo. Rex struggled with Schottenheimer and Sparano, and will likely struggle with Marty Moronwheg. Yeah, Rex has a big mouth and that makes him sound like a dumbass. But I don’t care. The man knows defense. In all his years as the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens and head coach of the Jets, his defenses have NEVER EVER done worse than eighth in the league. That track record is infinitely better than that of Billy Davis. I’d never want Rex responsible for the entire team. Outside of Dick LeBeau and possibly Wade Phillips, he has the best defensive mind in football. Chip just might have the best offensive mind, possibly excepting Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh. I want total dominance on all sides of the ball. The two together could be brilliant.

      • Arby1

        Don’t worry – our man Gus is going to be fired after 1 year in Jax and we’ll bring him north to where he’s meant to coach. Gus and the Chippah, a match made in football heaven.

        • JackV

          I’m thinking Ron R. the present head coach at Carolina if Davis fails. From the improvement in the defense I don’t think Davis will fail.

  • JoeD

    The marriage between Philadelphia and Chip has been a good one so far lol

    • Mike Flick

      Just wait until the first loss.

      • JoeD

        haha true. thats philly though. always passionate one way or the other, never on an even keel!

  • JoeD

    BTW, I’m not convinced on Vick yet. He’s not yet seen exotic blitz packages or disguised coverages yet..This is the stuff he’s really struggled with. I think we see the real mike vick once teams start going after him again.

    • eagleyankfan

      Assuming — Vick is the starter. And you can say the same thing about Foles. I don’t think 1 throw(or slide) from Vick OR Foles decides who the starter should be. IMHO, they’ve both played well and both showed they can move the ball – more importantly — score. Chip has said that his starting QB will be head and shoulders above the other’s and that there will be no question on who the starting QB will be. I don’t think either QB has shown that. Neither QB has fell flat on their face. I still say there’s no fair way to judge who the starter is because of the reasons you’ve mentioned above…the REAL tests start week 1.

      • ohitsdom

        He clarified that statement last night in his press conference. When a reporter brought up that quote, he said something like “I said that usually happens, it doesn’t mean it always does.” I think that’s the case here. Vick probably deserves to start, but it’s not head and shoulders above Nick, and it’s not obvious to everyone.

        • eagleyankfan

          I don’t want to be in Chips shoes :). His meetings yes, but not his shoes…lol.

          • EaglesTrolltheWorld

            I bet Lane Johnson’s son already has Mens size 8 shoes

    • EaglesTrolltheWorld

      Exactly. While Kelly will name a starter before the regular season, we could see things unravel during the season and a QB change happen.

      • eagleyankfan

        that’s a great question. Once the starter is named – no matter how bad he might be, does Chip stay with him? I’m not sure Chip will be a “waffler” and go with the hot hand and flip back and forth…just a guess.

        • EaglesTrolltheWorld

          Right, I agree. Not waffling, but it would have to be a significant unraveling by QB1 (or injury). If one QB repeatedly can’t make quick reads on defenses that actually scheme, that could negate a form of “repetitive accuracy”. This is all speculation, anyway, and I’m willing–cos of course it’s just up to me–to give QB1 a chance in the regular season.

    • JackV

      Agree, the turnover machine will return.

  • Cafone

    Would trading Trent Cole to a team running a 4-3 that needs a defensive end be a possibility? In the right system, I bet he still has a couple of good years left.

    • TommyLawlor

      The team actually loses money by trading Cole. It is cheaper to keep him on the roster.

      • A Roy

        Yes, but it would be like buying a draft pick. Would depend on what we could get.

    • JoeD

      I think we would get a lot more for graham.

  • HipDaDip

    Should I be concerned by the relative lack of pressure from the OLBs? Am I falling into the trap of thinking of them as 4-3 DEs still? Tommy said Barwin looks like a steal, but is that mostly driven by his coverage and run stopping?

    • TommyLawlor

      Fair to be concerned. OLBs are key to the 3-4. They must get to the QB.

      • HipDaDip

        Are the OLBs taking pressure off the DL, allowing the good DL penetration so far? Seemed like Barwin failed to get pressure on a few rushes 1v1 against a TE, so maybe it’s just good DL play.

        • theycallmerob

          I noticed that as well. It seemed Cole and Graham were often driven wide, and Barwin was chipped or blocked by a TE. This continued with the backups as well; freeing Cole, Thornton, Curry, and Logan to penetrate and disrupt so much in the backfield. It’s really a pick-your-poison scenario, akin to the offense. The fact that all these young DL are stepping up is huge.
          The other benefit to Cole, Graham, and Barwin drawing so much attention is that those A-gap blitzes become that much more effective. Kendricks looked great when he blew through that thinned out line, and Chung was able to hang around the box as well.

          IMO, I really think the team is just missing that stud coverage OLB or FS to become a top-15 defense; a great corner, and we’re top 10. At the very least, ST looks dramatically improved. I’m also becoming incredibly intrigued by the play of a young Mr. Wolff.

    • JoeD

      especially barwin….has he sniffed a qb?

      • Mac

        I wouldn’t put it past him. Have you seen his college videos?

    • RC5000

      concerned relative to what? we know this already. they need to look for a premier olb next offseason

      • HipDaDip

        relative to the impact of Fletcher Cox’s braces on his focus

        • RC5000

          I was just wondering what your overall expectation was in terms of the Eagles overall and the pass rushing OLBs.

          • HipDaDip

            ah gotcha. I guess I’m comparing to my memory of our DEs from the last few years, although I guess Cole looks pretty much like he did in 2012, right? Also, Barwin compared to the highlights from his big season.

          • RC5000

            It’s hard to put it into context with where the team is at right now. I feel like we need another offseason (draft mostly) to find the guy. Graham isn’t bad but I don’t think he’s an elite 3-4 olb/edge rusher.

  • livingonapear

    It really is amazing to go back and see what Andy got out of a fairly middling team at the start of his tenure, and then compare that to our bloated all star teams that won zip.

    It’s funny, Chip Kelly feels a lot like a young Andy Reid. Reid got hired because of his famous binder, the one full of exciting ideas and scripted practices. Chip Kelly has come to town with his own binder, although his is a little more in the public eye. We all knew that his practices would be loud, fast, and focused; we all knew that his ideas were forward thinking, and more in line with where the league is going. Hell, once Kelly wraps his mouth around some cheese steaks, and grows some facial hair, he’s going to look an awful lot like Andy. Would it surprise you to see Chip Kelly come up with a pickle juice stroke of genius?

    • JoeD

      agreed… Andy at one point was a young innovative coach. he kind of pioneered the pass first league.

      • Mac

        But he perfected it with Marty with the deep pass to open every game.

    • James

      You are comparing Reid to Chip probably because that’s the only tenure you went through. Completely different situation, coach, schemes etc. I dont get that feeling at all, yuck.

      • livingonapear

        Right, they have different schemes that are based off of what is working and what will work. I’m not trying to argue that they have the same ideas, just similar energy and attitude.

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    What chip wants on his defense is what he knows would stop his offense, at least what would.negate his offense’s key advantages: diversity. what happened when the Panthers got caught in a nickel against 4 TEs? Shady’s big run. Chip does not want that happening to his defense, so he’s focusing on a scheme and players who can defend against either the run or pass. He is willing to accept a less than dominating defense in exchange for a

  • Brandon Ramsay

    I haven’t found one player I yell at the tv screen more than I do towards Nate Allen.

    • TommyLawlor

      He’s not nearly as bad as fans make him out to be. Did a good job on the opening drive. That’s all I’ve seen so far. Working on the DGR.

      • Tom33

        No matter how much you scrub, the stink of 2012 will never leave Allen (or Coleman for that matter). It doesn’t help that he totally whiffed on Ridley’s run when he had a chance to make a play 10 yards from the LOS.

        Then again, Jaiquawn Jarrett looks like he might start for the Jets, so maybe everybody should get a clean slate…

        • TommyLawlor

          I just write what I see. If a guy stinks, I write it. If he’s good, i write it. I have no agenda with players. Trust the tape.

          • Tom33

            I wasn’t implying you weren’t objective. I was mostly talking about the rest of us — or at least myself.

          • bdbd20

            Except Marlon Favorite. His skills defy videotape.

          • Crus57

            His skills defy videotape gravity.

          • eagleyankfan

            It’s official – you’re pro-Allen :).

      • Anders

        Also Allen seems to play a lot of single high safety, often away from the screen and we have yet to give up a bomb, so something is right.

        • Ark87

          good point

      • eagleyankfan

        I disagree completely. Unless, I say he couldn’t start in the CFL and you think he can, then yes, he isn’t as bad as I think.

  • eagleyankfan

    I thought the ST’s did look better, but I don’t really remember what the ST’s look like in last years pre season games…

  • Mike Flick

    Looking at the picture of Fipper cracks me up. They must have taken 20 pictures, and then decided. Yeah this one is the best.

    Could you image the rejected pictures? Yikes

    • ICDogg

      I was thinking he’s wearing some very uncomfortable contact lenses

  • Adam

    Tommy I’ve been hearing reports that Chip was reading Wilfork in the Patriots game and not the end. Any truth to this?

  • Adam

    Love the name of the image. Dave “Crazy Eyes” Fipps has a good ring to it.

    • Mac


  • Sean Scheinfeld

    The defense may not scare anyone, but the special teams coordinator is terrifying enough for the whole team.

  • Phils Goodman

    I grow weary of every Chip Kelly positive being contrasted with an Andy Reid negative. There is a long list of Eagles that Andy Reid put in position to succeed, after all.

    • Ark87

      While similarities are ignored, positive and negative.

      I think Tommy recognizes this better than most, but it gets beaten to death by the average fan. Chip has a lot in common with Reid (and overall it’s good to have some stuff in common with Philly’s winningest coach), including some of his faults. Tommy touched on it with the switch to the 3-4. Everything Tommy mentions of Reid being guilty of with his offense, Chip is guilty of with this defense.

      Andy Reid was ridiculed for being smarter than everybody else and over thinking things in the end because he fell on his face. Chip is an innovator today, but if he falls flat, he will be ridiculed for the change to the 3-4, the loud music, the personalized smoothies, the funny looking formations, the sport’s scientists who are there to prevent soft tissue injuries while a plague of ACL injuries ravage the team, the 3 and outs that would happen in 60 seconds real time. If the team is soft, they will look at the soft practices, and the sitting Cary Williams for mixing it up with someone in practice. The College Whiz kid that knows better than everybody else so he does things different.

      Make no mistake, the only thing that will save him from that eventual characterization will be a superbowl win. Championship games and superbowl appearances won’t save him from it, fair or not.

      I’m full on the chip wagon, even if he stumbles, but i think everyone is a tad too fickle.

    • TommyLawlor

      Andy Reid was a great coach and I’ve said that over and over. Love Big Red to death. Anyone who thinks different isn’t paying attention.

      But Andy was always his own worst enemy. He didn’t need to be a 50-50 run/pass coach, but he was too pass happy, especially at times when that didn’t fit the personnel. We saw this last year with a broken down OL. Andy continued to throw and throw and throw.

      Andy’s way worked. It just could have worked better if he’d been a little more pragmatic. Andy was bound and determined to win by throwing the ball. It would have been better if he was just bound and determined to win.

      Buddy Ryan was flawed with his disdain of offense. Andy was flawed with is over-reliance on the passing game. Chip will prove to be flawed as well. We just don’t know how.

      • Anders

        I still think Marty was the best and worst that happened for this offense.

        Had AR had a more conservative OC like Childress, I think the balance would have been better

      • bsuperfi

        I think Andy’s problem at the end was even bigger than the run/pass stuff. He lost one of the most fundamental things that made him so great in the first place. Like Chip, Andy thought “programatically”. He thought about winning not just from a player and play-calling perspective, but how the organization as a whole could support those things. I think Andy’s offense, and the organization more broadly, turned very Frankensteiny. Look at what happened with the D coaches in the past few years. No serious overarching strategy.

        Chip wants to do some different things on the field than Andy did. But Chip brings back that old full bore organizational feel. Lurie alluded to this in his interview in the booth during the game. Granted, I’m a geek, but this gets me pretty excited.

      • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

        AR’s true fatal flaw:
        HOF HC Monday through Saturday,
        Come Sunday…not so much.

  • Baloophi

    Written by Tommy Lawlor

    Tommy – I think you’re looking at an animated feature here. A classic “road trip” movie coupled with a “buddy cop” story arc…

    Open on a farm where we meet Chipper: an adventurous, visor-wearing squirrel who has always wanted to see what else is out there beyond the fence, and his best friend Fipper, a more timid, “play by the rules” squirrel (we’ll establish that dynamic in the opening scene where, against Fipper’s advice, Chipper steals a bowl of Fancy Feast from the evil farm-house tabby and barely escapes).

    Chipper’s next caper entails trying to make off with a crate of cherries from the back of a truck (we can play that like the “Lufthansa heist” from Goodfellas). Chipper and Flipper get trapped in the truck which drives all the way to the city where it delivers the cherries to a farmer’s market. (NOTE: “Cherries” are just a placeholder… we’ll set up a focus group later to determine the most appealing produce).

    Montage: Country squirrels adapt to city life, set to Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time.”

    After a while, Chipper starts turning into a different squirrel (perhaps falling in with a bad woodland creature gang like a group of raccoons, or – since we’re in the city – rats). Meanwhile, Fipper falls for a saucy city squirrel (she’s probably a struggling Broadway actress squirrel… that will give us room to write some fake musicals… “The Possum of the Opera,” “Pigeon on the Roof”, and as a wink-wink twist, “Cats.”).

    Eventually, Fipper and Chipper have a big fight and Fipper decides to head back to the farm. On his way back he hears how “City Park” is going to be paved over so the evil Giants can have a new practice facility. We push in on Fipper who is literally standing at a cross-roads.

    Cut to Fipper clinging to the back of another cherry truck – he’s going back to the city! Upon his return, Fipper finds Chipper and convinces him to leave the rat-gang. Together, they quickly assemble a team of supporting characters we met earlier (gotta have a skunk and a police horse with an Irish accent, right?), and go to save Fipper’s saucy city squirrel love interest seconds before a bulldozer (clumsily driven by Eli Manning) breaks ground on the park. (NOTE: In this scene, Fipper has to overcome some specific fear we’ll establish way back in that first scene at the farm as well as in the inevitable “Fipper loses squirrel girl” scene… maybe jumping from limb to limb?)

    Shoots itself! (Draws itself?) That said, we may want to consider re-naming it “NUTS!”… it’ll read better on billboards.

    • ACViking


      When I read the word “caper,” I can think of only one person — and you nailed the allusion by referencing the Lufthansa heist from Goodfellas.

      That would be “Morrie Kessler” . . . the rug-man in Goodfellas.

      I just love that word — “caper.” Takes me back to some great times.

      By the way, your crew needs a lawyer.

      • Baloophi

        I’ll leave it to you suggest the appropriate animal…

        • ICDogg

          Probably a rooster. Because you know what the difference between a rooster and a lawyer is.

    • TommyLawlor

      Absolutely brilliant.

    • A_T_G

      I think Nuts needs to include a cameo by Cox. Maybe he could voice the roster mentioned above.

  • jethrojonz

    The Flipper looks like that odd looking actor that was one of the bikers who crashed the party in Weird Science. He has that “Australian” look.

  • planetx1971

    Dave Flippin is rockin one hell of a set of Manson Lamps !

  • P_P_K

    Somewhat off topic, but Eagles season opens with 3 games in 10 days. Does the intensity of the beginning of the season influence how you approach the remainder of the pre-season?

  • Lee Washington

    Fipp’s eyes look like he has experienced “forbidden love” in a federal prision.
    lol,,, Ain’t winning grand, even in the preseason..

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  • BobSmith77

    I just want the over/under on the number of games Vick starts before he loses his job to injury/ineffectiveness.

    I would set the line at ‘6.5’