I’ve watched parts of several preseason games this weekend. The more I look around the league, the happier I am that the Eagles were able to hire Chip Kelly.
Jeffrey Lurie was interviewed during the Eagles game and mentioned that one of the reasons the Eagles were so interested in Kelly is that they wanted to go for greatness. There are good NFL assistant coaches hired every year. There are even proven winners like Jeff Fisher, Mike Shanahan and Andy Reid on the market on a semi-regular basis. The Eagles had little interest in those guys.
Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski wanted change. They wanted to find someone unique. Andy Reid was an out of the box hire back in 1999. He had never been a head coach at any level. He hadn’t been an offensive coordinator in the NFL. Lurie and Joe Banner saw something special in him when they met Reid and the rest is Eagles history.
If you want true greatness, you have to risk failure. The Eagles did that by hiring Kelly, someone with no NFL experience whatsoever. Lurie will be the first to admit that this could blow up in his face. Lurie spent time with Kelly and came away convinced that he was the right guy to take a chance on. Like Reid, Kelly is a big picture guy. He isn’t just coaching the team, he is building a football program. That’s a huge part of the equation. Lurie wanted someone with that kind of vision.
I think Kelly is utterly fascinating to all of us because he’s unconventional, but pragmatic. He wants to know why you do something. If it makes sense, do it. If not, find a better way. Kelly is on the cutting edge with his use of sports science ideas and methods. He also believes in some tried and true ideas, like running the ball and having bigger players because they are more likely to beat up on smaller players.
Kelly is complex, yet simple.
He can explain his ideas and theories. He doesn’t think he’s smarter than you. Heck, he’s happy to steal a good idea from you. Football coaches love to compare the game to chess. Kelly understands that football is both checkers and chess. There are times to have elaborate strategies, but there are also times to do the obvious. You don’t need a recipe to boil water. But I’m sure Andy Reid has one in his Big Blue Binder.
That binder helped build the Eagles into a powerhouse for a decade. Reid was a great coach and did some brilliant things, but he was more dogmatic than pragmatic. I’m sure Kelly’s willingness and ability to explain his ideas had to be one of the big selling points for him. Lurie might be the Eagles owner, but even he has to answer to Eagles fans. Some of Reid’s unconventional ideas were tougher to deal with as the years went along. They were based in twisted logic. That made for a tough sell. Even when I disagree with Kelly, I can see where he’s coming from or why he’s doing things. So far, anyway.
Kelly’s lack of NFL experience is exactly why you did want to hire him. Don’t get someone who thinks outside the box. Go get someone from outside the box. Kelly isn’t beholden to the standard way of doing business. He will do things his way. That’s how he went from New Hampshire assistant to being the hottest coach in all of football in less than a decade. He’s confident and bold. Kelly isn’t afraid to fail.
He’s also not so naive as to think he can waltz into the NFL and be an instant genius. Let’s call that Spurrieritis. Kelly hired a lot of veteran NFL assistants to help him with the transition. If there are proven NFL ways of getting something done and they make sense, stick with ’em. Again, Kelly isn’t afraid to steal an idea. If the wheel works, don’t try to re-invent it.
I’m excited to go on this journey with Chip Kelly. I think it will be a lot of fun, but I’m also prepared for things to go awry and I understand there is a possible future where I’ll be lying on a floor, surrounded by empty PBR cans, and screaming at the top of my lungs “Why didn’t we hire Mike McCoy!?!?”
For now, I’m ecstatic that Lurie and company did what they did and we’re all on the Chipper Express. Next stop…greatness.
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New podcast is up. Jimmy and I talk about the offense.
Shows have been few and far between recently. Jimmy is at camp everyday. He doesn’t live right in Philly so he’s doing a lot of driving or staying with friends. When camp ends, we’ll get back into more of a normal schedule.
With no H2H site, some of you have asked about having the shows archived in one place. I’m working on that.
We still need to fix the levels of the show. I think we know the problem. Unfortunately, we’ve not had a chance to try out some fixes since we’ve both been so busy due to camp.
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The Eagles signed DE Eddie McClam. They list him at 6-5, 265. NFLDraftScout says he was 292 at his Pro Day back in 2011. I have no idea what the real answer is.
McClam played for 3 years at Old Dominion. He had 7.5 sacks and 7 blocked kicks. He was a 4-3 DE, both on the right and left sides. McClam has a bit of initial quickness, but is not a pass rusher. He doesn’t have that kind of burst. He uses his hands well and plays with good pad level. I think he is best suited as a 3-4 DE where his job is to play the run. He does have an excellent frame. He looks like he could naturally carry 285 pounds.
Why add him when the DL is already looking good ? Great question.
This could be a sign that the team is disappointed in Joe Kruger and/or David King, although I think the Eagles knew both guys were projects when they picked them. Could Kruger move to OLB? I guess that is possible.
It could just be that McClam came in for a workout and impressed the coaches/scouts.
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I’ll post the offensive part of the DGR late tonight or in the morning.