No More Mr. Nice Guy

Posted: August 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 35 Comments »

Andy Reid loved his players. And they loved him.

Just think about how many ex-Eagles came back to the team. Think about how many guys worked for the team in some capacity. Reid had a terrific relationship with the men who played for him throughout his tenure. The only guys who really bad-mouthed the Eagles were players who had salary gripes.

Compare that to what Wes Welker said recently.

Wes Welker isn’t with the Patriots anymore, yet he still has his former coach Bill Belichick on his mind.

“When I’m answering questions from the Denver media, I’m not worried about what the Broncos’ people are going to think,” Welker said in a story in Sports Illustrated (via the Boston Globe). “I’m worried about what Belichick will think. Isn’t that crazy?”

Yes, as a matter of fact it is. Hey Wes, don’t worry, Bill is on the other side of the country. You sound like a bullied teenager right now.

How did it get to this point?

Welker, expected to be a main cog in the Broncos’ offense this season, went through a bitter separation from the Patriots this offseason. This is despite putting up record numbers during his six years in New England. But while he was racking up big stats, things weren’t going so great behind the scenes. In fact, Belichick began riding him hard, including tearing him down in front of the team.

“It was just kind of hard,” Welker said. “One of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him … But he does it to everybody, it’s the way he is.”

Belichick can be a flat out jerk. He’s not worried about feelings. He’s obsessed with results. Reid didn’t have the same cold, rigid way of coaching.

You can argue about which one is better. The Pats have the trophies, but Reid has relationships with players that will last a lifetime. It is easy for us on the outside to scream “We want the damn trophies!”, but there is something to be said for Reid’s way of doing business. Before you go nuts and start yelling at me, I’m saying I understand the mindset, not that I agree with it. Would you rather be Tiger Woods…cold, driven and obsessive to the extreme or would you rather be John Daly, the talented goofball that has a good time all the time (to steal a line from Viv Savage)?

My point here is to talk about how Reid’s coaching style led to some sloppy play over the years. The Eagles didn’t do enough of the little things that it took to win some games. Penalties were an issue at times. Reid was terrible with challenges until the last couple of years. Timeouts were a bit of an adventure. Game management was erratic. We saw the Eagles lose to lesser teams just about every year.

Reid was a smart man and a very successful coach, but he lacked the ability to drive people to perfection.

Chip Kelly is different. We don’t yet know his NFL results, but his college results were outstanding. Oregon didn’t lose to bad teams. They came out focused whether playing Arkansas State, Arizona State or LSU. He wasn’t satisfied with a good offense. He demanded great results and his players delivered.

Kelly came to the Eagles and told Mike Vick he could compete for the QB job. Kelly put DeSean Jackson on the 3rd team in the OTAs to get his attention. Both players were confused by this, since they were Pro Bowl talents with dynamic skills. Kelly didn’t care. He wanted things done his way and both players luckily responded.

Think about the fly-swatter devices. That is so simple, yet it is brilliant. Kelly has done this before, but it works really well with Vick, who has had a lot of passes batted at the line of scrimmage in recent years. Kelly is teaching his QBs good habits. Get your arm angle up. Make more of an over the top throw. If you do that every day in practice, it should carry over to games.

Kelly understands the details of football. He’s also got the kind of personality where he won’t settle for good enough. Kelly will push his players to perfection. He’s got some Belichick to him.

The difference appears to be personality. As in, Kelly has one. His players love him so far. That will start to change in the next week. Kelly will cut a well-liked veteran or two. Kelly will choose some starters, which also means some guys will be relegated to being backups. Once the season beings, Kelly will be critical of the players who don’t perform well. Obviously, that can lead to some tension.

Can Kelly maintain his good standing with the players once he begins making tough decisions? He did at Oregon, but it will be more challenging in the NFL.

I think a big part of this will be winning. The Eagles are 12-22 in their last 34 games dating back to the TNF debacle. You can make that 12-23 if you add in the playoff loss to the Packers. Players like Vick, DJax, Shady, Peters, Herremans, Cole and Celek are all desperate to get back to the winning ways of the past. They’ll do whatever Kelly wants, if it leads to winning games.

Players have bought into Kelly’s ideas and methods. If the team can have some early season success, the players will start to believe whatever Kelly tells them.

Kelly doesn’t just want to win. He wants his team to perform at a high level. And he’s willing to do what it takes to drive them to that level.

Don’t judge Kelly just by whether the Eagles win. Look for a team that does the little things. Are WRs blocking? Are penalties down? Do the players make smart decisions? Does the team have letdown games? Do mistakes get fixed? And so on.

If Kelly can drive the Eagles to do the little things, the team will win big (although maybe not in 2013).

_


  • Anders

    I think one of the reasons Kelly have a good relationship with his former players (except Cliff Harris) is the guy behind the scene in James Harris and also an important part seems to be Kelly’s open door policy (which Jackson used and now seems happier than ever)

    • TommyLawlor

      I think you’re right on both counts.

  • Sean Scheinfeld

    That Tuesday night game against the Vikings remains the hardest loss I’ve ever experienced as an Eagles fan. Coming off the Miracle at the Meadowlands II, I really felt like the Eagles were unstoppable and just assumed, like most fans, that they would roll over the Vikings and Cowboys, both of which were without their starting quarterback. That #2 seed and a bye were a given. I sat down to watch them play a Minnesota team starting JOE FREAKIN’ WEBB, and when Vick threw a great TD pass to Harbor, I channelled my inner Dick Stockton and told myself that the rout was on. Then, Antoine Winfield happened.

    • bentheimmigrant

      I’ve only been to two games. That was one of them.

      • AJ Race

        i was at that game/…epic sadness

        • bentheimmigrant

          The worst part might be that I convinced 3 people to go with me. I shall live with that guilt the rest of my life.

  • ICDogg

    Still working on the offensive DGR?

    • TommyLawlor

      Yeah. Weird week and I’m not feeling great. Hope to get it posted in a couple of hours.

      • HipDaDip

        woohoo! feel better

  • shah8

    There is nothing wrong with being like Andy Reid. In hindsight, I think the big difference is that he lost quality subordinates who could curb his worst impulses.

    Belichick has a ton of pretty high quality staff consistently working for him.

    In this light, again, the change we’re really looking for is how functional and cooperative the entire coaching staff is, and not necessarily the brilliance of any one dude.

    I mean Romeo Crennel is a brillant dude. So is Charlie Weiss. Or Larry Summers for that matter. Doesn’t mean that they can manage worth a damn.

  • Flyin

    I’ve been very impressed by Kelly and how the players have responded to him and his methods. I think communication has been his biggest asset so far, as Ander’s pointed out with the open door policy.

    In the Studio video with Ross Tucker is worth watching… he says some sweet things about Spurrier…

    http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/multimedia/videos/In-Studio-Ross-Tucker/ba54ad15-c3fd-4b69-82bf-03ea724ab10d

  • Mark Saltveit

    Spot on with this one, Tommy. To my eye, Chip has the rare knack of pushing people to excellence while staying positive. Very rare. And I think a lot of it is simple emotional maturity, which you can’t always count on in highly obsessed workaholics like football coaches.

    • OregonDucker

      Mark says it best – “Chip has the rare knack of pushing people to excellence while staying positive”. Win the day baby, and never ever let up.

  • Vick or Nick

    I recall Kelly’s remarks during his introductory press conference. He said you win in this league with great players and that coaching is often overrated aspect. Eagles will win this year IF they get great QB play.

    Matter of fact that can be said of any team in the NFL.

    Great QB play = wins.

    • Maggie

      Not always. WHEN did NE last win? How long ago did any team with Peyton Manning actually go deep into the playoffs? Montana won 4 Superbowls, but he played for many more years than that. AND he overthrew Clark on ‘The Catch”. How many years did Brett Favre play? Just a thought, or four..

      • Vick or Nick

        Those guys didn’t play great in the playoffs hence their teams didn’t win. I didn’t say you need a great QB. you need great QB PLAY. People argue whether Flacco is a great QB but its undeniable that he PLAYED great in the playoffs.

    • NoDecaf

      Dan Fouts approves this message. :D

  • Tumtum

    I know you didn’t come right out and say it T.Law but you basically put out there that Billichick’s style > Reids. Logically that makes sense. Billy has more Championships than Reid so his style must be better. I just don’t always buy into logic. I think Reid’s teams could of easily been the ones that won three Superbowls had even, just say, luck been different. Nothing specifically but say maybe NE didn’t know their D play signals in 04′. Or say they managed to win the heart breaker against Az to play Pitt who they matched up with well. Not to mention if Reid maybe he had a Tom Brady, instead of Don.

    Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying Reid > Billy. I’m just saying there is more than one way to skin a cat.

    If I had to start a team today? Start it from scratch? I’d take Reid all day. Of course that is the homer in me, but I think the likelihood of success would be right about the same. Even more so if Billy started with Don and Reid started with Brady.

  • Vick or Nick

    Reid is a good coach. Certainly good enough to win a superbowl. I
    think where things went wrong are on personnel side. Reid wasn’t a great
    talent evaluator. There were some abysmal drafts in recent years and
    Reid having final say played huge role in those. Hence why in KC he
    didn’t ask for final say in player decisions.

    I realize drafting can be a crapshoot but when your consistently picking Bryan Smiths, Victor Abiamiris, etc. theres something wrong.
    Reid inherited many of his key players the biggest being BDawk in my opinion. Of course he picked some good players too but over 14 year span, I could select a few probowlers too.

    My biggest complaint:
    Go back and take a look at drafts from the 2000s. I have no issue with
    Eagles not getting a player they were never in position to select.
    However, its the players selected after the Eagles picked which raises
    serious questions. As an example, Eagles selected Freddie Mitchell when
    Reggie Wayne, Drew Brees, and Chad Johnson (just as much of a nutcase as
    Freddie but more talented) were available. This isn’t just a one time deal, it happened over and over under Reid’s tenure.

    • holeplug

      why would the eagles draft drew brees in the 1st round when they had McNabb who just led them to 11 wins and a playoff berth?

      • Tumtum

        Like you said the draft is a crap shoot. I get your point though. I’d say its more of the organization’s trait values that were flawed in his tenure. If-so-factso Reid’s player values. Maybe more on defense than offense though. The guy devalued WRs but he always fielded a solid offense talent wise.

  • JB in P-Town

    I think that Kelly has balanced the pursuit of football perfection with having a personality and having fun at the same time. He flat out loves football and would be doing this for a fraction of the salary. I think he is going to re-awaken some of the drive/energy that can get lost in some NFL vets. Can’t wait to see this team (offense, not so sure I want to watch the other side too much) when the vanilla preseason shackles are removed. I think this team is going to come alive over the next 1-2 years while the team is rebuilt to suit his schemes. I also think that McCoy/Brown/Polk won the lottery when Chip was hired. Would it be so crazy to think that this team averages around 250 yards on the ground between QB options/scrambles, dedication to ground game and WR runs? Oregon averaged 315 yards on the ground…with a much lesser O-line and RB talent.

    • holeplug

      They won’t come close to 250 yards a game. Washington led the league last year at 165 yards/game.

      • Anders

        I do think we could challenge the single season rushing record, that is at 197 yards per game, but it will require us to have a lot of early big leads in the 3rd quarter so that we just run out the clock

      • JB in P-Town

        While I agree it’s above NFL norms, this has largely been a passing league for years. With teams built to stop the pass, not the run, I think Chip is going to be picking on quite a few teams running the ball, especially in the latter parts of the game when defenses are getting tired. Oregon consistently had huge runs during the 4th quarter when teams were tired and sloppy on gap assignments.

        Lets play a game with the Redskins/Eagles players and you pick…Morris or McCoy, Brown or Helu, Royster or Polk and RGIII or Vick I would say that’s 4-0 for Eagles. The offensive line isn’t even close either. The Redskins are starting Williams, Lichtensteiger, Montgomery, Chester and Polumbus. Can you honestly say that any of those five could beat our the starting line of Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Herremans and Johnson? Williams is a good tackle but isn’t better than Peters. I will also take Chip’s offense over Shannahan’s due to the big plays in the running game. I am also counting on some big wide receiver runs as well to pad those stats.

        • Maggie

          You’re right about having been a passing league for some years, especially with the West Coast Offense. But these things go around in circles and I have been hearing commentators who I respect talking more and more about the running game lately. Maybe Adrian Petersen and the popularity of the read-option are having a real influence.

      • JB in P-Town

        Hey there holeplug…263 rushing yards in the Eagles first game. Guess I wasn’t so crazy.

  • Maggie

    Just a couple of quick points. I watch the Eagles from a distance and whether they win, which is great, or lose, which is yuck, neither affects the size of my ego or some body part. Lol. Anyway, the last couple of years of Reid’s tenure, he made so many “poor decisions” in so many areas of the team’s concerns, even though he is not M. Vick, that the team fell apart. Assistant coaches openly mocked their colleagues, a known drug-dealing felon was allowed into the training room, the play-calling went down the toilet, and some players just gave up in frustration. The second point is that Chip is not innovating the waving of tall objects in the QB’s face. Chuck Noll was doing it 40 years ago. And we know how that turned out. 4 Superbowls in 6 years! Lol. Sorry for the poor sentence structure.

  • planetx1971

    If I remember correctly most of the Tuna’s players along with a BUNCH of other coaches, their players couldn’t stand them. Till the wins & championships started to pile up….. if it happened to turn out that way, I , along with the players I would guess, will take it! :)

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    Not everyone has the ability to appreciate a boss like BB. Nick Saban always appreciated the chance to work for him. Nick has been called the devil himself by former assistants, but in response he shrugged and said he always tried to do the best for those who worked for him, which I believe. The best boss I ever had was like that, who made me what I am today.

  • P_P_K

    AR may be a nice guy and BB may be a jerk, but I think the difference in their success has little to do with personality. I live in New England so I’m fairly familiar with the Pats success and, to my chagrin, and I have to admit BB is a great coach. I’d argue the quality that separates him from AR is that BB is a great gameday coach.

  • eagleyankfan

    BB — I’m probably the minority here — but — Parcels is put on such a high pedestal. I think HE was a jerk. I never liked him. I always wondered what he did in his career that made people think how great he was. Oh, that’s right, he won 2 SB’s. Just a reminder, he won those 2 SB’s with defense. Who was in charge of those “D’s”? BB. In fact, Parcels never won a SB without him. BB made Parcels. I wonder if Coughlin is going into the HOF. He won as many SB as Parcels – and he did it without the great BB.

    • P_P_K

      I hate to admit but I didn’t remember that BB was the dc under Parcells. BB must be running out of fingers to wear all his rings.

      Coughlin probably will end up in the Hall, 2 sb wins is likely reason enough. Life is so unfair.

  • eagleyankfan

    DJ — returning punts. I like it. So why wasn’t he returning punts the last couple of years? AR or DJ decision? Who decision was it for him to return punts this year? CK or DJ?

    • P_P_K

      I like it a lot. The stated reason DJ wasn’t returning punts was for fear of injury. I’ve always argued the guy is such a great returner the risk, such as it is, is worthwhile. I also wonder if he avoided returning during his contract year.