One notable event in Thursday’s game was Chip Kelly’s decision to go for 2. The Eagles had just scored a TD. They were down 10-6. You kick the PAT and cut the lead to 10-7.
Instead, the Eagles lined up in the swinging gate. When the Chiefs didn’t have the right defensive set, the players did as instructed and went for the 2-point conversion. It failed.
The general consensus…”Why?”
Jordan Raanan shared this nugget on Twitter.
Lot of 'this isn't college!' RT @The700Level what was the consensus in the press box on Chip going for two? In the crowd is was befuddlement
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) September 20, 2013
If you wanted a conventional coach, we should have hired Mike McCoy or Bruce Arians or Gus Bradley. The Eagles chose Chip Kelly. He’s unconventional. That means taking risks. And sometimes failing.
Chip has to adjust to the NFL, but he cannot stop doing too many of the things that made him successful at Oregon. That would change who he is and what makes him such a good coach. Chip wants to be aggressive. He wants to take chances. He wants to push his players. This will drive them to be better than they would in a conventional setting. You don’t fear failure. You chase success.
Jimmy Bama, arguably the greatest football writer since the Paleolithic Age, did a terrific job of showing that the play failed due to execution. The call was fine. The Eagles had a 6 to 5 advantage on that side. Lane Johnson missed his assignment and that led to Zach Ertz being stopped short. Go read Jimmy’s piece to see visual evidence of why the play should have worked.
It is easy to obsess on whether the play works or fails in a given game. I think that misses the point (pun intended). Chip wants his teams to always be looking for an advantage. Why reward the opponent by kicking the PAT every time? If the Eagles practice the swinging gate well, it should work when run in games. It didn’t on Thursday night, but that doesn’t mean you give up on it.
You need to embrace Chip and his way of doing things or you’re going to be frustrated for the next 3 years. He will run this play a handful of times this year. It will work some. It will fail as well. That’s okay. Chip has to do things his way if his ideas are going to work the way we want them to. You don’t hire a coach like Chip and then ask him to be “normal”.
I’m reminded of a scene from a movie I love, The Buddy Holly Story. Buddy goes to New York and is getting ready to sign a record deal. The label owner mentions the name of the producer that Holly will work with. Buddy stops him cold and says that he’s his own producer. Buddy had worked with a producer in Nashville and it bombed. He will succeed or fail doing things his way.
Chip has to be Chip.