A Year With The Chippah

Posted: January 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 75 Comments »

Today is the one year anniversary of Chip Kelly becoming the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. And what a glorious year it has been. Let’s review what happened.

* Chip led the Eagles to a 10-6 record and the NFC East title.

* He turned Shady McCoy into the best RB in the NFL.

* He turned Nick Foles into the best QB in the NFL.

* He turned Bill Davis into a solid Defensive Coordinator.

* He taught Nate Allen how to tackle.

* He also healed lepers, fed 5000 people with just a few fish sandwiches and turned water into wine.

I think you can make a strong argument that Chip Kelly is the greatest human being to ever walk the planet (except for Megan Fox and the inventor of Funyuns of course). Chip turned a small rural town like Philly into a football hotbed and thriving metropolis. The only reason Chip hasn’t cured cancer yet is that he’s busy preparing for free agency.

Okay, maybe I’m going a tad overboard with the Chippah hype. Maybe.

Chip Kelly was my number one coaching target last year. Here is what I wrote at the time.

Kelly is a dynamic leader. He has elevated Oregon from a good program to a great program. He is an X’s and O’s guru, but also someone that understands how to run a program and get people to accomplish special things. I think he’s got the kind of forceful personality that the Eagles could use after the final years of the Reid era.

I think too many people are caught up in his offensive scheme and how that would work. Chip is incredibly smart and would find a way to make the Eagles offense work…not his offense. He is incredibly driven and already has the NFL work ethic. There is risk involved with this hire because he has no NFL experience, but that is less important now than in the past. Previously, the NFL influenced college football. In recent years, it is the other way around. The college game is changing pro football. If there was ever a time for someone to go from college to the NFL, this is it.

First and foremost, Kelly has been a dynamic leader. The whole organization just feels different. He didn’t come in like Buddy Ryan, full of swagger and bold promises. He didn’t come in like Andy Reid with his own detailed plan. Kelly came in with some simple philosophies and ideas that he felt could work at the NFL level. There is no 5-year plan. Kelly wants to win now. At the same time, Kelly has essentially forbidden anyone on the team from talking about the Super Bowl. Instead, Kelly preaches “Win the day.” Do that often enough and the Super Bowls will follow.

Kelly hired a veteran coaching staff that designed an offense and defense based upon some primary ideas of his. There is no Chip Kelly offense or Bill Davis defense. There is the Eagles offense and defense. Kelly brought in a training staff that embraces cutting edge technology and unique ideas. Kelly taught the players how to practice and how to train before he even thought about teaching them how to play football.

That may be the real genius of Chip Kelly. He focuses on the fundamentals more than any big time coach I can recall. He’s not going to let the star players “do their thing”. They have to do what he wants and the way he wants it. Mike Vick said Kelly was the first coach to really get on him about the way he carries the football. I find that hard to believe, but at the least Kelly was the first coach who really got through. That means he did it enough or in such a forceful way that Vick actually listened. Kelly got on Shady McCoy for poor decisions he made when running the football. Shady set the Eagles rushing record for a game when he went for 217 yards against the Lions. Kelly was mad that Shady made a poor read on a downfield run and limited a gain to 29 yards when it could have gone for a longer gain, possibly a TD. Instead of kissing his star player’s butt on the best day of his career, Kelly was coaching him up on a mistake. That’s how you push players to greatness.

Kelly has an odd personality. He’s not a fiery, over the top guy who forces  you to follow him. Kelly makes you want to follow him. He’s part salesman and part teacher. One of the big keys is that he’s also a listener. Kelly lets players ask questions. If there is something they don’t like or don’t understand, the players can ask Kelly why things are done that particular way. And he’s got answers. Kelly has studied everything and has a reason behind why he does what he does. He’s naturally inquisitive and has a very open mind.

There have been some ups and downs in Kelly’s transition to the NFL. He failed to call a timeout vs San Diego so that Michael Vick could stay in the game. He also didn’t handle the clock well at the end of that game. There were some missed challenge opportunities. You can question some 4th downs when he did/didn’t go for it. You can question some of his play-calls in those situations.

Mostly, Kelly proved to be ready for the NFL. His offensive ideas worked. The players bought into his training ideas. The team stayed incredibly healthy for the first time in years. Kelly was a good gameday coach. Wasted timeouts became a thing of the past. Kelly showed a good feel for when to be conservative, when to be aggressive and when to be creative.

Maybe the most impressive thing about Kelly is that the Eagles looked like his Oregon teams. Kelly wanted to run the ball. Shady led the league in rushing. The Eagles also led the league in rushing. Kelly loves explosive plays. The Eagles had more explosive plays than any team since the NFL began keeping track of the stat 20 years ago. Kelly hates turnovers. The Eagles had the 4th fewest turnovers in the NFL. Kelly wants his defense to limit points and make plays. The Eagles were way down at 29th in yards allowed, but at 17th in points allowed. They were 3rd in the NFL in takeaways.

Kelly also is a huge believer in having a smart team. He preaches to his players to think. He doesn’t just want it, Kelly pushes it on his players. For the first time in a while, the Eagles were a smart team in 2013.

Kelly was able to get the Eagles to play the way he wanted. Not exactly. Not perfectly. But they played his kind of football. That’s hugely important for a coach. It shows that he’s able to get the team to quickly adapt to his ideas.

You want a coach who has a vision. You then want the coach to be able to make that vision come to life. In this regard, Kelly is off to a great start.

Year One of KellyBall was a lot of fun and proved to be a big success. I can’t wait to see what The Chippah has in store for us in the future.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama decided to celebrate the anniversary by sharing his 15 favorite quotes from The Chippah. Good stuff.

_


  • Sean

    I’ve been thinking for a while that Chip’s greatest success was his ability to replicate a lot of his success from his previous stop. Every year, we see coordinators behind elite (or, in the case of Jay Gruden, above-average) units hired as head coaches. I’d be interested to see the actual percentages on this, but it seems like they rarely match what they did to get them hired in the first place.

    • anon

      I don’t think your first sentence jibes with your third. We went 10-6 in a division with only one team over .500. I wouldn’t call that replicating the success chip had at oregon. Chip is an amazing program builder but it’s hard to really judge until next season where we stand.

      • Lewwyn

        I think it’s closer than you are making it out to be considering the difference in competition between college an the pros. Just because the division was weak doesn’t mean they weren’t NFL teams.

        • OregonDucker

          Chip learned this the hard way in a few games, Viks and Giants come to mind. He will not make the same mistakes again and he will adapt in-game better. Lookout NFL!!

      • Anders

        We had the second best offense in the nfl, I would call that great success

      • Andy124

        Tongue-in-cheek supporting your argument, Chip suffered more losses this year than his entire career as an HC at Oregon.

      • P_P_K

        I agree it will take at least another season to determine where we stand. Considering what we saw in Coach’s very first year, though, it seems we might soon be standing very tall.

      • Michael Winter Cho

        10 wins is pretty good when you started at 4. But Tommy’s article highlighted just how many things, what a great many things, actually went right. Unfortunately (negative take coming), it’s hard to expect all those things to go right again. Getting to 10 wins next year will be a big achievement. More would be amazing.

  • bubqr

    I was on the Chip bandwagon from Day 1. He was a high-variance-outcome coach, in the sense that I felt he could be an huge disaster like a HoFer, whereas a Gus Bradley felt like a safe but slightly uninspiring coach.
    I am absolutely thrilled about the Eagles future now. Call me a dreamer but I have confidence not only that he is good enough to lead us to a SB with Foles, McCoy, etc. but that if that does not happen, he’ll bring us there with their respective successors.
    SBs are won by either having a HoFer QB and some luck, or by having a program, a structure, a vision, a way to do things that makes you a contender year after year, and that’ll make you win the year where everything aligns (injury luck, ball bouncing our way, breakout playoffs by our QB, etc).
    Who knows, we might have both on our hands now. I am so excited.

  • SteveH

    Who isn’t excited to see what the Chippah can accomplish with a year of experience and a full head of steam…

    • Chippah

      I know I am

      • Media Mike

        Nix? Michael Sam?

        • Insomniac

          I would love to see that happen. Sam isn’t big though but he can play.

    • OregonDucker

      Give him a fast, YAC, and big WR, and let the fun begin. He can change an already scary offense into a monster offense.

  • shah8

    This next year? The tinkering on offense is going to be all about integrating more standard plays on offense such that everyone on the unit can switch seamlessly from space game to iso game to needle game. More importantly disguise from Chip! plays to normal plays and vice versa, so defenses that try to guess calls get burnt, and burnt bad. This might be hard, though. Sean Payton has horizontal spread concepts in his offense, and he was really unable to use those spread concepts in the postseason, at least on the road. Payton did,however, manage to switch to a power running game, effective enough for one team. Seattle, even though they can be run on, was just too overwhelmingly good on defense without being able to run the usual offense.

    • Michael Winter Cho

      Why the downvotes? Lame.

      • Finlay Jones

        Because Shah is a total clown. He’s earned every single one of his downvotes

        • TommyLawlor

          Too harsh. Disagree all you want, but shah8 makes good points from time to time. No need to hate on everything the guy says.

          Wouldn’t this place be boring if we all thought alike.

          • Finlay Jones

            I’m yet to see Sha make a good point. I have seen him insult foles and say statistically he had a lot of 3 and outs, then post a link which statistically refuted his own argument.

            He’s the Al Davis of blog commentators, until he can get beyond his obsession with athleticism as the be all/end all of how good a player is, it’s almost impossible for him to make any good points.

          • anon

            Not all of his posts are about foles…

          • Finlay Jones

            I would agree with you and it would make a lot more sense if he just loved vick from highlights or whatever, which causes his irrational hatred of Foles, making it easy to ignore his foles/vick stuff but still engage him rationally about other subjects, but his posts on the ertz/harbour post illustrated his obsession with athleticism runs beyond his love of Vick

          • Michael Winter Cho

            I’m not sure I’ve ever agreed with anything Shah’s wrote, but it really doesn’t hurt to have a devil’s advocate around to shake things up and help us see different points of view. Because after all, who doesn’t like to see wrong points of view?

          • shah8

            You know, beyond the fact that I wasn’t trying to be controversial, and I generally have a lack of interest in trolling (I have books to read, politics to follow, fine tea to drink, etc) aside from obvious humor…

            I am merely highly analytical, and I do not do…”insulting” Foles. The very idea of “insulting” a player brings a WTF expression, and having criticism constitute an insult is doubly so.

            To the sense that I ever had bitterness or condescension, it’s about the Philly love for the underdog. I see pictures of that statue of Rocky, and I think that people need unreality to even love their heroes. Not real athletes like Wilt Chamberlain or Dr. J or Eric Lindross or Allen Iverson, but a fake story athlete, whose call is about beating someone more glamorous and shallow by dint of mere hard work and dedication as if every great athlete since roughly the late 60s haven’t been workaholics most their lives.

            And it’s like…The Real World Isn’t Like That. If Rocky Balboa could challenge the World Heavyweight Champion, Rocky Balboa would be an immensely talented boxer. He wouldn’t be unknown or “humble” or everyman Joe, especially today. He’d be promoted, and everyone online would analyze his full repertoire, his endurance, his feet, with plentiful online videos. Back in the day, even in the ’70s, people who know stuff would have figured him out and had him ready to go, and the whole thing would be the same as what went on before the Thrilla in Manilla, with Ali playing the role of Apollo.

            Talent is talent is talent. You don’t get to make the judgment that someone is untalented when they actually are talented. It’s not your job. It’s not even Tommy’s job as a sportswriter (vents spleen about Biggio). Sport is about running the fastest, jumping the highest, being the guy with the awesome balance, endurance, hand-eye coordination, etc. And the quarterback is not some Pokémon trainer! He’s not some mystical man with mystical qualities. The quarterback is an athlete, just like every other position on the football team. Quarterbacks have to have good arms. They have to be mobile, both to move in the pocket and in scrambling. They have to have real talent. Decision-making is a talent, but it’s not everything, and it’s not mystical either. You don’t have to be a brainiac to win at chess. You have to have a good memory and a good handle on patterns. You don’t have to be a brainiac to make good decisions on the gridiron. You just have to see the field, know what you’re seeing, and trust what you see. It’s a lot harder than what I’ve said in reality, but that’s because the NFL is a very high level, and everything is hard.

            Life is hard, man. We should enjoy the beautiful things, the righteous things, the spontaneous things. I am very much looking forward to the Sea-SF game because that is probably the meaningful championship game, as it usually is, rather than the Super Bowl, and it looks like it will be GREAT. Better if it was the Eagles or Vikings, but I’m just not going to sit there and be resentful.

          • mksp

            Its most likely the condescending surety you have when it comes to Nick’s talent level that rankles many.

            Fans see Nick as a young, intelligent guy with a decent set of tools that is willing to work hard and showed improvement from Year 1 to Year 2.

            Few are truly ready to declare him the “FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK,” but we like the kid and want to see him improve and be the man.

            If you allowed that just *possibly* Nick could gain arm strength, improve his mobility, and that, coupled with his ability to go through progressions, read the field, and demonstrate toughness and leadership, he might be a guy we could win the Super Bowl with….maybe people wouldn’t be so down on your posts.

            But thats your prerogative, I don’t really mind either way. I just hope you can admit you’re wrong when/if Nick improves next year and shows he can fit the ball into some tighter windows, keep plays alive a bit longer and generally be a better QB.

          • Caveman_Bob

            Shah,

            I rarely post but regularly read. I always find your posts interesting… even if I often disagree and at other times just want to disagree with you. This post caught my attention because of the chess and Rocky references…

            Anyway, I suspect you are fundamentally right on the theory that you need the physical ‘tools’ first, and only then you can worry about things like ‘moxy’ (although I very much dislike the word ‘moxy’, which you use to covers things like football intelligence and decision-making).

            However, I think you set the bar too high on what those physical tools need to be. I remember reading how there is normally a minimum IQ that you need for real-world success, but once you get over about 130, your IQ is high enough and other factors are more important than additional IQ points (although I’m sure it’s better to have them than not have them). In your theory, I accept that reasonable minds can differ as to the minimum level of physical tools. However, if there is any position in the NFL where ‘moxy’ is going to be more important, it is the QB position.

            Of course, I also think one of the most important aspects of decision-making is consistency, and the related skill of ‘not screwing things up’. It’s one that I bet coaches and play callers love, and it becomes more fundamental in team sports – think Gus Bradley and the ‘Do Your Job’ mantra. A champion team will beat a team of champions, or so the motto goes.

            Of course, there’s always the nagging thought that the motto was made just to make less talented people feel better.

          • A_T_G

            I agree with this statement completely.

            (See?)

          • Sb2bowl

            No, it wouldn’t…..: wait– I see what you just did Tommy. You got me to agree with you, without me realizing you had changed my mind. Man, that’s some awesome vision friend, it’s like you preformed surgery on me without me having a clue……

      • OregonDucker

        I agree Michael. Normally disagree with shah8, but I do value his perspective and I have even learned a few things about football.

      • A_T_G

        I down voted your comment, but that was just because, on a Friday afternoon, the siren song of an ironic action was just too much to resist.

        I agree, down votes, particularly without a explanatory response are counterproductive to why we all come here.

        • Baloophi

          I, too, heard the piper’s call…

        • Michael Winter Cho

          I ironically upvoted your downvote!

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    Chip:
    Clear vision of what he wants his team to look like = strategic
    Able to impliment his ideas at the NFL level = tactical
    Gets others to want to follow his = leader
    High work ethic = practical
    Yup, hits every single.note for what you want in a coach. Already one of the best coaches in the league, if you were to poll everyone.

  • Mike Roman

    You left out a few of his accomplishments. He also turned wheat into marijuana and sugar into cocaine.

  • Arby1

    Kudo’s to you, Tommy. You did call it and you were right. Good call!

    • Chippah

      Smoothies for everyone!

  • Pingback: The Linc – Year One of Chip Kelly | Sports Feedr

  • barneygoogle

    Interesting story about Dion Jordan and speculation that the Eagles might want to trade for him. Normally, I’d say that makes too much sense for the Eagles to consider it. But with Kelly…I bet he’s at least exploring the possibility.

    • Sokhar20

      Someone has to want Danny Watkins, for him to be a trade chip. And I think the best offer you could hope for would be if the local firehouse offered their dalmatian.

      • P_P_K

        Eagles would have been better off drafting the dog.

    • Maggie

      Miami woudl have to eat too much dead dollars to trade Dion!!! No matter how many rumors or silliness from some Miami writer.

  • P_P_K

    Off topic — did anyone else see Mel Kiper’s mock draft of the Eagles taking Kelvin Benjamin? I hadn’t thought of a pick like Benjamin. Foles should be salivating at this idea.

    • Insomniac

      I had him in my mock draft. Benjamin might not be Megatron but he sure is close to…Brandon Marshall.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m not so sure Benjamin makes sense. Kelly needs RAC guys. I don’t see him as being dangerous with the ball in his hands.

      • Insomniac

        Is that probably why we kept a roster spot for Damaris? That didn’t turn out well at all.

        • TommyLawlor

          He was also expected to be a good RS. And yeah, he didn’t work out. Likely gone next year.

          • SteveH

            I wonder what happened to Damaris. I didn’t expect him to suddenly become a star, but he fell right off a cliff this year. Bizarre. His PR TD last year was brilliant, so its not like he has no ability whatsoever.

        • Anthony Hart

          Ertz has some YAC ability. Avant doesn’t and he was pretty much a non-factor for our offense in the passing game to back up Tommy’s point.

          • Tumtum

            I don’t know, I take issue with Avant being a non-factor. He was just under his career averages and for the first time in a few years didn’t start any games outside. He was the primary WR used in blocking for screens as well.

            For a team that lead the league in rushing I would say he just about met the height of expectations. A playmaker he certainly wasn’t though. Going to be tough to find a playmaker for his spot that can do the other things.

          • Insomniac

            I didn’t say he didn’t have any. I said he’s not good at it. If you watched Ertz play, the only time where he could get a lot of YAC is when he’s wide open. RAC is a different story though. Ertz won’t outrun anyone.

          • Maggie

            Ertz is also a rookie. And had to miss all spring because of NFL/NCAA rules. Not everyone becomes brilliant in their first year.

        • iceberg584

          Or Cooper for that matter.

      • holeplug

        Kinda surprised you think he wouldn’t be a good fit. Big ppl beat up little ppl, matchup nightmare in redzone, teams would have a much harder time putting a safety in the box and shading the deep one towards Desean, Shady would go even more nuts with 6-7 man boxes all day.

        • anon

          our 11 personnel would be crazy.

  • P_P_K

    Props to Tommy and all of you who were psyched about Chip’s hire. I have to admit that this time last year I was pessimistic that he would successfuly make the leap from Oregon to the NFL. Sometimes it feels great to be so wrong.

    • TommyLawlor

      My fascination with Kelly started last year after seeing Jimmy Johnson’s “A Football Life” on NFL Network. Kelly reminded me of him. And that got me intrigued in the middle of our disastrous season.

  • Mike Roman

    Who wants to talk Mock Drafts? I looked at 5 or 6 of them this morning and we got three mocks projecting S, Calvin Pryor. Interestingly enough, one of them has him as the first Safety off the board, ahead of Ha-Ha Clinton Dix.One draft has us taking Darqueze Dennard. Kiper is projecting Kelvin Benjamin.

    WR is interesting to me, but there is a lot of talent in the first round and if the top OLBs and Safeties are off the board, I wouldn’t be opposed. The big, deceptively fast receivers who can create separation and go up for a ball seems to be the new trend.

    • Insomniac

      IMO, Clinton-Dix is the better player as of now. Pryor is probably the better fir for us, Who doesn’t want a safety that’s close to Dawkins? I need to see Dennards measurable at the combine before pulling the trigger on him. I don’t think he’s 5’11 more like 5’10.

    • Mitchell

      Would be happy with both Pryor or Benjamin. Not sold on Dennard as of yet. I think we could take a safety high and then another as a project later on, i.e. Tre Boston.

  • 47_Ronin

    OT: there’s a good article at Grantland on Pete Carroll and his evolution of the 4-3 under defense from his into to it under Monte Kiffin at the Univ. of Arkansas http://grantland.com/features/whos-laughing-now/

    Carroll has a great quote in the middle of the piece regarding Safety play stating, “If you have a million reads for your secondary, you are crazy”
    This made me think of the debacle that was the Eagles defense under Castillo, it makes me wonder if other experienced defensive coaches didn’t outright laugh at what the Eagles were trying to do with their secondary and the wide 9 front. Bill Davis’ statement earlier in season on the wide 9 and Nate Allen was an understatement. So happy we have more level headed coaches now.

    • SteveH

      Too many reads probably results in paralysis by analysis, or maybe literally a situation where no matter what you do someone is going to come open. Hard to make plays when you’re frozen in indecision.

  • Finlay Jones

    The crucial thing is his ability to make the players “buy in”. and it’s one reason I’m not worried about other teams “stealing” our offense as coaches leave. They wont achieve the same level of “buy in” as Kelly does.

    • TommyLawlor

      Good point.

  • ICDogg
    • A_T_G

      Yep. 96 definitely had his hand in the neutral zone.

    • D3FB

      How bout Cam going full Lebron mode?

    • Insomniac

      he tried his best Polamalu impression though.

  • Jeffrey Stover

    All this talk about how Philly will have to play a “first place” schedule is a little misleading. Now I know that every game is important but if my math is correct, with them finishing first it only effects 2 games. And one of those “first place” games should be at home. Call me old fashioned but can a 12% change of your schedule really make it that much harder? Forget the first place scheduling, having to play the NFC west and the panthers (because of their defense) is what will really tell us how good and tough our team really is! That is what I am looking forward to! Well throw in a rodgers led packer team and geez that is a little tougher but the premise remains the same, just 2 “tougher” opponents.

    • laeagle

      Let’s also not forget how many of us were certain that we had a cupcake schedule facing the AFC West this year. Turned out to be a division with 3 playoff teams. I think the strength of schedule stuff is way overrated. You never know what’s going to happen to teams from one year to the next. I’d cite a case in point, but there are just too many to choose from.

      • Insomniac

        Yup. The Falcons and Texans for one. The Saints D for another…Uhh our Eagles too.

  • Jack Waggoner

    School shooting in Philly today dominating the local news. There was a school shooting at my old junior high school in 1971, at which time a kid shot and killed his teacher in retaliation for getting suspended. I guess our school was trend setting in the worst way.

  • ICDogg
  • eagleyankfan

    Great article. Not a fan of the “Chippah” name — sounds too NE’esk. (I hate the whole NE thing – ef Boston!) Pick a nickname for this area…like – Don Chipper — :).
    On Chip — imagine what 2014 will bring ….