In the previous comments section, reader AC Viking brought up the question of how Chip Kelly could talk about “self governance” when Kelly is just like every other coach in the sense that he wants things done his way. Chip is in charge of the Eagles world and the players do what he wants.
This is a fair question to bring up.
There is no disputing that Kelly is going to do things his way. However, Kelly is more open-minded than most coaches. He seeks out different ways to do things. Kelly loves to understand how and why something works. He isn’t a believer in taking things for granted. Kelly is willing to listen to other coaches (college and pro), his assistants and even his own players. Kelly doesn’t see himself as the guru of all gurus. He’s smart enough to know when to borrow ideas from others.
While Kelly does have definitive ideas on what he wants, he’s not going to micro-manage his players. One of the reasons Kelly wants high character players is that he needs guys that are coachable and trustworthy. He doesn’t want to have to waste his time preaching over and over about “do this” or “do that”. Kelly wants players who will listen and take it upon themselves to do what is right. This is what he’s talking about with self-governance.
Would you rather work in an office where the boss asks you questions about your assignments every day or would you rather work in an office where your boss tells you what you need to do and then trusts you to get it done? All bosses are going to check on you a certain amount, but some can be stifling as they ask for updates and nag you for constant info. You feel like someone is always looking over your shoulder.
Trust is huge. People who are trusted tend to reward those they work for, assuming the person is of the high character variety. With the trust comes some responsibility. Some people like that and thrive in that environment.
Kelly isn’t an overbearing boss like some coaches. We think of Greg Schiano and the strange stories that came from Tampa. Tom Coughlin and his “be 5-minutes early” thing is very odd. Kelly wants players to come to Philly, figure out how things work and then embrace the culture. The players then push themselves and each other. The coaches can focus more on coaching and don’t have to nag players about every little detail.
This idea isn’t perfect and we don’t know exactly how it will work, but I like the fact that Kelly is trying the approach. Rather that using emotional gimmicks to motivate his players, Kelly is trying to appeal to them logically. Here’s what we do. Here is why we do it. These are the tangible benefits of our systems. You can have personal success. We can have team success.
That is sustainable. Ray Rhodes and his “Pretend a man is holding a gun to your wife’s head” speeches could only get players so far. At some point, emotion isn’t enough. That’s too inconsistent.
What Kelly is doing seems to be an extension of Bill Walsh’s coaching style. Appeal to smart people by being honest and logical with them. Kelly just takes it the extra step with his willingness to explain why everything is done a certain way, as well as his willingness to make changes if he sees a better way to do something.
The NovaCare is Chip Kelly’s world, but the players do have a lot of freedom within it.
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The practice notes from Thursday weren’t as compelling as the other days. Here are the key links.