Chip, Chip, Chip

Posted: July 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 77 Comments »

I have written about the Eagles in one form or another since 2003. That is 10 seasons of Andy Reid and one of Chip Kelly. Oddly, it feels like I have written as many stories about Kelly as I ever did about Reid. Big Red was a terrific coach, but Chip is something completely different. Is visionary too strong a word?

Kelly has impacted the game of football at the high school, college and pro levels. I’m not saying he belongs in the same breath as Paul Brown, Bill Walsh or Clark Shaughnessy. They became legends because their ideas have stood the test of time. We’re still living in the moment with Kelly and his impact on the game.

One of the things that makes Kelly unique is that he’s not just X’s and O’s. He is a big picture guy. Kelly goes beyond scheme and talent. You can win titles at USC and Texas by recruiting great players and then keeping them organized and motivated. That might be oversimplifying things a bit, but the point is that talent is the key at schools like that. Bill Snyder built Kansas State into a power by getting some talented players to come there, but also by getting other players to overachieve. Kelly did a similar thing at Oregon. He had good talent to work with, but far more 3-star recruits than 5-star recruits. Kelly coached up his players so that they could compete with and beat teams that were loaded with the 5-star players.

A slew of articles came out on Sunday about Kelly and some of his ideas about how to coach players and develop a team. First up, Jeff McLane.

As much as Chip Kelly requires his players to run on the practice fields behind the NovaCare Complex, the Eagles coach demands they keep off the front lawn.

The grass that greets visitors to the team’s practice facility – finely manicured every Monday – is lined with walkways. But the shortest path between the Eagles’ indoor bubble and the nearest entrance to the locker room is not.

When Andy Reid was coach, the players simply went from A to B, trudging atop the lawn in the interest of time. Kelly may do nearly everything at supersonic speed, but he doesn’t believe in cutting corners.

So when the leftovers from the Reid regime did what they had always done – and, frankly, some of the new players took the shortcut as well – Kelly would bark his order to stay off the grass.

It took some repeating in his first year, but now the Eagles march in order along the pathways. Kelly’s rule might be the most minor of changes he made in Year 1, but sometimes the smallest detail can paint the entire picture.

“It goes back to, he cares about the whole thing,” Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin said. “I love it because [you should] show respect, walk on the sidewalks. Don’t walk all over the grass.

“You would never think a head football coach wastes his time spending that moment to discipline. But he does.”

Kelly’s schemes may have received the bulk of credit for the Eagles’ turnaround in 2013, but greater attention should be focused on an ongoing culture shift that starts with – simplistic as it sounds – finding good people who do the right things.

I’m sure more than a few people will find this completely ridiculous. Who cares if players walk on the sidewalk or the grass? Kelly does. Walking on grass isn’t going to win/lose games, but finding players who will buy in to the coach’s ideas absolutely makes a difference. Get enough players to do the right thing and to pay attention to simple details and you can build the right kind of team.

Kelly’s keep-off-the-grass rule dates back to Oregon. The “why,” according to Eagles rookie and former Ducks receiver Josh Huff, is “don’t take any shortcuts in life, and always do the right thing even though the wrong thing might get you to the door quicker.”

“What you try to get across to guys is you have to think about things,” said Eagles defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro, who also worked with Kelly at Oregon. “Maybe you’re not going to think about it as deeply and say somebody mowed that lawn, somebody spent hours preparing that thing, but I think as you’re around really good people, good people don’t do that.

“They clean up after themselves. They just try to do the right thing as much as they can. And no one needs to be looking. You just try to do the right thing.”

There is a great scene in “The Paper” where Marisa Tomei confronts Michael Keaton about what kind of a husband/father he is. She asks him if he would run into a burning building for his family. He answers that of course he would. She then points out that life doesn’t present tests like that. You prove what kind of a person you are by all the little tests you face. Like not walking on the grass.

The players seem to get this.

“He is a demanding coach,” center Jason Kelce said. “He’s likable from the player’s perspective, but at the same time, you know what’s expected of you. If you don’t do what’s expected of you, then you’re going to be on your way out. He’s made it very clear that he’s not going to tolerate certain things.”

And

Uniforms should be worn uniformly to reflect a team-as-one mentality. So when a player wears black socks rather than the white ones the rest of the team wears, it suggests to Kelly that player wishes to stand apart.

“I just think it has to do with the entire culture,” Kelce said. “Everyone is expected to buy in and follow the team’s culture and expectations. I really don’t think he cares at all about what color socks guys are wearing. He probably just wants us to be in uniform and look like a team.”

Be a team. Be 53 players working in the same direction, with the same goal.

“The more people get along and share the same vision and aspirations, the more you’re going to get to where you want to get to,” Kelly said. “If you have people who have different agendas in terms of what they’re trying to get accomplished, that’s not going to help the cause.”

Great piece by McLane. Go read the whole thing.

* * * * *

Sheil Kapadia also wrote about Kelly and some of his ideas.

With Year 2 on the horizon, Kelly met with a roomful of reporters at the end of June’s’ minicamp and expanded on many of his philosophies. One topic that came up was his presence, which is felt throughout the NovaCare Complex. While some coaches believe in allowing the locker room to be a players-only sanctuary, Kelly prefers a different approach.

“I’ve never agreed with that,” he said. “We’re all Philadelphia Eagles, so there’s no place that’s [sacred or] not sacred or you’re not allowed to go. And I think sometimes in certain times, that’s where problems occur in the locker room, because coaches aren’t in the locker room enough. I think you shouldn’t have to worry about, ‘Well the coaches are here, we have to act any differently in the locker room.’ They should be able to behave the way we were all taught to behave: to be a good person, to be a good teammate, to be a good neighbor. That’s just part of the deal. Just like if I had my way – there’s obviously I think fire codes to it – there should be no doors on anything because you shouldn’t have to worry about what’s going on behind closed doors if you’re doing things the right way.”

Asked about whether he’s made any changes in the aftermath of the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin situation in Miami, Kelly added: “No. We did that before. We were always in the locker room as coaches since I got here. As I said earlier, I don’’t believe you need to have any doors on anything. We eliminated the door in the back room [from the locker room to the lounge]. There should be no closed doors in terms of how you do it. We’’re just continuing to emphasize what we emphasized a year ago. We don’’t have any rookie shows, never have done that stuff. We just try to be a good person. That’’s what we’re trying to get, a bunch of guys who are good people.”

A lot of teams break down into cliques. The defense hangs out together. The offense too. Within those groups, positions become a sub-group. Sometimes this leads to good-natured fun. Maybe the OL pick on the WRs for dropping passes. But this kind of fragmenting can be problematic when things go bad. Suddenly the blame game begins and the laughing stops. Buddy Ryan loved his defensive players and treated them better than their offensive counterparts. As much as I love Buddy, that was just plain dumb. You don’t build a team like that.

Kelly rearranged the locker room upon arrival in Philly. He didn’t want a bunch of cliques. He wanted players to mix with other positions and groups. Kelly wanted a team. This also extended to rookies. Kelly didn’t want any hazing. He mentioned in the quote not even doing rookie shows. This is when rookies get up and perform skits or entertaining acts for the whole team. They often make fun of veteran players and coaches. It may seem harmless, but still makes the rookies feel very different.

Kelly wants one group.

* * * * *

Ed Kracz wrote about Kelly and the military.

Kelly isn’t just drawing ideas from the sports world far and wide, but from the military, too. Particularly the Navy SEALS.

He mentioned that one of his three brothers served in the military, about visiting troops in Kuwait, Iraq and Bahrain on a sort of USO type of trip.

“I had a chance to sit with a guy in the military when I was coming back from a recruiting trip (while at Oregon), and he was actually going to see a young man who had lost his life in Afghanistan,” Kelly said. “He was going to the funeral that I had actually gotten invited to but had said I couldn’t go because I was going to be away recruiting. And then I went to the funeral, so I kind of changed our plans to make sure I could go to it. And it just kind of hit home.

“I think sometimes we all get wrapped up in our own individual lives and kind of forget what’s going on because it happens away from you. Obviously everybody was kind of in tune to it during 9/11, but when it doesn’t happen in your own backyard, you kind of forget what’s going on in the foreign countries.”

What he has drawn from spending time with the military, as well as watching them train at Coronado and in Virginia, has more to do with the mental side of the game of football than the physical or conditioning side. And he incorporates that into the way he coaches the Eagles.

“A lot of mental toughness you learn from them, and how they foster that,” he said. “A lot of leadership qualities that they look for. A lot of cooperation within the group. How does the group react in certain situations? Are they always looking for one guy to lead them or are there multiple guys at certain times? When that situation is presented to them, how do they do it?

“You’d be amazed at how many times they train certain individual things before they go off and perform them. They’re pretty meticulous in how they do it. I think how they debrief after missions is an intriguing aspect of what they did right, what they did wrong and how do they improve that the next time they go out?”

I love the fact that Kelly focuses on the mental toughness of the military people/units that he studies. To me, that’s where they are special. Obviously you need to be in good physical shape to be a soldier, but there are plenty of civilians in great shape as well. The military is special when it comes to building/teaching mental and emotional toughness. That is something that can definitely carry over to football.

You need players who can stay focused, even when things are not going well. You need players who are disciplined and will train the right way to be prepared for tough situations. You need players who are confident and fearless, but who also will listen to orders and can function as a unit.

* * * * *

Bob Grotz wrote about Kelly and not being satisfied with the success of 2013.

The biggest difference from last year is attitude. Kelly, at this early juncture, has his players believing they have each other’s backs. There are plenty of players to do the dirty work in this quest to leap from just OK to great.

“You’ve got to make sure that they’re not content being where they are,” Kelly said. “I think if you’re content with 10 wins and winning the division you’re probably shortchanging yourself and the team. We did that. What’s the next step? How can we improve upon that? We’re trying to get a bunch of guys that are never complacent in terms of, ‘All right, we’ve arrived.’ We haven’t arrived. We’re looking to work and strive to get better and better and better. That’s part of the deal. So I think that’s the thing we’re always trying to emphasize with these guys.”

I think one of the things that hurt the Skins was the way they celebrated after winning the division in 2012. They didn’t have a parade, but did just about everything else. Kelly is keeping his players hungry for more. Be proud of the success…for 24 hours. Then move on to the next thing.

Kelly didn’t come here for division titles. He wants to build a great team and win a championship. Last year was a step in the right direction, but nothing more.

* * * * *

I wonder if non-Eagles fans hate the attention that Chip gets. Chip Kelly this, Chip Kelly that.

I love it. Talking about coaches is one of my favorite parts of football.

_


  • Sean

    Just a little thing, but clicks are what you’re looking for on your blog. *Cliques* are small, exclusive social groups within a larger one.

    • TommyLawlor

      Don’t know how I missed that when typing. Weird, but fixed.

      Thanks

      • bill

        It’s weird how easy it is to do things like that while you’re writing for a purpose. I was always a bit of a “grammar cop” when it came to “there” and “their;” after a fair amount of experience going back and re-reading my writing after some time off, I was amazed to see how many times my fingers did the wrong thing even though my brain very clearly (perhaps to the point of unhealthy obsession) knew the correct spelling based on context. I’ve come to a new appreciation of writing: In the end, it’s about communication, and so long as you communicate your meaning, the rest is fluff for OCDs to spend time on. Now, there are exceptions to this rule, where you need to impress your audience with attention to that sort of detail, but I don’t think blogging, and especially football blogging, falls under one of those exceptions. I’m happy to deal with a typo here or there, so long as you focus on the details of the substance of the topic; I’ve yet to have difficulty understanding your meaning, even when you are delving into subjects that are completely new to me.
        And this isn’t meant to be a critique of those, like Sean, who point out typos in a friendly way. Just my newest pet peeve that has replaced my “grammar police” obsession :)

        • Andy124

          Totally agree with you’re enlightened view on blog grammar. Those who get all worked up about it really ought to check there priorities.

          • suthrneagle

            bloggers using then for than !!!

          • Maggie

            ;~).

          • A Roy

            Nice…

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

          I’m happy to deal with a typo here or there, so long as you focus on the details of the substance of the topic;

          pretty sure Chipper would disagree :) accepting poor grammar is like walking on the grass

    • A Roy

      I knew what he meant and felt it was overly critical to bring it up.

  • Dominik

    What’s up with this slew of articles yesterday? Someone mentioned there was a behind the doors talk with Kelly at the end of OTAs. Did they make the rule of not writing about it until a few weeks later? I remember there was something similar to that sometime last year.

    Anyway: I love those articles. I’m not the biggest fan of McLane and normally I love Sheil, but McLanes article is just great. So many interesting details about Chip.

    Overall, I’m with you, Tommy:

    I love it. Talking about coaches is one of my favorite parts of football.

    Maybe that’s why I love your content. ;)

    Let’s just hope, in the near future, there are articles like: “How Kelly build a Super Bowl winning powerhouse”, and like 20 teams are looking for intel of how Kelly works. Then we’ll know for sure we have something special.

  • eagleyankfan

    PFT rankings — interesting to see them list KC and Chargers behind the Eagles(both teams beat them) and Bears/Cards ahead of the Eagles(teams the Eagles beat). I look at the list and at 11 is the Cards and 7 is the Ravens. Neither of those teams scare me. PFT isn’t a list I take seriously but just looking at the teams listed — I do think the Eagles can be a top 8 team. Maybe top 6?

  • ChaosOnion

    From reading these articles, one can surmise how DeSean Jackson DJax’d his way out of Philly. None of it being as nefarious as has been reported while still being valid reasons, as a whole, to part ways.

    * He was satisfied with his level of success from last season and felt he had nothing to prove.
    * As physically gifted as DeSean is, he is not mentally tough. This may have shown itself during losses.
    * I can see Jackson enjoying the “hazing” portion. He probably got a bit of it himself and was disappointed it was taken away once he was on the other side of it
    * .He lost his WR clique.
    * He wore black socks and he walked on the grass.

    • Jernst

      I’d add that he probably didn’t buy into the sleep, rest and recovery portion that is so important to Kelly. I’m sure his sleep monitor showed that he was out all night partying a good amount of the time rather than getting his 10 hours of sleep. And, I’m sure his attention to detail about routes, blocking and other actual football activities on the field was lacking as well. In the end, it depends how you describe football decision, but I don’t think this is lying.

      By the way Elliot Shorr-Parks who wrote the article about DJax and his tenuous connection to a murder suspect, is a total TMZ hack that always writes stupid, attention grabbing, reality TV show type nonsense. I’m so glad he’s not writing for BGN anymore.

      • ChaosOnion

        I did not know ESP had left BGN. That is interesting. I got some heat on other boards saying I did not it was anything more serious than Jackson’s lack of professionalism and buy-in that got him cut. The big contract and other NFL GMs “playing the game” resulted in the Eagles getting nothing for “the player.”

    • Maggie

      Who are you talking about? Some player on the Washington team?

  • Tom33

    I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of the Kelly hire when it happened. I wanted somebody with “NFL experience” and was afraid he was just another big-name college guy who would fail at the pro level.

    3 or 4 games into the regular season last year I was sold. I love the fact that he has a vision for what he believes will translate into success and doesn’t seem to give a sh&t what other people think or say about him. He can explain they “why’s” behind what they do and isn’t afraid to change them if a better idea comes along, but until then you stick to the script. The players and coaches, and even the owner, all seem be on board 100%, and when someone isn’t quite there, they don’t hesitate to make a change.

    I think the first few years of Andy Reid’s tenure were similar, but then they either lost focus or resolve as the years went on. I’m guessing it’s similar with a lot of coaches – Bill B is one of the few that seems to have resisted the urge to take shortcuts as the years went on – perhaps due to the success they had early in his stint in New England.

    I’d take 2 or 3 SB trophies in the next 5 years and see where it goes after that.

    • Formidable

      Re: Bill B not taking shortcuts. I guess you missed that whole spygate thing then? Maybe Bill Walsh would have been a better comparison.

      • Dominik

        Belichick is one of the best at self-evaluation. Just read this article and you know how he scouts his own team:

        http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2012/09/04/rise-tight-ends-came-result/i66DiZ2mKrKocaJUZ0KoPK/story.html

        But the article shows one other thing: you need to have great assistants. When you’re QB coach/OC is Bill O’Brien, your chances of having good input from this assistant position is better than when you have Juan Castillo as your DC.

        A huge part of Belichicks constant success comes from his ability to hire good assistant coaches. Big Red had this ability, but lost it down the way. Then he lost his ability of self-scouting. It’s a chicken-or-egg discussion, but the result was pretty obvious: he wasn’t as good of a HC as he was in his first years.

        When you read about Chip, it seems like self-scouting is one of his strenghts. Let’s hope that’s really the case, because you’ve got to have this personality to be a great HC, imho.

        • Formidable

          My comment had nothing to do with self-scouting or hiring, it was in response to Tom33 saying “Bill B is one of the few that seems to have resisted the urge to take shortcuts as the years went on”. Filming another team’s hand signals during games and their final game walk-through in preparation for the Super Bowl is FAR more egregious than just taking a shortcut. It actually erodes the integrity of the game. If Sean Payton was suspended a season for bountygate, Belichick should have been banned indefinitely and required reinstatement for instituting a spying program in the NFL.

          • Formidable

            Oh and he would have keep going with his shortcut, esp. since it was part of the reason for his early success. I believe the only reason he stopped taking this shortcut is the same reason anyone stops walking on the grass . . . when someone catches you in the act and yells ‘stop filming other teams you cheating jerk!!’

    • Jernst

      Yea, Roseman and Lurie have mentioned a couple times about how in the later years of the Reid era, all those NFCCG losses weighed heavily on them and they started to get the false notion that they were one small piece away from winning a Super Bowl and ultimately got away from the process that built such a strong team in the early 2000s and started looking to make that 1 big splash to get them over the hump. That culminated in the disastrous dream team free agency haul and a complete dismantling of the strong culture that Reid had built early in his tenure.

      • Sb2bowl

        Agreed– the 2011-2012 season provided a unique opportunity to bring in a multitude of veterans for well below (perceived) “market value”– however, the team aspect of building was replaced with acquiring. We all know how that worked out.

        That’s why I sort of like the approach over the last 2 years; bring in solid, “b” level vets on good contracts/salaries, and take your shot during the draft to add talent. Fill in the backend of the roster, thus pushing the front end of the roster to greater heights, and all while fostering a team mentality and growing strategy.

  • Scott J

    What I like best about Chip is how smart he is, but how he keeps things simple. If he talked to his players the way he thinks, their eyes would roll and they would think he was full of himself.

    I also like his press conferences. He’s very interesting and informative. I find him to be very honest. Lets face it, he can’t be totally honest and can’t answer every question. Philly scribes have a way of asking a question over and over and over again until they get the answer they want hear. Kelly’s good at handling that BS.

  • CrackSammich

    These are always the kind of stories that sound great when you’re winning. Then when the wheels fall off, we’ll talk about how much of a tyrant Kelly was, even micromanaging where his players could walk.

    The offseason…

    • P_P_K

      I’m optomistic that in the years ahead we are going to be talking about what a great leader Chip is and how his attention to detail paid off. But, you are right, the guy only has one pro season under his belt and a lot can go haywire in the NFL. Time will tell.
      The offseaon, indeed.

  • bsuperfi

    That walking on the grass thing is BS. The best is how Huff explains it: It’s a lesson not to take any shortcuts in life. Ok, that’s just dumb. First, shortcuts can be a good thing. Second, the grass does not equal “life”. Azzinaro’s explanation is a little less stupid: Do the right thing when no one is looking. But again, it’s a small stretch of grass. And people are walking around it together, when everybody’s looking. Kelly seems a little too into his Kelly-isms sometimes. Maybe a lot.

    But he can get away with it because he is such a good leader. It’s the rare person who can think so systemically and focus on the details at the same time, in addition to getting along with people, being able to distill ideas down to their simple core, and having a great tactical feel for the game.

    I wish he would stop being a caricature of himself every so often.

    • Neil

      Walking on plants compacts the soil and destroys the structure created by microorganisms. How do you think trails form? Plants can’t grow where people walk if enough people walk there. Shortcuts are great but not if you are killing things and damaging some landscaper’s work. And I think that’s a great lesson for life; your actions have a blast radius. Be aware of it.

      • bsuperfi

        Dude, the grass is in our imagination. That’s where it’s greener.

        • Neil

          If you really feel that way, I pity all things that come into contact with you. There’s a real world out there, and you hurt it when you act in disregard of it.

          Sorry to be so harsh, but it’s clearly warranted.

          • bsuperfi

            You should pity me. I felt the urge to make a goofy comment about a goofy comment about a goofy comment about a random rule we’re only talking about because there’s nothing else to do until TC starts and we’re all obsessed with eagles football.

            I should be working on this computer instead. But you know, me and L’il Wayne be Gang Green.

          • Neil

            K, done.

        • SteveH

          This conversation is developing a very ‘Half Baked’ kind of vibe.

        • Dominik
    • mksp

      You think its BS to respect your environment and everyone involved in an organization?

      I guess this is why Chip Kelly is Chip Kelly and you’re commenting on a blog post.

      Also, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

      • bsuperfi

        It seems there needs to be some clarification:

        (1) The grass thing by itself is very small, and we’re only making a big deal about it because there’s little else to talk about right now.

        (2) Clearly some players like Huff are getting meaning from this rule (and others) that’s not quite on target. And Huff’s been hearing this for a while.

        (3) The walking on the grass thing is just such a random thing to be talking about. Sure, it’s one example of a bigger Kelly-at-Work picture. But still, pretty random. Grass and socks. I’m sure there are things Kelly chooses to let slide, but for some reason, grass and socks mean enough to him to make a firm rule.

        (4) Again, it’s the offseason. I guess ranty sarcasm doesn’t come across well in an online setting when people really don’t know each other, but I’ve been joking around. People must chill.

        (5) Chip Kelly is Chip Kelly for a variety of reasons, part of which being that he doesn’t earn his living by sitting in front of his computer most of the day. Is it because he respects the environment? Probably not. Is it because he’s into respecting other people? Probably in part. But mostly, it’s probably because he obsessively lives and breathes football, he’s very smart at certain things, he’s a strong teacher, and he can think both big and small. That’s the funny thing about the grass rule: It reflects what makes Kelly who he is and it’s exactly the kind of random nonsense that we’re talking about right now.

        • Jernst

          Yea, I agree…the grass thing is not about the grass or the environment. The players run around on grass all day long. The issue is that it’s about respect for where you live and where you work and for the organization you respect.

          Having an impressive stretch of finally manicured grass at the entrance to your organization shows respect and deference to greater thing to which you belong. Having it looked trampled and with spots of dirt showing and a poorly formed trail running through it degrades it.

          It’s why people pick up trash in front of their homes in nice areas and don’t graffiti the walls in their own neighborhoods and pull their weeds out and make their area look nice, regardless of how much money they have, and in shitty crime ridden areas, the people don’t seem to do that.

          It seems stupid, but those things have real world effects. If you invite people over to your house and the place is a mess, they are less likely to respect your stuff and leave it clean and undamaged as they would be if they came over and everything is meticulous.

          Malcolm Gladwell wrote extensively about this in his book Tipping Point, where he discusses the crime rate in NYC. After decades of spending millions upon millions of dollars in ever escalating crime enforcement budgets, the city finally decided to have a clean house initiative where instead of focusing on crime enforcement they focused on cleaning the city and making it nicer. They covered up graffiti immediately after it was done. They cleaned the subways and the train cars and made sure they looked nice and graffiti free. They spent extra money on street cleaning and picked up all the trash and garbage. And, all this focus on respecting the area where you live and making it look nice did what millions of dollars in law enforcement couldn’t accomplish. It was those small seemingly unrelated details that led to a dramatic decrease in NYC’s crime rate. People acted write because the place looked nice instead of looking like a shit hole. It’s weird how people work, but I’m glad that Kelly is incorporating this type of thinking into the building of this organization and the culture that surrounds it.

  • mtn_green

    Move the walkway!! Efficiency!

  • eagleyankfan

    Sal Pal — not impressed at all with his comments. Slow down the offense? An offense Chip just spent a year building? IMHO — dumb. I expect better. A lot better.

    • Media Mike

      Sal Pal is a dolt.

  • ACViking

    How you put on your socks is a big deal.

    So thought the legendary John Wooden — with 10 NCAA titles in 12 years and seven in a row. Five of those 10 came without Jabbar and Walton.

    So, yeah, great coaches attend to the little things.

    • bsuperfi

      The other possibility is that some great coaches are OCD control freaks. It’s part of what makes them great. It can also result in over-expansion of rules. I’d bet that what drives some winning practices is focusing on the right details – not every detail that blips on your radar. Having a coach that overextends rules may just be the cost of doing business.

    • Jernst

      Great reference!

    • GEAGLE

      Played on teams where the right socks were a big deal… I used to hate it because I wanted to wear my Marvin the Martian socks :)

      • ACViking

        GE . . .

        Nice anecdote. Very nice.

  • Stacks209

    Love the comparisons to the team and how the military operates! Like not walking on the lawn, or everyone wearing the same gear. It does mean something and keeps people from putting the individual over team.

    I was a Navy hospital corpsman stationed with the Marines and reading this reminded me of those times. I remember once, our division mustered for a 7 mile run at 0500. All of the division was there waiting to form up, and start out on the run. IT WAS COLD! The dress for the day was green sweat shirts and green sweat pants. When a couple of Marines showed up without sweat shirts we ALL had to take our sweat shirts off. So because a couple soldiers were indisciplined we all had to suffer the cold because of them.

    After that run they never did it again!

  • D3FB

    I think one of the biggest things that I’m sure Shaun Huls is implementing, is mental composure while exhausted and mentally fatigued. My dad’s uncle was one of the original Navy SEALs, and would always tell my dad a story about how when the instructors had the young guys dead ass tired, they had been awake for days, their bodies were shutting down, they would ask them questions like

    “How many animals did Moses bring on the Ark?”

    This certainly has applications in football. Think of one of our secondary players, late in the fourth quarter the other team has been in a two minute drill for a couple of drives trying to stage a comeback, and immediately after a long gain, they come running to the ball, the player gets the call, the offense sends a receiver in motion, suddenly all the assignments have changed, the zone blitz from the weak side is off, it has automatically been checked into man coverage with a lone blitzer from the strong side, can the player identify this and execute the play? (By the way the answer: is zero, Moses wasn’t on the ark)

    • Media Mike

      They asked a question about fiction to Navy Seals? That is some tough training!

  • RobNE

    Barnwell has the annual NFL trade value article up (part 1), which I always enjoy but at 50 is Foles and Barnwell says there are two camps of fans, those that think Foles is just in the right place and throws short passes to wide open receivers or the Philly fans who insist he is the second coming.

    This is just lazy. There is nothing in the middle? I actually don’t think I’ve read either of those two extremes, even once. I fear that Simmons’ hatred of Philly has spilled over to the other Grantland writers too.

    McCoy doesn’t get much love either, b/c (per Barnwell) you don’t know if you get the 2012 version or the 2013 version. If only there was some difference between those two years, like a decimated OL and coach who never ran the ball in 2012, compared to 2013 that could give you a clue about which McCoy is the real one.

    • jpate

      Or the 2010 one who had 1000 + yards and 5.2 YPC
      Or the 2011 All-Pro version who had 20TDs…

      That’s just moronic writing on his part.

    • A_T_G

      The real McCoy? Well played.

    • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

      agree. so amazed at the Eagles hate, I tweeted Sheil (cc: barnwell) to send some all-22 film, with bonus Kelce footage.
      I get the RB situation league-wide, but AD and Shady IMO (charles just below) bring unique and extremely rare talent to the position. 3- down backs, pass-block, Shady’s ball skills, and unbelievable/unrivaled combo of vision+agility+acceleration. He’s fairly valued to my eyes, and it just helps having a cheap QB and wizard GM to make the books work.

    • Sean

      Yeah, I hate that kind of straw man juxtaposition. Basically, what he’s saying is that you either agree with him or you’re a raving homer who doesn’t understand football or numbers. It’s more than just lazy, it’s the easy way to make oneself (and those with the same opinion) sound like the only reasonable, intelligent guys in the room, whereas everyone else is ridiculously off-base. In actuality, there are several schools of thought on Foles and the lack of nuance from such a verbose and thorough writer is surprising. I also have an issue with his logic that Foles, having been under the tutelage of two great offensive minds, and his accomplishments should be discounted almost entirely. Not comparing him to Foles, but Joe Montana played for the greatest offensive mind in NFL history, in a system unlike any the league had seen before. That doesn’t make him a lackluster QB, though. I take issue with Barnwell using Foles’s prospect status as evidence against him. Why isn’t the same argument mounted against Russell Wilson, who went just 10 picks earlier? Tom Brady, a 6th rounder, clearly has been nothing more than the beneficiary of the system his entire career and isn’t anything special. How else could a sixth-round college backup have played so well in his career?

    • Anders

      My problem was also he had AP on the list who is soon to be 30 and has a much bigger contract than Shady.

      In general I like Barnwell, except when it comes to the Eagles.

    • Media Mike

      Grantland consistently produces horrifically anti-Philly writing. Some piece of trash New Yorker wrote an article about this year’s summer league basketball teams and didn’t mention Noel once. Some other loser on there wrote a long (and I do mean long) article disagreeing with MCW being the rookie of the year. Trashing Shady is typical of that POS place.

  • Jernst

    “He said in June that he wanted
    “like-minded individuals,”

    “greater attention should be focused on an
    ongoing culture shift that starts with – simplistic as it sounds –
    finding good people who do the right things.”

    “you know what’s expected of you. If you
    don’t do what’s expected of you, then you’re going to be on your way
    out. He’s made it very clear that he’s not going to tolerate certain
    things.”

    “If you have people who have different
    agendas in terms of what they’re trying to get accomplished, that’s not
    going to help the cause.”

    And

    “Barwin spoke of how a number of teammates delayed vacations to attend his charity concert at Union Transfer last month.”

    Hard not to think about DeSean Jackson when reading those comments. I think Kelly is being truthful when he talks about releasing DeSean as a “football decision”. To Kelly, buying in to the process and focusing on doing all the little details is essential to being a great football team and something that no amount of talent can change. So, in essence, even if it was just an overall behavior, off field extracurriculars, failure to buy in to the little details type of thing, that is, ultimately a football problem for Kelly, because it will eventually show up on the field.

    As Kelce pointed out, “sometimes all the little details add up to a big deal”. Which goes back to his tweet where he said he couldn’t be happier with the direction the franchise is going in. Their laying the foundation from top to bottom with this culture change and getting dedicated warriors that are going to all do the little things necessary to succeed.

    Remains to be seen whether relieving themselves of their best and most explosive talent at WR was, ultimately, a good “football decision”, but at this point it’s hard to argue that the Eagles now have a team full of team first guys that are all pulling in the same direction towards a common goal. At the end of the day, I think you’re going to see a more consistent, mentally and physically tough team that extends drives by doing the little things that get you one yard past the first down marker instead of one yard short. Those 2 yards are impossible to quantify on the stat sheet, but often make difference between winning and losing. Sure, there will be less explosive plays without Jackson, but I anticipate that the offense, and the team as a whole, will be improved where it really matters, in the win loss collumn.

  • Jernst

    Malcolm Gladwell wrote extensively about this in his book Tipping Point,
    where he discusses the crime rate in NYC. After decades of spending
    millions upon millions of dollars in ever escalating crime enforcement
    budgets, the city finally decided to have a clean house initiative where
    instead of focusing on crime enforcement they focused on cleaning the
    city and making it nicer.

    They covered up graffiti immediately after it
    was done. They cleaned the subways and the train cars and made sure
    they looked nice and graffiti free. They spent extra money on street
    cleaning and picked up all the trash and garbage.

    And, all this focus
    on respecting the area where you live and making it look nice did what
    millions of dollars in law enforcement couldn’t accomplish. It was
    those small seemingly unrelated details that led to a dramatic decrease
    in NYC’s crime rate.

    People acted write because the place looked nice
    instead of looking like a shit hole. It’s weird how people work, but
    I’m glad that Kelly is incorporating this type of thinking into the
    building of this organization and the culture that surrounds it.

    • CrackSammich

      The good old broken window theory… The crime didn’t go down. They just moved the criminals out of the city through gentrification. There’s a reason cities are getting safer and suburbs are getting worse.

      Desean jokes in 3… 2…

      • Jernst

        haha true, but NYC is only really concerned with NYC’s crime rate. Clean up the broken windows and decent people feel safer and move in and the city benefits. It definitely won’t make hardened criminals start walking a straight line and stop them from mugging and raping people. Those people just need to be removed (DeSean Jackson, while not a hardened criminal or a rapist or anything like that, was not going to be swayed by fixing the organizational broken windows and he needed to be removed then).

        However, the real benefit of the broken window theory is its potential effects on future generations. If you grow up in an area that’s filled with trash, graffiti and broken windows it’s downright hard to respect where you live and I would think easier to be conditioned to live a disrespectful life.

        You’re brought up with respect to a greater entity, whether it be your city or your organization and that has true value and makes you a better person. And, this is the cultural shift happening now at the Novacare complex, that will hopefully be instilled in the rookies so they can pass it down to the next generation.

        I remember way back when I was in college, we were walking through the hallways of the dorms that we all lived in and one of my friends hauled off and spit a huge lugee (sp?) on the floor. And, I remember hitting him and going come on man, and he responded by saying, who cares it’s a dorm. To which I replied, yea but you live here, you should have respect for where you live and take responsibility for keeping it nice. He rolled his eyes and we proceeded to get tanked on cheap beer until we vomited all over the bathroom, but you get my point…respect, class, dignity…all that jazz.

      • Sean Stott

        this 100%. Malcolm Gladwell’s stuff is complete pseudoscience crap.

    • botto

      Gladwell also has a great piece about perofrmance enhancing drugs. very good stuff worth reading.

      http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/09/09/man-and-superman?currentPage=all

      • Jernst

        Hey thanks! I hadn’t seen that article before and that was a really interesting take.

    • Sean Stott
      • Jernst

        How does this disprove the effectiveness and implications of the broken window theory? The article contains plenty of evidence that it is and has been, and I quote, “wildly successful.”

        “When Bratton became commissioner for the first time, in 1994, the city had just finished a year with 2,420 murders. The number last year was just 333.”

        “The strategy provided an immediate payoff.”

        Regardless of this tragic and horrible murder by too obviously malicious and demented members of the NYPD who choked a man to death for selling a few loosies, the idea that cleaning up an area and enforcing small seemingly innocuous infractions like public urination, fixing broken windows, cleaning up graffiti and trash or even making your players respect the place that they work and the organizations image by not trampling the front lawn, can cause a dramatic decrease in real actual crime is something that has been proven many times in real practice.

        Taking anything to this extreme is absurd. And, I’m positive that Gladwell, nor anyone else for that matter, was in any way advocating a police state where its OK to strangle someone to death for a petty crime.

        I fully support Chip Kelly’s desire to instil respect for the image, cleanliness and upkeep of the place you work, and believe that a seemingly small thing like that, while certainly not something that’s going to guarantee a Championship caliber team, can make a meaningful difference in the overall culture of the team.

        That being said, if Chip went outside with a taser gun and shot Barwin in the chest with it and then held it there until his heart flat lined the next time he stepped on the front lawn, I think we’d all be up in arms too. The broken window theory isn’t about murdering people for petty crimes.

  • GEAGLE

    Chip didn’t come here for division titles? Lol good thing McNabb isn’t his QB then lol… “Five will always love you. See those division banners handing up there? We did that!” Bwahahahahahahah

    • anon

      that was the worst speech ever. reminded me of why i was excited when reid let him go.

      • GEAGLE

        Lol basically….

  • GEAGLE

    One of the changes Chip has implemented since bully gate is he made the players stop doing the fine system, where if you miss a tackle, or make whatever mistake, you have to put a certain amount of money in the pot..Barwin talked about how it sucks because he thought it was a good way to build comradrie but chalked it up to post bully gate changes…

  • eagleyankfan

    Add Tony Dungy to the list of people I never need to see or hear from again…

    • Media Mike

      Tony Dungy is a massive piece of religious nut garbage.

  • Sean Stott

    Funny you mention the issue with the uniform uniforms. One thing that bugged me watching the World Cup was how the players all wanted to wear bright colored cleats that did not match their uniform, let alone other teammates.

    • Media Mike

      I don’t think that was an issue with the German team that won.

  • Ben

    Great article Tommy,
    Once again I am amazed by your insight and overall knowledge of the game.
    Having said that, I think one day many years down the road we will look back and say, “Wow, we never really knew how good of a coach he was back then”.
    I do.
    In my sickly demented mind, I see a coach who comes out of the College ranks, and bypasses assistant, coordinator, and is immediately thrown to the wolves as he is given the Head coach position with all the pressures and expectations.
    Then like a bat of hell, he takes the NFL by storm, taking a 4-12 team and transforming them into winners.
    The Eagles go 10-6 and win 7 out of their last 8 games and by way, his rushing attack just happens to be ranked #1.
    He also has to replace his starting QB early in the season and that second string QB goes off for 7 TD’s in one game and goes on to earning himself MVP honors at the Pro-Bowl.
    Oh yeah, and he also has his cleats and uniform on display at the HOF.
    Call me crazy if you want to but I am sold on Chip Kelly. Hook, line and sinker.
    He has more than proved himself in my eyes and if he can coach any better, then the teams we face this season should be very worried.