Loving the Chippah

Posted: August 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 41 Comments »

Last year Chip Kelly was a mystery. No one knew for sure how the genius from Oregon would translate to the NFL. His supporters thought he could be an updated version of Jimmy Johnson. His detractors thought he would be Steve Spurrier 2.0. Was there anything sillier than Dan Graziano thinking that Kelly would be the first of the NFC East coaches to go? Shanny already got dumped. Garrett and Coughlin both are a losing record away from getting a pink slip. What a difference a year makes.

After a terrific 2013 season, the Chip Kelly bandwagon is overflowing. His critics are few and far between. Greg Bedard recently visited Eagles Training Camp for MMQB.com. He had plenty of praise for the Eagles, but this passage focused on Kelly.

Kelly runs, by far, the most efficient practice in all of football. There is no wasted time on the field. I mean, why have guys standing around and watching when you do team drills side by side on the same field? And he’s also just smart. At one point, the offensive starters lined up against the entire defensive unit. At every defensive position, the four-deep roster was lined up, one behind the other at each position. As the offense was shifting and motioning, the defensive players went through their checks and calls. Each side of the ball only took a few steps into the play, but that’s the most important split second. By having the four-deep defense on the field, the less experienced players could mirror and learn from the players in front of them. That’s just smart. And it’s so simple. That’s the genius of Chip Kelly.

A lot of so-called football geniuses try to re-invent the wheel. Chip just looks for a way to improve the wheel. Keep things simple, but improve them when and where you can.

Bedard likes the Eagles, but gives a fair assessment.

They’re a definite contender because of the improvement on the defensive side of the ball during the second half of last season, but are they good enough to compete with the NFC’s elite? I have serious questions about that. I think the Eagles are a peg below Seattle, San Francisco, Green Bay and New Orleans, but after seeing Washington on Thursday, there’s no doubt the Eagles are the class of the NFC East. To do better than that, Philadelphia needs to show they can match the physicality of the elite. Not sure they’re ready to do that quite yet.

I still think this team is a year away, but I hope they prove me wrong.

* * * * *

Urban Meyer spent time with Chip Kelly after he left Florida. Meyer is an innovator, but he’s smart enough to know that you need to steal some ideas as well as coming up with your own. I’ve heard Meyer talk about how much he learned from Kelly. These tweets also are pretty impressive.

High praise, indeed.

* * * * *

The thing that really blows me away is how quickly Chip has created a distinct football culture and how the players have bought into that.

Evan Mathis would like his contract to change. He thinks he is worth more money. But he didn’t hold out.

“I didn’t want to have a negative impact on the team,” he said. “I didn’t want to send the wrong message to players, coaches, fans. I think I’m doing the right thing.”

Does that sound like a typical NFL player on a typical team?

No matter what you think of DeSean Jackson as a WR, I think we can all agree that he wasn’t the ideal fit for Kelly’s culture. Chip could have tried to make that work, but instead chose to move on. As much as you may hate the move, that’s part of the reason Lurie hired Chip. He wanted a coach that would have a specific vision for the team and who wouldn’t be afraid to make bold decisions as he built the team.

Kelly is filling the roster with his kind of guys. We don’t know how this will work, but I really like the fact there isn’t a lot of compromise. Kelly believes in his vision. He saw it work at New Hampshire and at Oregon.

BUT THIS IS THE NFL!!!

Chip would tell you that football is football. The circumstances change, but the game is still the game. I think he’s underselling the amount of change a bit, but I like his overall point. If you start compromising your vision, it is no longer your vision, but rather a bizarre version of it.

If you are in a lab and trying to make a drug, you can’t just substitute chemicals and expect the same results. You will alter what you make by what you put into it. Kelly needs his guys to make his vision work.

Kelly isn’t unreasonable in regard to what he wants from players. And he does seem open to giving players time to buy in. He’s not like some egotistical maniac who rants about his ideas all the time and makes hair trigger decisions. While Kelly has definitive ideas, he has an open mind and will listen to others. He wants player to want to buy in. He’s not going to bully guys with relentless “my way or the highway” speeches.

Kelly talked to Justin Peelle about what NFL players would and wouldn’t accept before he met with the team. Kelly’s not oblivious to the fact he’s dealing with 53 grown men. To this point, he’s managed to sell his ideas well and even the rookies seem like Chip guys. Jordan Matthews is the most anti-diva WR (early pick) that we’ve seen in a while. New guys like Chris Maragos and Malcolm Jenkins seem like ideal fits for the Kelly culture.

At the end of a season, Kelly seems to know which current players are part of the program and which ones doesn’t fit. It is pretty amazing that he’s been able to find players in the draft and free agency who fit so well right off the bat. Chip seems to have good people skills. He can tell who should fit and who shouldn’t.

I think part of the magic with Chip is that he’s genuine. His coaches like him. His players like him. Chip interacts with fans and the media and comes across like a real person. That makes it easier to buy in to his ideas. He’s not trying to sell you on how smart he is. He’s all about results What gets us the best results?

There is no agenda to show the world that his ways work. Chip’s agenda is to build a great football team and win titles.

I almost wish I could fast forward time to see how all of this turns out, but that would ruin what could be a remarkable ride. I”m buying all in to Chip’s ideas and I can’t wait to see what the next few years hold. Don’t obsess on the destination. Enjoy the journey as well.


  • Neill Stark

    I am all aboard the Chippah train. When Tommy started talking about how he would love to see Chip Kelly land here I was right there with him. I live in Washington State and Oregon football is huge up here. I knew there was a chance for failure, but I also felt a chance for greatness. After Andy Reid, I wanted a chance at greatness again. The last season was one of the most fun I have had as an Eagles fan, and I have been a fan for over 30 years. All Aboard!!!

  • Anders

    Just look at the FA signings, while not all worked out, guys like Barwin and Williams last year and Jenkins and Carroll this year really seems to work and fit this team.
    I know its just TC, but it really seems we struck gold with Jenkins in terms of fit for defense and how well he fits. I wouldnt be surprised if Jenkins have at least 4 ints and couple of sacks and Carroll seems well on his way to unseat Fletcher.

    • NinjaP

      Fletcher is better than Cary.

      • GEAGLE

        Nope.. Cary is so under rated in this city it’s ashame

      • Anders

        Yes and no. Cary is more up and down, but when he is on, he is up there with the best CBs in the NFL, he also has the ability to stay healthy which to Kelly is a skills.

        • GEAGLE

          Also it was HUGE that he was so intent on getting our young players to play with some nastiness that we had been lacking

      • Nicodemus_09

        I dunno. Cary shut down some pretty huge names last season & made some key plays. (Stopping that 2 pt. conversion was a ting of beauty)Fletcher was hurt a lot & I think Cary is in a situation where unfortunately he gets a lot of unfair blame & very little credit for the good stuff he does. Patrick Peterson he’s not, but I think he’s significantly better than he gets credit for.

        • NinjaP

          I didn’t say Cary was bad. I just think a healthy Fletcher is a better player.

    • GEAGLE

      Jenkins will be HUGE for this team. Secondary IMO will be our most improved unit…
      ..l
      Thinking Bradley,Cary and Nolan will all see snaps every game…
      Carroll also can be our dime corner, which I assume we will use often during 3rd and Long…
      ..
      I still would expect Cary and Brad to start the season on the outside, with Nolan playing in Dime, and rotating in with Cary and Brad on the outside

      • A_T_G

        It was nice to see the FO made the secondary a primary concern, instead of a tertiary one.

        • CTAZPA

          clever

    • anon

      Reality is that our current WRs aren’t as good as the competition that our DBs will face in the season when they’re playing guys like Jackson, Cruz, Garcon, Witten, Bryant, etc.

      • D3FB

        Our individual players may not be as dynamic as some of the guys they will play this year, but as a receiving unit, they’re right up there. The only teams I would say are better receiving units would be Washington, San Fran, and Arizona.
        I would allow you to argue, Houston, Green Bay, and Dallas because they have decent front end guys but would disagree because they have no depth.

        • anon

          What about ATL (assuming Julio), DEN, CHI (or we just talking about people that we play this year).

          • D3FB

            I was only looking at opponents.

  • phillychuck

    Thought this was worth repeating (and applies much more broadly than just to football):

    Don’t obsess on the destination. Enjoy the journey as well.

  • GEAGLE

    LOL,cowgirls sent 2014 playoff tickets to their season ticket holders.. Bwahaha
    ..
    How did jerry jones get his hands on Eagles pllayoff Tix already? They can’t possibly be cowboy playoff Tixs, unless jerry jones is trying to rival Rueban Amaro for most delusional and Incompetant award..

  • GEAGLE

    Chips practices do two things:
    1) make us the most well conditioned team in football, and it’s not even close
    ..
    2) mentally his practices are taxing. For a defense to get lined up so fast with loud music that doesn’t allow you to verbally communicate every single day, it’s such good mental training. It sharpens our decision making, helps us diagnose presnap quicker…you can mentally handle chips practice pace and not make mistakes, playing defense against teams that huddle should be much easier…no team will be better trained to go into Seattle and execute in that loud chaotic environment….we get to slap them around in philly this year! and hopefully we win a playoff game so we can see what this 12 man is all about

    Physically and mentally, we are pushing our players more than any other team, and eventually it will be second nature for our players, and that’s when the NFL really needs to look out..

    Kendricks also says he judged the effects of sports science on how he felt at training camp, not how he felt at the end of the season… He said last years camp were extremely difficult physically, and his body was so sore and tired during camp, after only a few months during OTA of Chip unsullied warrior training..he is amazed at how good he feels during camp this year and credits it to the sports science training…

    • anon

      ehhhhh – we’ll see. I wonder if it’s bad that Jenkins might be our best cover guy and he’s a safety.

      • BreakinAnklez

        He was a CB in HS, college, and first couple seasons in NFL…

  • Tumtum

    **Quick note***

    Tommy is churning out some freaking great stuff. May it be passing along what everyone (worth hearing) is saying with eyes on practice, and breaking it down with his thoughts, or blessing us with gems like this.

    You know he is working his ass off. If you, like me, haven’t donated in a while I encourage you to consider it. I will be this weekend, would now…. but its 5:30 and I have to sprint for the exit of this working environment I am in.

    • anon

      Guess you have to decide if you’re going to continue reading other guys or just wait and get all of your news here. I understand it’s just a fact of life of not being in philly (like most of us).

      I do think, aside from chipwagon who does something totally different, Tommy has the best articles.

  • GEAGLE

    Anyone remember the.rules of our joint practice with the Patriots? Were we tackling against them, or continue to just “Thud” not taking anyone to the ground?
    ..
    Crazy how different our camp is considering to the old boys club coaches like Andy and Marvin Lewis who starts off camp with Oklahoma drill. Do the eagles ever do that drill? The physical nature of Andy Reid’s Lehigh camps probably didn’t leave players bodies feeling too good in December….having a DC who can improve our tackling with letting us beat on each other’s bodies is HUGE!!

    • Anders

      The Eagles under Andy never did the Oklahoma drill

    • CTAZPA

      Andy Reid’s teams were great in December.

    • anon

      I don’t think that drill has hurt Cinci’s D over the last couple of drills, i think that’s mostly big red’s arm. That team is dead now — we’ll see how good of a coach Lewis is. I actually think Owner’s are happy the coords left so they could evaluate the coach.

  • Cafone

    For those of us that go to the games, it will be a lot easier to enjoy the journey if it doesn’t start off with another 4 game home losing streak.

  • Anthony Hart

    If anyone wants to have a laugh at all of the ‘hot takes’ about Chip from last year they’re all in one magical place: http://southernphilly.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/college-boy/

  • Always Hopeful

    The point about enjoying the journey is so true. I want Super Bowl wins like we all do. But I won’t trade my memories of joy and heartbreak while following this team from the Vermiel days ’til now.

    Kelly seems like the type of coach who can get it done, yet the journey (as Tommy noted) seems special already.

    Living in Washington state, I saw my share of Oregon football but never knew the full view of whst Kelly was accomplishing . His approach is good for football. I know we’re Eagles fans, but we’re also football fans. We’ve witnessed opponents having coaches that built championship teams within our division. It’s nice to have sense that WE have a coach like that here again.

  • A_T_G

    Another great article, Tommy. I thought you put together some great observations. There were two things with which I didn’t agree, however:

    “Dan Graziano thinking that Kelly would be the first of the NFC East coaches to go… What a difference a year makes.”

    Not so much; most people realized he was an idiot seeking attention when he made the statement.

    “If you are in a lab and trying to make a drug, you can’t just substitute chemicals and expect the same results.”

    Is this about the smoothies? We do Knott want to go down that Lane.

    • Baloophi

      “We do Knott want to go down that Lane.”

      Yowza. Love it.

  • P_P_K

    “The thing that really blows me away is how quickly Chip has created a distinct football culture and how the players have bought into that.”

    I feel like an idiot now, but I initially didn’t like the Chip hire. I didn’t think it would be possible for him to transplant his football philosophy and passion from college to the NFL. I was wrong, dead wrong. The man is a true leader.

    • OregonDucker

      Make no mistake P_P_K, it’s Chip’s Kool Aid elixir. Tommy’s drinking every day, so are the rest of us. In Oregon, it’s organic not sure what you guys have available.

      • D3FB

        Our Kool-Aid is “Schuylkill Punch” flavored. Basically the complete opposite of organic.

        • ICDogg

          Caution: contains lead

          • SteveH

            and raw sewage. It’s not one of Kool-aid’s better flavors.

      • P_P_K

        Bartender, pour me a double of that Chip Aid.

  • ICDogg

    Just saw the pictures of the Paul George injury and it looks pretty nasty but it might not be as horrible as it appears. Depends mostly on whether there is nerve damage. If not, they’ll bolt it together with plates and screws and clamps and it will heal just fine, like my arm did years ago when it was broken in a similarly grotesque manner to his leg. (All of the hardware bolting my arm together is still there to this day, and other than some large Frankenstein scars, it healed as good as new.)

    • anon

      haha yeah but problem is tons of players have pulled of USA team prior for injury, now there’s no way, as a player, that i’d want to play for free if it could mess up my $$ in the future.

      my prayers to PG. I’m a wiz fan so hopefully means we’re going to the eastern conference finals.

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  • xmbk

    Great advice.