Totally, completely focused on the sport of football…to the point some folks call him a loner. Said to be a football coach who knows no other passion or interest in anything…but winning on the gridiron. And he doesn’t just want to win, he revels in showing his X’s and O’s are bigger and brighter than his counterpart across the field.
How can Philadelphia NOT like Chip Kelly?
Maybe because that kinda describes the coach that was just excused?
Andy Reid was clearly, totally focused on winning football games…with offense…in his way or the highway. He had a vision of what he wanted to do and was stubborn to the end, right or wrong. He didn’t make adjustments…because how could he possibly be wrong? From the middle of his era in Philly on…half the time the scoreboard found him to be just that.
Enter Kelly, the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
All should have an open mind. Nonetheless the announcement of his hire shocked the entire city considering the earlier reports he turned down the Eagles and was staying at Oregon. The elongated, often confusing way the Eagles went about their coaching search had most folks exhausted and wondering just how great a job candidates really thought this opening was. When the news came down he was on board it became one of those moments in the Philadelphia area that we will always remember when and where we heard about it. I was slurping some minestrone soup in a Uno restaurant and literally had to read and re-read the ESPN ticker three times before I actually believed what I was seeing.
Jeff Lurie got his man. The Philly owner took a big, big swing…and fans should at the very least be impressed at the boldness of such a hire. It’s a very big deal for this franchise. High-risk, high-reward.
The reward is if Kelly stays and puts an exciting, winning product on the field.
The risk is if Kelly puts his wheels in motion…and wheels away.
It is of course unfair to automatically lump Chip Kelly’s personal situation into those of other high-profile college coaches who came to the NFL for a cup of coffee before retreating to their established safety net of the collegiate ranks. It is also unfair to assume the low, constant drumbeat of possible sanctions against Oregon helped Chip decide it was time to relocate. Heaven knows with all the NCAA rules out there these days every school is one false move away from issues. Penalties are one day away for all.
Then again, Kelly knows for a fact whether he stays in Philly for a week, a year or a decade…he has a big-time college job waiting for him the very second he wants it. Any job. Any time.
And how secure does that make Eagles fans feel?
After the fan base took the collective pulse of the various head coaching candidates and wondered if we really wanted an up-and-coming NFL assistant who had never been a head man…or another team’s recent head man fire as our new hire…when you actually hear the words that Chip Kelly is the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles you start to wonder. Maybe hiring a guy with at least some prior NFL experience would have been more comforting. More reassuring. Someone who knows the lay of the land. Someone who would truly appreciate the task at hand because they either had done it previously or worked at a level close to it. Someone who would more likely be in it…with us…for the long haul.
Kelly doesn’t really feel like our guy.
Lurie obviously got his guy.
But did we get our guy?
Chip feels like a rental. And that’s not to say he can’t win in the NFL. I’m open-minded to the fact he can modify his system and win with the right personnel…which I hope he knows won’t be available in Year One and likely even Year Two. This isn’t Eugene where the best athletes are outside your door trying to break it down and you can pick and choose as you please. You draft, trade and negotiate your way to the Super Bowl. He’s clearly a bright, brilliant offensive mind…and this league is certainly becoming all-offense, all-the-time. Best you get someone who can take advantage of the fact NFL defenses are barely allowed to cover or hit anyone anymore.
He better score mucho points and, unlike Oregon…he better take more time to do it. The Ducks defense was usually on the field most of the time due to the fact their offense scored so quickly. If the current Eagles defense is on the field next season as much as Oregon’s was in Kelly’s career…next season his newly designed NFL offense should also be prepared to put fifty points on the board each week. They’ll need every single one of them.
My lingering concern…what if Chip Kelly reworks the Eagles’ roster in his image and then walks in a year or two when the full weight of coaching a pro team has been upon him for a bit…and he spits the bit?
Some say he has a fairly thin skin. It will get thicker here…fast…or else.
Jeff Lurie’s chips are indeed all in…for a man named Chip.