Chip Kelly Joins The Eagles
In a day and age of instant news via Twitter, there are no secrets. So when Chip Kelly surprised everyone by accepting the head coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles, the news hit the Eagle fan base like a lottery win.
Kelly becomes the 21st coach in team history, replacing Andy Reid who was fired on Dec. 31 after a 4-12 season. The initial report was that Chip Kelly had declined the head coaching offer, and was going to return to Oregon where he was 46-7 in four years. Yet, the Eagles didn’t take “No” for an answer, and were able to persuade the innovative coach to join them 10 days later.
Chip Kelly is a very creative, aggressive mind, and he should be able to re-invent the Eagles into a powerful fast-paced scoring machine. While many people are reluctant to buy into Kelly’s system working in the NFL, I would like to point out as a long time fan of the Oregon Ducks that Kelly does not possess a one-trick pony playbook. He prides himself on adapting to situations, exposing a defenses weak spot, and operating in a very fast paced fashion. Chip Kelly’s Oregon Ducks averaged an offensive snap every 20.9 seconds in 2012, and he was the mastermind that installed the hurry-up Patriot playcalling that has burned so many teams in the last few weeks.
The next few weeks should give us a better indication towards how the Eagles will look in 2013. Mike Vick was rumored to be released after the Super Bowl, but now has a slim chance of returning. Anything you hear up until the Vick 3-day contract window will be pure speculation. Personally I really don’t think Vick is a lock in any way to stick around, he is no spring chicken and has struggled with fumbling the last 2 years. One of the biggest parts of Kelly’s offense is decision-making, and Vick has struggled with reading defenses in the past. Nick Foles may be a big part of the future, although the kid is probably one of the slowest pure runners at the quarterback position in the NFL. Foles does have excellent pocket presence and is elusive for a big guy, but as far as running the read-option, I don’t think he fits that style well at all. From what I have seen of Chip Kelly at Oregon, I believe the new Eagles coach will create something new, something that works with all the strengths of the current Eagles personnel. If there is anyone who can re-invent an option read offensive style, it’s Chip Kelly.
The biggest complaint from Eagles fans (what? Eagles fans complaining? this is new?) is that bringing in an Offensive mind doesn’t improve a defense that set a franchise record for allowing points last season. While I completely agree, it should be noted that Chip Kelly did serve as secondary and special teams coach for the freshman team in 1990 at Columbia University. The next year he was outside linebackers and strong safeties coach for the varsity team. In 1992 he went to the University of New Hampshire as the running backs coach. He left to become the defensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins University for one season. Chip Kelly is known for offense, but has a track record of coaching other positions and defensive units. He will find ways to repair a dreadful Eagles defense, and I’m predicting that tracking down a defensive coordinator will be one of Kelly’s first acts as the new Eagles head coach.