Having gone to Eagles games since 1978, I can say with full confidence that this is the most exciting off-season since Hurricane Buddy blew into town. Chip Kelly has a rather large task in front of him. He has to change the mindset of a fan base that has been beaten into submission by the Andy Reid Era. For 14 seasons we were subjected to a weekly demonstration of trying to fit Square Pegs into Round Holes.
Since taking over in January, Chip, and his offense that he employed at Oregon, has been scrutinized, and put under the microscope by every analyst, talk show host, columnist, and bar patron in Eagles Nation. ‘How can he run this offense at the pro level?”, “What kind of defense are they going to use?”, “How can he keep this guy or that guy?”. His philosophy has never really been adapted at the NFL level so these questions have merit. However the added burden he shoulders is the stigma of secrecy that has been the norm around here this century. Can you count on 1 hand the number of times the Eagles under Andy Reid were forthcoming with the public…about anything? Every tidbit of information that came out of their mouths was meticulously primed for minimal impact. So now every time Chip answers a question about what he is going to do, or how he is going to play, his answers are met with great skepticism.
When he says that he is going to adapt his offense to utilize the talents of the players he has here, not many people have seemed to believe him. Nick Foles, not exactly the poster child for being fleet of foot, would seemingly not fit into the offense that Chip ran at Oregon. But he still remains here and in an open competition for the starting QB job. They drafted Matt Barkley, who also isn’t the prototype for a read-option QB. To hear Chip talk about him though sounded like he finally landed the one that got away after failing to recruit him to Oregon. With a young GM in Howie Roseman and a futuristic approach to the game, all the pieces are being put in place to move this team and hopefully the fans into the next era of NFL football.
His attitude and openness with the media and public alike is similar to a present that you have waited years for only to never receive. When you finally do get it, you wonder where the strings are, or if you are being filmed for a reality show. He has held court with reporters for over an hour at the GM meetings, in Pre-Draft pressers he was asking them who they would take. His training methods include blasting upbeat music during workouts, developing custom smoothies for each player for after practice consumption. These new age methods of sports and science are revolutionary to the NFL and in particular this organization where the last coach had a regular habit of “fast food” Friday.
Now all of these things that Chip is trying to implement can result in the greatest face lift of a franchise in this city’s history or fall into the abyss created by Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, and a slew of other college turned pro coaches that couldn’t translate their success from Saturdays to Sundays. The injection of life into this team and also this city has been desperately needed for a couple of years, let’s hope that the patient doesn’t have an allergic reaction to this medicine and the prognosis for success is bright…for all of our sakes.Tags: Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, Matt Barkley, new era, new year, NFL, Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles