In 16 months of covering the Birds’ coach they still haven’t gotten used to the fact that he is smarter, quicker and more knowledgeable about football than they are
By Art Beitchman
When the Eagles hired head coach Chip Kelly in January 2013, they got their guy, and hoped that along with his fertile football mind he would bring his style and winning ways. And that’s exactly what has happened.
But to win and make the playoffs in his rookie season, well no one could have legitimately predicted that. He took over a bedraggled 4-12 team that was a rat’s nest. Dysfunctional was a more accurate way of describing the Birds, some of whom came to work and promptly went to sleep, with Andy Reid’s approval!
Reid was a slow-walking, slow-talking, slow-thinking coach.
Kelly is just the opposite.
And many members of the media still can’t get it into their heads that Kelly is superior to Reid in most areas of the game: talent evaluation; ability to adjust during a game; and, especially, flexibility to adjust his scheme to the talent he has, not the talent he wished he had.
Jimmy Kepski’s blog on Philly.com was headlined: “NFL teams had a higher value on Marcus Smith [the Eagles first-round pick] than the media.”
And the headline on John Gonzalez’s piece on CSNPhilly.com — “Kelly doesn’t care what you think” — was reflective of the piece: “After each of the Eagles’ selections, Kelly walked through the NovaCare Complex and into the auditorium and down to the podium where he’d answer questions about why he did this or that. Each time it was the same confident stride, as though he would conquer the room just as he believed he conquered the draft. It did not bother Kelly, not at all, when he was informed – particularly after the Eagles took Marcus Smith with their first selection – that some factions in town were less bullish on certain decisions than he appeared to be.”
Note to the media — Kelly does not care what you and I think. Unlike his predecessor, he is smart, quick on his feet and he knows talent. Yes, he picked a lot of Pac-12 and especially Oregon alums, but Jimmy Johnson did the same when he was hired as Cowboys coach. He picked Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, players he knew from days at the University of Miami where each had played. They are in the Hall of Fame now.
No one knows exactly why DeSean Jackson was outright released without any compensation, and the Eagles maintain it was a “football” decision. But let me take a stab at it. Kelly determined Jackson’s work ethic wasn’t up to snuff; he missed practices; didn’t know the plays, both no-no’s into today’s NFL. Jackson was too small, therefore harder to call plays for him in the red zone, and again took plays off when the ball wasn’t going his way.
The Eagles were spending 25% of their yearly salaries at one position, wide receiver, and Jackson was taking in the most at $10 million per. Kelly thinks he got two winners in last week’s draft — Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews and Oregon’s Josh Huff.
I believe that Kelly has earned the trust of the fans with his ability to build successful football teams in college and now here; plus the instant success in his first NFL season.
That perception has been universally accepted, maybe not with some talking heads whose sole job is to stir the pot, for better or worse. Kelly was brought to Philly to make these multimillion dollar football decisions and coach the Eagles.
Done and done!