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A Vote Of No Confidence In Jeffrey Lurie’s Leadership

For better or worse, the Eagles have their man.

Several weeks after firing 14-year head coach Andy Reid, the Eagles brass hired Chip Kelly to be the organization’s next leader.

Of all the candidates that the Eagles interviewed, I saw Kelly as by far the biggest risk. Most of the other prospects had a strong redeeming quality about them.

Bill O’Brien had previous NFL success and experience with the New England Patriots.

Mike McCoy had proven that he could get the most out of limited offensive talent by running successful offenses with the likes of Jake Delhomme, Kyle Orton, and Tim Tebow.

Gus Bradley played a major role in turning the Seattle Seahawks into the the league’s top defense.

Heck, even the retreads the Eagles interviewed (Lovie Smith, Brian Billick, Ken Whisenhunt) all at least took a team to a Super Bowl during their respective runs in Chicago, Baltimore, and Arizona.

So I ask, what is on Chip Kelly’s resume that makes him far and away the best choice to turn the Philadelphia Eagles around?

Well, it isn’t his strong NFL background. Kelly has never coached in the NFL in any capacity before.

It certainly isn’t his defensive prowess. For all of those hoping that the next head coach would be a guy that can come in and get rid of the soft defensive mentality that the Eagles have had in recent years, Kelly’s teams at Oregon have given up an average of 22.75 points per game since the 2009 season.

So what sold the Eagles on Chip Kelly? A gimmick.

That’s right, another gimmick. The same front office that fooled themselves into believing that the Wide-Nine could succeed as a base defense will now build their team around Kelly’s creative fast-paced, high-scoring offense that hasn’t been tested at the NFL level.

I also question just how committed to Philadelphia Kelly is going to be. Before the hiring was announced today, Kelly had flip-flopped between signing a deal with the Cleveland Browns, to announcing he was going back to Oregon, to changing his mind and coming to Philadelphia. If Kelly and his revolutionary offense completely flop after one season, he’s the type of guy that could pull a Bobby Petrino and bail on his NFL opportunity to go back to college for an opportunity that he knows he’ll succeed in.

Jeffrey Lurie’s biggest claim to fame in the NFL is the fact that he discovered Andy Reid, who went on to become a very successful NFL coach. All throughout the Eagles’ coaching search, we heard that one of Lurie’s desires was to find the next Andy Reid by making a gutsy hire of another offensive mind. By hiring Kelly, Lurie has taken his biggest risk yet.

To me, this is another textbook example of the Eagles trying to win by ignoring conventional methods and trying to outsmart the rest of the league by spending too much time thinking outside of the box. This franchise wants to win, but they want to do it their own way. They don’t just want to win a Super Bowl, they want to win it in such a unique way that they’ll leave their special mark on the rest of league.

This is same line of thinking that led the Eagles to fooling themselves into devaluing wide receivers until 2004, devaluing the linebacker position for 14 years, building a defense around speedy undersized players instead of strong powerful ones, drafting Brandon Graham over Earl Thomas, drafting a 26-year old guard in the first-round of 2011, hiring a defensive line coach before a defensive coordinator, hiring an unqualified offensive line coach to become a defensive coordinator, and (as mentioned previously) believing that the Wide-Nine would work just fine as a base defense.

That line of thinking has hurt this team dearly in the past, and especially over the last few years. I think that if there was one thing that the Eagles should have learned from the last two seasons, it was that the team needed a drastic philosophical change. The Kelly hiring doesn’t represent such a change; instead it’s an altered version of the approach and mindset that the team had under Andy Reid. If the Eagles had hired a defensive-minded coach like Gus Bradley or Lovie Smith, I would have believed that the front office had really learned from past mistakes and that they were serious about making the best move to make this a respectable NFL team again.

But instead, Lurie jumped at the opportunity to get his “innovative, energetic, revolutionary” offensive mind.

Lurie’s heart is in the right place; he wants to win a championship and he’s proven that he’ll do all that he can to attain that goal. But his methods have been fatally flawed in key areas, and by putting a great deal of stock into wrong coaches/players/front office decisions, he’s cost this team.

I’m not trying to write Chip Kelly off before the man has even had his first press conference in Philadelphia, but this hire just doesn’t do anything to excite me.

Hopefully Kelly works out, becomes a great coach, and turns this franchise around.

But after seeing this franchise make countless questionable decisions that have more often than not turned out to be mistakes over the last few years, and after seeing a number of much more appealing (and conventional) coaching options available, I just don’t have much reason to trust that this time Lurie and Roseman have got it right.

Denny Basens is the editor of GCobb.com. Email him at dbasens@ycp.edu, or follow him on Twitter.

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Posted by on Jan 16 2013. Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

101 Comments for “A Vote Of No Confidence In Jeffrey Lurie’s Leadership”

  1. Why don’t you give the man a freakin’ chance before whing and p_ _ _ _ _ _??

    • Don’t know if you read the whole article (I’m guessing not), but I explicitly stated that I’m not trying to write him off. I’ll give him his fair shot.

      It’s just not a hire I’m excited about. My issue doesn’t even have so much to do with Chip Kelly as it does with the fact that I think the front office hasn’t really learned anything from what they’ve done wrong in the past.

      • If the front office hasn’t learned from past mistakes, then that’s a disturbing, deep-rooted problem that won’t be resolved for a long, long time…

      • ” Hopefully Kelly works out, becomes a great coach, and turns this franchise around.”

        At this point in time, Denny, hope is all we have. We didn’t get Gus. We didn’t get Gruden (my guy). We didn’t get McCoy, or Trestman, or… Well, the list goes on. I thought we had dodged a bullet when Kelly decided to return to Oregon and we had Bradley lined up in our sights. I breathed a temporary sigh of relief. I had visions of a defense that was tearing off heads and peeing down their throats. I awoke to the news of Kelly and…well…all we can do is hope.

  2. Beautifully stated Denny

  3. Why don’t you give the man a chance???

    2 words…

    Juan Castillio

    This is the same organization that thinks they are smarter than everybody.

    Chip Kelly…..From nfl dot com heath evans…

    2. Out-coached by Stanford

    A month and a half ago, Stanford beat Oregon 17-14 to ruin the Ducks’ hopes for a perfect season. Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason had 20 working hours that week (mandated by the NCAA, which includes practice, weightlifting, and meetings) to prepare for this so-called NFL-ready offense, and he held them to two touchdowns, 4-of-17 on third down, 0-for-2 on fourth down, and forced a turnover.

    I love the discipline and structure that Jim Harbaugh installed at Stanford and that current head coach David Shaw and Mason have continued. And they’ve done it with much less athletic players than what Kelly has enjoyed at Oregon. If Kelly’s high-powered offense could only manage 14 points against Stanford, how will this offense work in the NFL, where all teams — more or less – are on equal footing?

    3. QBs exposed to injuries

    If we’ve learned one thing this season in the NFL, it’s that you can’t expose your franchise quarterback to vicious and violent hits. I’m sure the RG3 phenomenon is adding to the Chip Kelly hype but Robert Griffin III has been knocked out of a game once by concussion and once from a brutal hit from Baltimore Ravens NT Haloti Ngata that could’ve been worse than an LCL sprain. One more concussion for RG3 and he would have been watching from the bench the rest of the season.

    Quarterback Marcus Mariota carried the ball 106 times in 13 games for Kelly this season at Oregon. Overall, Oregon quarterbacks have rushed the ball 464 times in Kelly’s four seasons with the Ducks. I’m not sure he can maintain that in the NFL against much bigger, quicker and faster defensive players without losing a quarterback — be it Michael Vick, Geno Smith or anyone else — to injury for a significant amount of time.

    The game is constantly changing in small ways, but the basis of championship football will always be physical and mental toughness in the NFL, not gadget offensive schemes. When Kelly and his Oregon squads have faced physically tough and defensively sound teams that the NCAA has to offer, they have not fared well.

    Sure, Oregon kept it close against Auburn in the 2010 title game and the Ducks didn’t do so badly against LSU last year either. But “keeping it close” and “not so bad” will only get you one thing in the NFL: fired.

    I thought it was just the FATMAN, but now I see Jeffrey Loser must have a need to feel special…

  4. I definitely agree with Denny on most of his points, although I never “required” the Eagles to get defensive minded coach in the first place. He forgot to add the hiring an inexperienced, unproven kid with a JD in the GM position…the guy that “discovered” Danny Watkins…the same guy that said “Macho” Harris was developing into a great NFL safety, the same guy that thought that rebuilding the core of the defense around free agents was the best possible strategy.

    I fully expect the Eagles to try to trade up to No. 1 to get Geno Smith.

  5. Great article Denny, in your opinion what do you think changed in the last week that brings us Chip Kelly, money control over the roster and the draft?

    • Thank you!

      It sounds like control over the roster and draft was the issue. Kelly wanted that, and the Eagles weren’t willing to give it to him until they revisited the idea of him coming to coach the team.

  6. Great article Denny. I for one am flat out sick, that this guy is our coach. Chip Kelly GETS NO, ZERO CONFIDENCE IN CHIP”GIMMICK KELLY…..or the Philadelphia Eagles Front Office…from GMCliff……ZERO!!!!!!

  7. chip kelly doesnt run a gimmick offense. he runs an offense that adapts to his personnel and offense that scores points.

    some of you guys just talk and never look at his resume.

  8. Eagles Offense – TM – Eagles

    Chip Kelly’s Oregon Ducks averaged an offensive snap every 20.9 seconds in 2012.
    To put that into context, the Patriots ran the quickest offense in the NFL, snapping the ball every 24.9 seconds. The Pats offense was inspired in part by Kelly’s. It’s doubtful Kelly’s pace will be quite so breakneck during his first NFL campaign — particularly in he ends up sticking with lead-footed Nick Foles — but there’s no doubt he’ll be at or near the top of the league in pace. There’s no guarantee the Eagles will be better in 2013, but they will be infinitely more watchable.

  9. Denny, His Gimmick seems to be working well in one form or another in the NFL considering 3 of the 4 teams playing this week are using it, another thing, you really think this guy is gonna just walk in here and not adjust? Billicheck picked his brain and implimented some of his system, you dont think if Chip didnt already do it hes gonna call Billicheck up and pick his brain in return? You people make me laugh to think everybody is so naive.

    • We’ll see Drew………..

    • Yes, some teams implement elements of his offense successfully,,,but a proven, elite NFL head coach (who already has an established offense) borrowing ideas and elements from Kelly’s offense to add to his own is one thing….Kelly coming into the NFL with no previous pro experience and making dramatic adjustments while rebuilding a roster is another…

  10. vinnietheevictor

    I love the “blur” offense….snap every 20 secs…however…easier to do when you have 100 subs on the sideline…will it work with only 48 players?

  11. vinnietheevictor

    Be prepared for going for it on 4th down all the time, and rarely, if ever, kicking FGs.

  12. The money quote, from Kelly’s college coach, Bill Bowes of New Hampshire:

    “You have to hand it to him,” Bowes said … “Chip is very insightful, and not pretentious. (Former UNH and UO offensive coordinator) Gary Crowton had a good offensive mind, and Chip has taken that and expanded that, created new things, new concepts, new offensive ideas. And I think Chip will continue to do that. He has a mind for offensive football.

    “He’s bright enough to know you have to match your offense with the talent you have. Not all coaches have that — the ability to make changes or adaptations, and the foresight to analyze and evaluate the personnel you have, and create the best offense for your personnel.

    “Some of that is being stubborn, and some of it is not being inventive, not understanding the game that well. They don’t have that ability. They take what they’ve learned, but they cannot create themselves. Chip is one of those guys that can create. And I don’t think there are many guys in college that are creative themselves.

    “They’re copycats. They’ll go other places and copy what other people do. Chip has done that. But he also has the ability to be creative himself.”

  13. To those of you that hammered me on the last post about bradley and there run defense. I got my info from around the horns michael smith when i watched the show the other day. After researching it i can see the guy had no clue what he was talking about (seattles defense being ranking 23rd against the run)……. Moving on to the hire, my concern is the defensive coordinator spot. Id like to see them bring in lovie smith. His teams have always had good defense and special teams. I think that would make for a good team. Just not sure how this deal got done. There had to be a power struggle somewhere.

  14. DURHAM, N.H. — On a bright day this spring in the Field House on the University of New Hampshire campus, head football coach Sean McDonnell sat at his desk lunching on a salad, pausing to recall the instant in that same office years before when Chip Kelly took perhaps the first significant step on his path to Oregon.

    It certainly didn’t seem momentous at the time. The Wildcats were at a crossroads, but who knew then that taking the path they did would eventually lead Kelly all the way across the country?

    In hindsight, though, it makes perfect sense. That moment called for Kelly to draw on all the skills that would make him one of college coaching’s brightest new stars, and ultimately lead to his being named the Ducks’ head coach, replacing Mike Bellotti.

    Confidence. Creativity. Charisma. Energy. Ingenuity. Intelligence.

    All those qualities were on display that day in 1999, Kelly’s first year as New Hampshire’s offensive coordinator after five seasons as a position coach. All induced Bellotti to name Kelly as Oregon’s coach-in-waiting in December, and all, too, will be on display when Kelly leads the Ducks onto the field for his first game at the helm, Sept. 3 at Boise State.

    Back in McDonnell’s office in 1999, the longtime friends and associates were trying to figure out how to overcome the graduation of all-America tailback Jerry Azumah, the first player in Division I-AA (now FCS) history with four 1,000-yard rushing seasons. The Wildcats had been a traditional power running team, using a zone blocking scheme that Kelly had introduced as offensive line coach.

    But with Azumah gone, and athletic passer Ryan Day in line to take over at quarterback as a sophomore, Kelly looked at the depth chart and figured change was in order.

    “He said, ‘Mac, why are we playing this kid, just for the sake of playing him?’ ” McDonnell recalled.

    In other words, Kelly was asking, why go with a guy at one position just because he fits the old scheme, when you’ve got a wealth of talent elsewhere whose only drawback is that it doesn’t fit the scheme as well?

    “I said, ‘Well, what are you going to do?’ ” McDonnell recalled, between bites of his salad. “ ‘How are we going to run the ball?’

    “He goes, ‘I don’t know. But I’ll go find a way.’ ”

    Kelly took to the road, visiting several schools that incorporated spread-option concepts. That fall, using the new scheme, New Hampshire finished a game better than the year before and raised its scoring average by a touchdown a game, despite the loss of Azumah.

    Kelly’s genius for offensive football was affirmed.

    Ten years later, the Ducks hope it will be reaffirmed in Eugene. But before Chip Kelly attempts to make history at Oregon, it’s worth looking back at his own.

    A thinking quarterback

    Kelly, 45, is loath to discuss his life off the field. When he’s asked questions that even hint at requiring self-analysis, you can almost hear his eyes rolling.

    But others are more than happy to fill in the blanks.

    “I’m really proud to say I coached him, and to call him a friend,” said Bob Leonard, Kelly’s coach in football and track at Manchester (N.H.) Central High School. “He was in my wedding. Since day one, we’ve been friends. He’s the best.”

    Kelly was a star in both sports for Leonard, but his athletic background traces back much further. He is the third of four brothers, all athletes. Their parents supported the boys’ athletic endeavors; their father, Paul, later became a regular presence at UNH football practices when Kelly played there.

    The other three brothers stuck mostly with individual sports; Keith, who is two years older than Chip, is an accomplished distance runner who once was the top finisher from New Hampshire in the Boston Marathon.

    But team sports were Chip Kelly’s calling. He played CYO basketball, and was a rugged winger in the Manchester Regional Youth Hockey Association. Truth be told, hockey was Kelly’s first love, but he was better at football, which ultimately became the focus of his energies.

    “I was always just enamored with it,” Kelly said in a rare moment of public self-reflection. “I think it’s just the competitive nature. You wanted to win, so how are you going to figure out ways to win? That’s what it was all about.”

    At Manchester Central, Kelly ran the second leg on a 4×100-meter relay team that once held the New England record, Leonard said. Quick feet made Kelly a whiz through the turn, and helped him in football as well. He took over at quarterback for Central’s “Little Green” — a nod to nearby Dartmouth College’s Big Green — as a sophomore, also playing safety.

    “He won’t tell you this — he’ll say ‘I wasn’t this, I wasn’t that’ — but he had great speed,” Leonard said. “He was only about 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, but he had a great sense about him, offensively and defensively.”

    Kelly was Leonard’s coach on the field. As a safety, he made sure none of the other defenders was beaten for big plays. Offensively, he blossomed after being switched from running back.

    “When he moved to quarterback, there was just no stopping him,” Leonard said. “He understood what we did so well, and he understood what the people across the way were doing. And he just made one miraculous play after another.”

    Kelly put his quick feet to use in an offense developed at Syracuse, which thrived using rollout passes. Even now, Leonard says, he sees hints of that scheme in what Kelly does at Oregon, getting his quarterbacks outside the pocket where they can see the whole field and throw on the run.

    Back then, locals in Manchester compared Kelly with Minnesota Vikings legend Fran Tarkenton, for his toughness and ability to escape the pocket. Mentally, Kelly’s command of the game was also high.

    “He would look to the sideline for a play, and more often than not I’d just point to him and say, ‘You make the call,’ ” Leonard said.

    Later on at New Hampshire, as both a player and coach, Kelly developed a respect for the importance of the running game as the bedrock of offensive football. But at Central, Leonard said, it was the other aspect of offense that intrigued Kelly.

    “Chip believed right from the get-go that if you threw the ball, good things were going to happen,” Leonard said. “And being his high school coach, I witnessed that. He threw the ball when other people wouldn’t. It gave me pause on more than one night. But he never threw into trouble.”

    As a senior, Kelly was named all-state at quarterback. That fall, after a Thanksgiving Day game, Leonard told the team he wasn’t returning as head coach.

    Kelly’s response? “No, don’t do it — I want to coach with you some day,” he told Leonard.

    “He knew from the time he first stepped on the field,” Leonard says now, “that he wanted to be a coach.”

    A way with offense

    After graduating from Central, Kelly walked on at New Hampshire for legendary coach Bill Bowes. Though Kelly’s speed didn’t translate well to the college level, he caught on as a reserve defensive back.

    “You put him out there as a corner on a fast wide receiver, you were holding your breath,” Bowes said this spring over a soda in his favorite Durham coffee shop. “But he was the kind of kid that you wanted on the team, that was going to be there every day, practice hard every day, set the tone for everyone else.”

    Put another way: “Chip knows the work end of the shovel,” Leonard said.

    While playing for Bowes, who coached the Wildcats from 1972-98, Kelly didn’t betray his future coaching intentions. But he impressed Bowes enough to get a partial scholarship, a hard-earned feat under the tough former offensive line coach.

    “Usually when I gave those out, they would be to a walk-on kid that you thought maybe had the potential to be a starter,” Bowes said. “But in his case, I wanted him to stay on the team. I wanted him to hang with it.”

    Kelly ended up earning some playing time with the Wildcats, then returned home to Manchester. He was named offensive coordinator at Central, where his old coach, Bob Leonard, was back on the staff coaching defense.

    Still enamored with slinging the ball down the field, Kelly would sometimes confound Leonard with the frequency with which his offense went three-and-out. But already, Leonard was seeing Kelly’s creativity at work.

    Later, when Kelly turned dual-threat quarterback Ricky Santos into a spread-option demon at New Hampshire, and when he ran the Statue of Liberty play for a touchdown in his first season as Oregon’s offensive coordinator, at Michigan in 2007, it all looked familiar to Leonard.

    “He had an idea of where this thing was going a long time ago,” Leonard said of Kelly’s offensive philosophy. “Every one of those ‘plays of the week,’ he saved those from somewhere. Every now and again I’ll be watching him coach and I’ll think, ‘Yep, you came back with that one, I remember where that came from.’ But he put it all together in a different package.

    “And when the (quarterback) goes out on the field to run this offense, the kid really is in charge, because Chip makes him in charge. That’s what Chip can do: He can make other people do things that even they don’t know they’re capable of doing.”

    Such as Dennis Dixon, who lost the UO starting job in 2006, then blossomed into a Heisman candidate under Kelly in 2007.

    “And he’s been doing that since day one, even as a player,” Leonard said.

    Student of the game

    Sean McDonnell, who last fall completed his 10th season as head coach at New Hampshire, first encountered Kelly when he was still the quarterback at Manchester Central and McDonnell was an assistant at Manchester West.

    From 1985-87, McDonnell worked at Boston University, and Kelly asked to drop in and study some of that staff’s philosophies.

    That began a long tradition of Kelly traveling to other schools, personal homework assignments that included a 2006 visit to Oregon, setting in motion Kelly’s joining the UO staff a year later.

    “He was like a sponge,” McDonnell recalled. “Every time he went someplace, he wanted to soak up what they were doing.”

    McDonnell later moved on to Columbia, and in 1990 he greased the wheels for Kelly to get out of Manchester and coach freshman football at the Ivy League school. A group of coaches shared an apartment near Morningside Park in New York, and Kelly “was like a hayseed” upon being introduced to the big city, McDonnell said.

    One night, McDonnell said, “he kept hearing these cracking sounds. He goes, ‘Firecrackers, huh?’ One of the guys from New York says, ‘Firecrackers? Those are gunshots!’ ”

    McDonnell returned to New Hampshire, where he’d also been a player, in 1991, narrowly missing Gary Crowton, who had just completed a three-year stint as offensive coordinator there and who would later precede Kelly at Oregon. In 1994, McDonnell took over as offensive coordinator and hired Kelly, the start of a 13-year working relationship at UNH.

    Kelly started out as running backs coach, working with Azumah. Then, in 1997, Bowes needed to hire an offensive line assistant. A former line coach himself, Bowes was particular about the men who handled the position on his staff. In an audacious move, Kelly applied for the job.

    “He had the gumption to come in and say, ‘Hey coach, I am really interested in that position,’” Bowes said. “I think it was his way of learning more. That was my strength.”

    By then renowned for his work ethic, particularly in the film room, Kelly approached McDonnell about a zone rushing scheme that he’d picked up at clinics and in conversations with coaches elsewhere. Using the new scheme that fall, Azumah ran for a school-record 1,585 yards. The next year, as a senior, Azumah ran for 2,195.

    In 1999, Azumah graduated, McDonnell replaced Bowes as head coach, and Kelly was promoted to offensive coordinator. After meeting with McDonnell, Kelly scrapped the record-setting offense and started again from scratch.

    The next season, Day began a meteoric three-year run as New Hampshire’s quarterback. The prolific numbers he put up were later surpassed by Ricky Santos, who holds UNH records in attempts, completions and yards and who, in Kelly’s last season at UNH in 2006, won the Walter Payton Award as the nation’s best I-AA player.

    In eight seasons with Kelly as coordinator, the Wildcats averaged 400 yards of offense per game seven times. They set school records for total offense in 2004, and scoring in 2005.

    “You have to hand it to him,” Bowes said from his booth in the Durham coffee shop. “Chip is very insightful, and not pretentious. Gary Crowton had a good offensive mind, and Chip has taken that and expanded that, created new things, new concepts, new offensive ideas. And I think Chip will continue to do that. He has a mind for offensive football.

    “He’s bright enough to know you have to match your offense with the talent you have. Not all coaches have that — the ability to make changes or adaptations, and the foresight to analyze and evaluate the personnel you have, and create the best offense for your personnel.

    “Some of that is being stubborn, and some of it is not being inventive, not understanding the game that well. They don’t have that ability. They take what they’ve learned, but they cannot create themselves. Chip is one of those guys that can create. And I don’t think there are many guys in college that are creative themselves.

    “They’re copycats. They’ll go other places and copy what other people do. Chip has done that. But he also has the ability to be creative himself.”

    ‘A smart guy’

    Despite all that, it took a while for the rest of the nation to take notice of the gaudy numbers New Hampshire was putting up under Kelly.

    “There wasn’t a big buzz,” McDonnell recalled.

    McDonnell said Kelly interviewed with Randy Edsall at Connecticut, and turned down Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants because Kelly got no assurances a quality control job would eventually earn him a promotion to the field.

    All the while, Kelly was traversing the country, participating in clinics, and visiting the likes of Clemson and Northwestern to pick up new offensive wrinkles.

    “He interned in Canada one year for three weeks, and came back with all these funky motions and stuff like that,” McDonnell said with a touch of amazement.

    Kelly was an aggressive coordinator who would get spitting mad when McDonnell called for field-goal attempts. After 20 years studying the game, he was confident, and creative, and charismatic, and energetic, and ingenious.

    And, McDonnell stressed, don’t forget intelligent.

    “That’s a point that gets mixed up in all this,” McDonnell said. “You can be a hard worker, you can be an energetic person, but he’s a smart guy. He knows kids, knows people. He has a good sense for that.”

    In 2006, Kelly took one of his annual forays to another school, this time meeting former UNH coordinator Crowton at Oregon. A year later Crowton left for LSU, and Kelly was back in Eugene to interview with Bellotti.

    “I knew when he walked through the door after the interview that he wasn’t long for this place anymore,” McDonnell said. “If Bellotti offered him the job, he was gone. He really liked Mike.”

    It was mutual, and Bellotti named Kelly as Oregon’s offensive coordinator. What followed were the two most prolific offensive seasons in school history, exploiting both the versatility of quarterbacks Dixon and Jeremiah Masoli and a punishing running game. It was the passing game of Kelly’s heart combined with the ground game he came to embrace.

    Now, Kelly is making the transition to head coach. If there’s any question about his ability to thrive in that role, it’s whether the master schematic coach can handle all the administrative duties associated with the job.

    “He’ll be good at it,” McDonnell said, “because he was good at it here. When we had to have him talk to a bunch of alumni, he’s got a sharp memory and can connect with people.

    “The biggest thing is, knowing Chip, he’ll be able to surround himself with people who can do things that he would probably not like to do.”

    Missing from that list is play calling. Kelly has said he intends to do that this season, despite hiring Mark Helfrich as offensive coordinator. McDonnell said he wouldn’t be surprised if Kelly is still calling plays five years from now.

    Those are his roots, after all. Roots that stretch back to Manchester, N.H., and that could thrive and flourish as never before in Eugene.

    • the above is long but if you read this about chip and are not excited for him to be our coach then so be it.

  15. Gus bradley will most likley want a head coaching job so i cant imagine he will leave seattle if he dosent get that. But lovie could be a good hire, what you guys think? Im not sure im sold on kelly either but at least he brings a completley differnet syle and mentality to us.

    • i would love that dawk but this news just was posted on rotoworld.

      The Chicago Sun-Times reports deposed Bears coach Lovie Smith is expected to sit out the 2013 season and “reconsider his options next offseason.”
      Smith will collect the final year of his Bears’ salary — $5 million — as he relaxes on the beach. Smith interviewed with the Bills, Chargers and Eagles, but was passed up for all three jobs. The Cover 2 maven and 2006-07 NFC champion isn’t a candidate for the two remaining open jobs, Arizona and Jacksonville. Smith won’t hurt for work if he wants it in 2014, and should draw interest as a head coach.

      if he took a dc job he would lose about 4 million. he is out.

      • i dont think gus will get any head coach job because he has 0 offensive coaching experience.

        it would not shock me if the eagles also hired gus and named him dc/asst hc.

        i cant imagine anyone hires gus this year and im certain he doesnt want to be just a dc anymore. and to beef up his resume he needs to learn how to run an offense and working with kelly would pad his resume.

        under nfl rules he could only come here if he got asst hc title

        id give this scenario less than a 5% chance of happening but it would be good for us and good for gus

        • @Mhenski – Reports are the Eagles were going to offer Gus the coaching job had not Kelly had second thoughts. Which makes me believe Kelly was their top choice from the start….As long as Gus has a good OC why wouldn’t he get hired? If he can come in an improve a teams defense and mentality why wouldn’t he get hired…with an experienced OC why wouldn’t he get hired….Why would Gus want to come to the Eagles in the current position he has now? or even with asst head coach title… he can learn how to run an offense in Seattle…Seattle can throw an asst hc label on him to keep him, if need be. I am a fan of the Oregon teams, fun to watch…however, I was really hoping for a defensive minded coach, that brought intensity and accountability to the team. It is what it is, we have no control, so guess I gotta support the move, for now.

  16. Innovatine, Out of the box, forward thinking, unconventional. That’s what the Eagles think they are as a front office. Their arrogant better than any organization attitude that they possess has reared it’s head again.

    This is strictly on Lurie. If this ends in disaster the organization will be set back for years. The next revolution won’t be to get the coach out of town. It will be right at Lurie’ front door.

  17. You say that you’re not writing it off, and yet the title of the article says “no confidence in luries leadership” which implies that you disagree with the Chip Kelly hiring. So the eagles got a guy that employs smaller, faster players on offense. Who said they will use the same strategy on the defensive side of the ball? And you’re calling his offense a gimmick? Yes, it may be an original scheme that isn’t used in the current NFL, but the pistol offense is gimmicky and look how that worked out for the Redskins. The reason the Eagles offensive was great in the 2000′s was because their guys were explosive and kept the tempo high. And that is exactly what Kelly’s system tries to do, keep the tempo high. The reason the Eagles were so high on him from the start was probably because they have long term money invested in quick speedy players like McCoy and DeSean. Wouldn’t you like to see a coach try to get as much potential out of his players as possible? Andy Reid used the the West Coast offense. You think a system like that facilitates the skills of DeSean or Maclin? I don’t think so. Don’t be so negative!

    • My take on reading the article was Denny was ripping the article but threw in :

      I’m not trying to write Chip Kelly off before the man has even had his first press conference in Philadelphia, but this hire just doesn’t do anything to excite me.

      Hopefully Kelly works out, becomes a great coach, and turns this franchise around.

      at the end so he didnt pickle himself.

      DENNY you wrote :

      So what sold the Eagles on Chip Kelly? A gimmick.

      I challenge you to watch Chips tapes, look at his resume and find out truly what this man does then come back and tell me Chip Kelly is a gimmick. If you think Chip is only successful because he runs a “gimmick” offense, I challenge you to prove that his offense is a gimmick.

      • in my first line please substitute the 2nd time article appears and insert eagles

      • Mhenski, I respect you but I really have to disagree with you here.

        Again, I go back to the Wide-Nine comparison…can the Wide-Nine be successful when it’s used as an occasional thing in situations like third and long? Yes. Is it something you can get away with as a base defense? Absolutely not.

        NFL defensive coordinators have a habit of catching gimmicky schemes and players after a year or two. Once upon a time, the Wild Cat was all the rage in the NFL. Now it’s all but completely disappeared.

        I am down on the Kelly hiring, and I really don’t think an offense built around smaller, speedier players is something that translates into championship football. But I really do want to give him a shot, I just can’t lie to you all because it’s truly an underwhelming move to me.

        • Denny I respect mostly everyones opinion no biggie if you disagree as I respect you and disagree with you…. Its not personal man its about our squad!!

          I dont get you comparing Chip to the wide nine, chip kelly isnt bringing the wide 9 here and based on everything I know about Chip and what he is capable of he isnt bringing a gimmick either. Do you really think all he is going to do is run the spread? If so you will be pleasantly
          surprised to see his Eagles offense…

          Again I challenge you to look at his entire body of work do some real research and see what you find about this coach and his schemes, they arent gimmicks they are adaptations to his personnel and his opponents. Do the research and then tell me he is a gimmick.

          Chip is and knows ALOT more about running an offense than just lining up a spread offense…

          2 more questions for ya Denny

          Who was your choice for Head Coach?

          Would you have said yes to Gus?

          • Greg Roman was my first choice (talk about offensively innovative and successful at the NFL level..I don’t understand why the Eagles wouldn’t at least try to talk to this guy).

            And I would have said yes to Gus. Defense is where this team needs a philosophical change the most.

            • thanks for the follow up Denny.

              sorry you’re bummed hopefully chip can change your mind with his actions.

              i too wanted Gus mostly because i wanted a smash your face in defense but truth be told if gus came here that wouldnt happen for at bare bare bare minimum 2 years with all the softies we have on D. and if Gus lacks an offensive mind as his resume suggests he wouldve came here built the D and we wouldve stunk and been unwatchable because the D wouldve stunk for 2 years and the offense woudlve got worse from last year…

              • Yeah I really hope he can…it’ll be interesting to see how his staff shapes up and what he says in tomorrow’s press conference about the quarterback situation.

                Even if it would have taken a year or two to gather the talent to switch up the defense, I would have been fine with that. I think they could have at least improved similarly to how the Rams did this year for Jeff Fisher…they weren’t an elite unit, but they became a solid, tough bunch that could at least hold their own and be counted on to force some turnovers.

              • yes the rams improved mostly because they came from rock bottom. however rams gave up 31 points to arizona (awful), 36 points to minnesota(awful) , 45 points to new england, 31 to washington, and 30 to green bay.

                i think eagles d was rock bottom last year and have nowhere to go but up even with chips staff

              • Denny,

                I really wanna give you props for discussing our team with us not just writing your articles and disappearing….

                Awesome that you join the banter!!!!!!!

              • Thanks mhenski, and no problem it’s my pleasure! I love joining the conversation and discussing things with everyone!

  18. I wonder if the Eagles should trade for Joe Webb and Tyrod Taylor to run Chip Kellys offense?

  19. Thanks, seansyh. I think “Denny boy” just likes to stir up things to promote his negative waves!

    • Like the hire or not – Lurie & Co. accomplished several things: 1) they got the man the targeted (so much for a meandering search). 2) they brought a fresh and innovative approach to a very predictable past. 3) they just got themselves back onto prime time tv. How many fans thought there would be even 1 prime time game next year?

    • Haha it’s all good! So how many wins for the Birds next year Mr. T, and who’s your choice for quarterback?

  20. Spoken like a ignorant ass Denny.

    Maybe you should watch a little football outside of your local viewing area. What you’ll find is that the teams that win are the teams that set the trends offensively. From “Lombardi sweep” – “four yards and a cloud of dust,” to Sid Gillman’s vertical game, to Tom Landry’s “man-in-motion” -”shotgun”, to Bill Walsh’s “West Coast Offense” to what you are beginning to see now.

    Chip Kelly can bring in a hard-nose defensive guy to instill some toughness. Those guys are around – and easy to find. But you wont find many guys that have Jon Gruden, Bill O’Brien, and Bill Belichick (among others) looking to learn his system.

    Gus is a good coach, but Kelly is the designer of what’s happening now! Not in the future.. Lurie is not reinventing the wheel – he is getting on-board.

  21. any grumblings of a staff yet?

  22. @ Denny lets play both sides of the coin to be fair. When was the last time Oregon had a Shady McCoy? How about a Bryce Brown. Tell me the last Maclin or DJax lined up in Eugene? Jason Peters? Come on man you actr like we are going to war with Oregon college players. lol Wait until defenses get a load of Shady in the open field. It works both ways.

    • The Eagles offense does have a lot of talent at the skill positions, and the healthy offensive line helps. It will be interesting see how a fresh face that’s an offensive genius not named Andy or Marty tries to get the most out of these guys.

      What happens at quarterback?

      • How do you like a Alex Smith for the right price to come in and compete with Foles and then draft a QB run-option(Kapernick type) in late rounds if thier is one available Div I or Div II gem.

        • Some veteran competition at the position couldn’t hurt, but I don’t think Alex Smith would be the guy.

          Smith did a lot of good in San Francisco the last two seasons, and he’ll want an opportunity to be the unquestioned starter, and I think he’s earned that. If the market for him isn’t great, maybe, but I don’t see the Eagles as a likely destination for him.

  23. Word is from Nike-Land that Chip is going to Coach the Entire Team by Himself

  24. Everybody on here giving kudos to Howie Roseman remember this, while Lurie was in the middle of interviewing and pretty much giving Gus Bradley the job, Roseman was in another room working the phones with Kelly and his agent. So now what do you think the perception around the league is of ole Jeff and Howie? Winning makes all this go away so Chip Kelly better get to winning.

  25. LMAO! Denny Basens is MAD! LMAO

  26. What about Dennis Dixon?

    • hahaha I am gonna crack the F up…if the Eagles go and get Dennis Dixon…hahaha after all the flack I took about bringing up his name a few weeks ago…haha, maybe they’ll get him, and my overall point about giving a player a shot in the right situation, will be proved.

  27. Tim Tebow? lmao imagine that circus!!

  28. Can I issue a motion of no confidence of Denny Basens as gcobb.com editor?

  29. BigLion — yes, I LOVE Kelly. He was my #1 choice before this whole search started. The NFL is changing and Kelly was the most innovative football mind available. He is considered a genius by many. Any coach that has future hall of famer Bill Belicheck coming to his practices and talking to him about football for ideas deserves a chance at being a head coach in the NFL.

  30. I’m sorry this is patently absurd.

    It’s as if any coordinator is automatically better. They’re not. The NFL is filled with coordinators that haven’t panned out.

    Chip Kelly is being brought in as a football mind. As a leader. Who the heck knows if this is going to work. To me he has a much better upside than any of these other coordinators (save Jay Gruden). But believing any of these other coordinators were better choices? Come on. I’d rather see a known football leader come in than any of these other guys. Rex Ryan was the hot coordinator, so was Marvin Lewis, Mike Mularkey. The NFL is filled with these cases too.

    BTW, Gus Bradley’s defenses gave up at least 5 4th quarter leads this year He’s “failed” too.

  31. Did y’all hear the Manti Te’o story about his girlfriend was a hoax? FIRST he showed himself to be a fraud on the field, now he’s a fraud in LIFE!

  32. here is all we need to know….. we beat out the Browns to get our man. Ill say it again…. the Browns.

    • After I got over my initial shock, and feeling like Denny that the birds always try to do the “unexpected” non-conventional move, was that they beat Banner….I hope that our goal in the future revolves around the Browns…I think they are one of the few teams that haven’t won a SB like our birds!

  33. Stevo — and Oregon. And Nike.

  34. I heard that Joe Banner gave every employee who works for the Browns a Paid-Day off Thursday and rented the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame Auditorium for all to be able to Watch the Chip Kelly Press-Conference ..
    I also Heard that Banner HIred the Comedien “Carrott Top” on his own to entertain his Employees before the PRess-Conference Starts and a Concert
    by the band “Journey” with all Orginal Members….

    • I met carrot top…. the dude hit on my wife right in front of me. I was blown away…. dude is a loser/

  35. I vote that the writer of this article be banned from gcobb….dumb threads man

  36. What about Josh Johnson,hes a free agent?

  37. Chip Kelly will be a failure, it took he eagles how many hours of interviews of umpteen coaching candidates to hire what they fired, a flawed man, a flawed philosophy, gimmick football.

  38. “A Vote Of No Confidence In Jeffrey Lurie’s Leadership”

    Your comments are noted, ‘what’s your name’.

    Before I give my opinion, let me man up here: I predicted that Central HS football coach Rick Drayton would be the next coach of the Eagles…I was misled by my inside source in the Eagles organization (an employee of Waste Management who picks up trash at the NovaCare complex) and I admit I was wrong. |—)

    Now, on Chip Kelly: Who the fuck here knows anything about Chip Kelly?…What, you watch a couple of PAC 12 games over the last few years?

    Kelly has been to a few BCS bowl games, and had a winning record at Oregon…This we know…What he will do here is a mystery right now…Anybody who says different talks out of their rear end.

    Hopefully, Kelly will be organized, have good assistants, know how to handle
    NFL knucklehead players making $5 million a year, and be able to make effective game time adjustments.

    As for dealing with the media, hopefully he will ignore them as much as possible with a smile on his face.

  39. While I don’t profess enough expertise to judge this hire, I do know that Jeff Laurie has hired two good head coaches. (Ray Rhodes was coach of the year). How many have you hired Denny? Give the man a chance.

    • As I said before, I’ll give Kelly a shot…I do think he has a chance to be a good coach in this league…but I also regard him as a huge risk, and I believe think there were better fits out there that could have done this team more good than him.

  40. Richcw, what kind of man are you to say you can’t judge this hiring decision, take your right hand, feel your balls, then look at the picture above of this pussy Kelly, then you will know all you need to know about this hiring decision

  41. “This is same line of thinking that lead the Eagles to fooling themselves into devaluing wide receivers until 2004″

    I’m really sick of reading this crap. In 2000 they drafting Pinkston, and in 2001 they drafted Mitchell. They may have missed, but they were trying to get good receivers.

    • That’s a fair point. Doesn’t excuse the rest of the blunders on that list haha, but you’re right, they did make an effort to improve the position before Terrell Owens got here, what they tried just didn’t work out.

    • Mitchell was drafted in first round and started 2 games in his first two years. He had 33 total receptions in those seasons (57 over the next two).

      Pinkston was a 2nd round pick and started 1 game in his first season, catching 10 whole passes.

      This talks directly to the organization’s insanity regarding “rookies are to be neither seen nor heard” philosophy. It also speaks to the ‘speed’ emphasis that has never really delivered on any positive results, as well as the ‘just plug in a guy who fits this profile into my most awesome amazing system and it will work’ pipe dreams.

      So whereas you cite two solid examples of high draft picks used on receivers, the dysfunctional attributes of the organization managed to screw those up regardless of the implied ‘high valuation’. The draft position implies that, but the way these guys were used muddies it up a lot.

  42. “They don’t just want to win a Super Bowl, they want to win it in such a unique way that they’ll leave their special mark on the rest of league.”

    EXACTLY!!

    In other words, it’s all about Lurie’s ego. Nothing more, nothing less. Personal vanity.

    Getting the trophy isn’t hard enough – it has to be won by going on some circuitous path that no one else has taken. This is why the insane andy reid offense was tolerated for so long and why all these other horrible decisions were never challenged or vetoed. All of them were never done before.

    The problem with doing what no one else is doing is that you’re more likely to do foolishly impossible things – and all just to not use some other successful blueprint. Avoiding what successful teams do usually only helps assure minimal success.

    Vanity.

    If this guy doesn’t cut it, I can only hope that Lurie will give up this self-serving nonsense and sell the team to someone who would rather win than make some sort of shot at having a footnote in NFL history that says, “I did it my way!”

    Nobody cares if the Eagles ran the exact same plays as the 1991 Redskins and win the Super Bowl. No one would take it away from the Eagles if they copied anything from anyone – winning is winning. But that’s not enough for Lurie, and that will make it much more difficult for him to win.

    I hope it works out with Kelly, but I will be shocked if it does. And I can only hope it takes less than 14 years of no rings to reallize it’s time to move on, too.

    • I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that. It should actually help the Eagles franchise. You have a owner that is wanting to desperately win. I’ll take that anyday!

      • I think you missed my point. Lurie doesn’t want to win. He wants to win in a way that no one else has ever won before.

        There’s a big difference.

        For example, the Steelers under Cowher did well under their old style of play and then tried a few seasons of “creative” gimmicks with Kordell Stewart, and they had several bad years. Then they tossed out the gimmicks, got back to smash-mouth football and won the Super Bowl.

        In this case, Lurie would probably have gone off looking for the next gimmick – just as he is now – because winning it the way most teams have won is unacceptable. That’s not “desperate to win” – that’s desperate to create a legacy of an NFL revolutionary.

        Chippy may be able to deliver that. Or he may be a spectacular, high profile failure. History is not on Kelly’s side, but there is a chance.

    • frankly, since i watch football for entertainment, i don’t put winning a super bowl as a priority. i think is making this move – and was looking for someone “innovative” bcuz he knows this kind of football is what ppl want to see.

      • If that’s all you want, that’s fine. But I’m not sure your perspective is representative of the majority of the fan base. I don’t want to see real-time experimentation. I want to see the Eagles compete – and hopeful win a Super Bowl before I die.

  43. i don’t think it’s hard to understand why eagles fans are excited about this move. football is entertainment and we watch to be entertained. i’ll goes as far to say, i’d rather have an entertaining team than a winning team. i’d prefer both, but since i’m not a player on the team, a “win” for me is watching fun football. i don’t think anyone can argue that chip kelly – with his offensive schemes and his penchant for risky moves – will make football fun again in philly.

  44. Yes we want fun… WE WANT TO FUCKIN WIN! More than anything. That’s why I am happy chip Kelly is here.

  45. Maybe the Eagles wanted to get a jump on the Cowboys because of Monte Kiffin, the USC connection.

    ‘Chipper’ beat Kiffin a few times…Just ask G. Cobb.

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