Chip Kelly Has Something New To Offer Rookies This SeasonBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Saturday, June 14th, 2014
The life of a rookie certainly has its perks. You are now an employee of an NFL team; cashing a paycheck bigger than any of your college pals their first year out of school. This is a lifestyle only a fractional percent of people can tell from a first person perspective, and now as a rookie you are living the dream.
The transition to the professional level is challenging, expectations are high and this is now your “career” and no longer just a “game.” Rookies form bonds as the “new kids,” eating together in the cafeteria and holding study sessions with their playbooks. They lean on one another during times of doubt, helping one another through adversity, and keeping the confidence levels up with the type of talent surrounding them.
There was a reason they were drafted by the Eagles or signed as an undrafted free agent rookie. Many were the best player on their respected team, some were captains and others showed enough on film and with their athleticism to earn a camp invite.
Prior to last season; Chip knew about the differences from the college level to the pros from stories he heard from former players and coaches/football people he knew with NFL experience. In 2013, Chip not only coached at the professional level, but he had the opportunity to observe all of the mental, emotional and physical triumphs that rookies endure in their first professional season.
Chip will not publicly address the notion that rookies need “special treatment.” Rookies saw plenty of action on the football field last year, so by no means does he doubt that their talent can contribute in year one. What Chip has admitted, is that he relies on his veteran players, he arranges meetings, practices and off the field activities to provide the rookies a mentoring opportunity from guys who truly understand what it takes to be successful both on and off the field as a NFL player.
Last season Chip was experiencing everything for the first time much like the 2013 rookie class. He relied heavily on his coaching staff and players like Avant, Celek, Ryans and Cole to take the lead with areas he needed to get a better feel for.
This season Chip has the “data” that he often will refer to, and this data can be used to provide feedback and advice to rookies. Kelly is no longer a college coach coming to the professional level in the eyes of the 2014 rookie class. He not only has one year under his belt, but the success that he demonstrated motivates the first year pros, giving them proof that hard work and confidence does translate to the next level of football.
Chip did a remarkable job last season with re-building a locker room atmosphere where teammates supported one another and wanted to win as a “team.” He did so when tenured NFL players were introduced to a new style of football and training program and had questions if what worked at Eugene Oregon could also succeed in Philadelphia.
Having only one season in the books may still have people wondering what Chip will do when the other coaches around the league watch video, study habits and adjust to what we witnessed in 2013. In terms of the rookies, Chip provides them with a success story.
He is more than just a coach, but a man who walked similar steps, to those they prepare to follow in for the very first time.
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