Chip Kelly is Embracing Eagles History and Tradition
by Jerome's Friend
A guy from New Hampshire by way of Oregon is not obligated to embrace Philadelphia. It can be too easy for the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles to focus entirely on the job, bury himself in the smallest details, and begin establishing his legacy. Chip Kelly is not that guy. I admit I was fearful he would be. The Philadelphia Eagles franchise is inescapably rich in history and tradition and needs a head coach willing to embrace that. Thankfully, Chip Kelly has.
As he walked down the aisle during his introductory press conference, enveloped by shades of green, gray, and silver, he not only walked by the reporters eager to hear from him. He passed large images of Chuck Bednarik, Wilbert Montgomery, and Tommy McDonald, the presence of which, in some ways, loomed larger than the media’s. Bednarik’s crushing hit on Frank Gifford still reverberates, the 1960 NFL Championship leaves fans ever-thirsty for a Super Bowl, and of course, Andy Reid’s legacy lingers. After introductory remarks from Jeffrey Lurie and Kelly, Sal Paolantonio asked Kelly about how confident he was coming into an organization with as much history as the Eagles. It was the question I had been waiting for. Kelly responded deftly and decisively, with eagerness and enthusiasm:
“From Tommy McDonald to Chuck Bednarik to Reggie (White), there (have) been some unbelievable people here. I have a saying that I learned a long time ago that is, ‘We can see farther than other people right now because we stand on the shoulders of the people who came before us.’ When you just walk into this building and you see these pictures, it really makes you do a double take. But it also makes you understand that every time you come to work there’s a standard of excellence that this organization stands for. And I’ve got to hold that up and I’ve got to live up to that every single day. It kind of keeps you on your toes and it makes you understand what this place is all about. That’s what excites me. I don’t know what the future holds from that standpoint but I know that this organization is one of the top organizations in all of sports, not just football. I don’t take that responsibility lightly.”
Later that evening, Brian Dawkins was being honored at the Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philly. Again, it would have been easy for Kelly to remain in his office and work on rounding out his first NFL coaching staff. Instead, he paid Dawkins a visit and offered his congratulations. It was not lost on Kelly that Dawkins represented the kind of defense Kelly would like to see return to Philadelphia. Known for his aggressive and attacking offensive philosophy, Kelly expects the same from his defense:
“We’re going to be an attacking style defense. It’s going to be a group of people who dictates the tempo of the game. What that spacing is in terms of is it a 4-3 spacing or 3-4 spacing, I think it’s, again, looking at our roster and understanding who I have the opportunity to bring here. I can’t tell you that we’re going to be this or going to be that, but I know the style of football that we’re going to play and I know the style of players that I want to have out there. We’re going to play fast, we’re going to play hard, and we’re going to finish plays.”
Often in education you hear the concept, “withitness”. To be “with it” means to have an awareness of what’s going on in all areas of the classroom at all times, as demonstrated by the behaviors and actions of the teacher rather than just words. It’s an apt concept because of Kelly’s teaching style of coaching. In just one day on the job, Chip Kelly has demonstrated that he is indeed with it. More importantly, in an organization ripe with history and tradition, in a city thick with culture and hungry for a championship, Kelly has shown us that he actually “gets it.”
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