Chip Kelly's 'football mind' critical in transition to NFL
Jeffrey Lurie emphasized that the Eagles hired "a brilliant football mind." When I asked around about Chip Kelly, discussion didn't center around the offensive system he ran at Oregon. It was about his mind.
From the outset of the coaching search, the Eagles targeted Chip Kelly. After 16 days that included an aggressive pursuit of the Oregon coach followed by Kelly deciding to stay with the Ducks, Kelly had a change of heart and accepted an offer to come to the Eagles. Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman got their man.
There will be much time during the next few days for dissection and analysis, but a few points to cover now:
1) The Eagles hired a mind, not a system
Lurie emphasized that the Eagles hired "a brilliant football mind." When I asked around about Kelly, discussion didn't center around the offensive system he ran at Oregon. It was about his mind, and how he can adapt. Kelly's teams are meant to play fast, maximize the amount of plays in a game, and identify and exploit mismatches.
Kelly might not be able to run the Oregon offense in the NFL. But the Eagles didn't hire him for the Oregon offense. They wanted Kelly's mind, which is universally praised. And they figure he'll be able to adapt.
2) Pay attention to Kelly's staff -- especially his defensive coordinator
Kelly's background was actually on defense, but he's made his name on offense. In fact, his defensive coordinator at Oregon said that in four years, Kelly's never changed a call. Kelly will need to hire a strong defensive coordinator who knows the NFL. The Eagles defense needs help, and a fresh, authoritative voice will be important for Kelly's success.
3) How Kelly works with Howie Roseman will be critical
Before the Eagles recruited Kelly, Kelly said he had twice met Roseman on scouting trips. So there was a relationship prior to the meetings. Now, Kelly and Roseman must work together to rebuild a flawed roster that went 4-12 last season. As The Inquirer's Jeff McLane reported, Kelly did not require full control. The Eagles did not want to give full control. Kelly will report to Lurie. So will Roseman. They will work together to make roster decisions. But this is a roster that needs a lot of help, and both Kelly and Roseman have much to prove.