Chip Kelly's first year in Philadelphia was a great success.
The Eagles were second in the NFL in yards, behind a Denver Broncos team that had arguably the greatest offense ever. They were fourth in points. They led the NFL in rushing offense by more than 16 yards per game, and quarterback Nick Foles' 119.2 rating was the third best in NFL history, two points better than Tom Brady's historic 2007 season. Even better, the team got better in all phases as the season went on and won the NFC East.
Not a bad first year in the NFL for the coach who had no pro experience coming from Oregon. The offense is known for its fast tempo, but it's more than that, with the Eagles attacking defenses where they are out-manned and using a variety of motions and formations to throw them off.
And before the season, Kelly had no idea if it would work.
“I wasn’t confident,” Kelly told the media, via the News Journal in Delaware. “I had a system and a plan that we were going to go in [with], but I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be until it was all finished.”
The signs of a smart coach is being flexible with his ideas to make them work with the personnel he has. Kelly did a tremendous job with that in his first year. The offense the Eagles ran with Michael Vick wasn't the same as they ran with Foles. With Foles there were more advanced passing concepts to take advantage of his accuracy from the pocket.
And it wasn't the same offense Kelly ran in the Pac-12, either.
“[The offense] was put together by a bunch of guys on our staff who are really smart, and [it] played to our players’ strengths,” Kelly said. “If we have a different set of players, then the offense would look different. This offense didn’t look like it looked when I was at Oregon.”
There's no question about Kelly's NFL ability anymore. If there is anyone left under the impression his offense is full of college tricks, they're missing out. The Eagles are fun to watch. They're a couple good drafts and a handful of free-agent signings from being a real contender in the NFL.
The great news for Philadelphia fans who desperately want a Super Bowl is it looks like the Eagles hired a coach that can get them there.
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