COMMENTARY | Although new Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is in his first year as Philadelphia's new coach, the Eagles' fan base expects positive change as quick as Kelly plans to run his up-tempo offense. With the pressures the fan base and the media are putting on Kelly to succeed, Kelly seems to have the intangibles and qualities to succeed in the demanding media and fan market that is Philadelphia for years to come.
Two years ago, Kelly met with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots coaching staff to discuss his play calling philosophy during his tenure at the University of Oregon. In Greg A. Bedard's article, his sources tell him Kelly discussed the rationale of teaching his one-word offensive philosophy where one word describes the entire play call. In 2011, the Patriots scored 513 points, averaging 32.1 points per game while running 1,082 plays. Kelly had a helping hand in providing New England with their second 500 point season. ''Certainly I've learned a lot from talking to Chip about his experiences with it and how he does it and his procedure and all that',' Belichick said of Chip Kelly's visit with the coaching staff in Bedard's article. A coach like Bill Belichick does not take advice from everyone, but he took heed to the words Kelly said and implemented Kelly's idea into his system.
Kelly acquired a 46-7 (.868) record during his four year tenure as Oregon's head coach, where he coached future NFL players like LaMichael James, Josh Kaddu, Casey Matthews, T.J Ward, Ed Dickson and Walter Thurmond. Some of these players (Dickson, James) have been more successful in their NFL careers than others (Kaddu, Matthews), but the constant is Kelly. Collegiate programs of yesteryear were dominated because of their superior athletes. The University of Miami's dominance in my lifetime peaked during the early 2000s when NFL stars like Sean Taylor, Willis McGahee, Andre Johnson, Ed Reed, Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, Jonathan Vilma, Vince Worfolk and Bryant McKinnie attended school in Coral Gables, Florida. When the University of Southern California challenged Miami for collegiate dominance, USC had future NFL players like Reggie Bush, Brian Cushing, Fred Davis, Clay Matthews, Terrell Thomas and Troy Polamalu. Kelly did not have the collegiate talent that these programs had during their reign, but that did not stop Kelly from a National Championship appearance and wins in his last two bowl games.
During Kelly's tenure at Oregon, his focus from season to season and game to game has always been running the ball. In 2012, Oregon had four tailbacks rush for over 400 yards, including a 1,700 yard rusher in Kenjon Barner, and two more tailbacks run for over 700 yards in a 4,098 yard season. The year prior, Oregon ran for 4,189 yards with LaMichael James running for 1,805 yards, Barner running for 939 yards and four other tailbacks running over 200 yards. Kelly likes to run the rock in an up-tempo manner, and that translates to success in the National Football League. Washington, Minnesota, Seattle and San Francisco were ranked in the top four in rushing yards per game this past season. All four teams made the playoffs with San Francisco representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. In 2011, the New York Giants were ranked last in the league running the football during the regular season but like Dan Graziano suggests in this article, the Giants found a way to run the football in the postseason, averaging 116.5 yards a game in route to their Super Bowl title.
Success in the NFL is predicated on running the football, providing the tools for your team to succeed based on their skill level and adapting to the copycat league the NFL is. Chip Kelly has these qualities and then some, even giving coaching advice to a five time Super Bowl champion. Looks like success in the making to me.
Matthew Gould follows the professional Philadelphia baseball (Phillies), basketball (Sixers) and football (Eagles) teams passionately, producing a blog for them called OneLibertyPlace. His Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Seton Hall University and his passion for sports fittingly blend together.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Chip Kelly
- Bill Belichick