Coaching Buzz: Kelly, Banner And More

In case you missed it, we’ve started a special Coaching Buzz section here at Birds 24/7.

You’ll find everything we write about Andy Reid’s expected departure and Jeffrey Lurie’s coaching search right there. That includes links, rumors and notes on potential candidates.

Yesterday, we shared some information on Oregon’s Chip Kelly. There’s an interesting debate among some very smart football people about whether he’ll be successful in the NFL.

Chris Brown from Grantland has written about Kelly extensively over the years. In his most recent piece, Brown explains how Kelly has managed to take old-school ideas to form an innovative offensive approach:

“Every coach has to ask himself the same question: ‘What do you want to be?'” Kelly said at a recent clinic. “That is the great thing about football. You can be anything you want. You can be a spread team, I-formation team, power team, wing-T team, option team, or wishbone team. You can be anything you want, but you have to define it.” That definition is evident in Oregon. Kelly’s choice of a no-huddle spread offense drips from every corner of the impressive practice facilities in Eugene. Oregon does not run a no-huddle offense so much as they are a no-huddle program.

For all of the hype surrounding Oregon games, Oregon practices might be even better. Oregon practices are filled with blaring music and players sprinting from drill to drill. Coaches interact with players primarily through whistles, air horns, and semi-communicative grunts. Operating under the constraint of NCAA-imposed practice time limits, Kelly’s sessions are designed around one thing: maximizing time. Kelly’s solution is simple: The practice field is for repetitions. Traditional “coaching” — correcting mistakes, showing a player how to step one way or another, or lecturing on this or that football topic — is better served in the film room.

The entire article is definitely worth your time.

Meanwhile, Mike Tanier of Sports On Earth goes the other way, suggesting that Kelly will likely flop in the NFL:

All of which is fascinating, because Kelly might as well wear a sweatshirt that reads: “College Coach Who Will Flop in the NFL.” He doesn’t set off your Spurrier Radar (or SpurriDar), then you don’t have SpurriDar. If you were trying to create an exceptional college coach who is completely unsuited to the NFL, all you would need is Kelly’s DNA and resume.

And finally, Chase Stuart of takes issue with the idea that Kelly would be another Steve Spurrier, pointing out that Oregon has never had a top-10 recruiting class under him:

Instead, the real question is whether Kelly is a better option than what’s behind door number 1 (NFL retread) or door number 2 (NFL hotshot assistant). Are those doors any safer? Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden may be available — or may not be available — but history is littered with successful coaches who failed the second time around — and remember, no coach has ever won Super Bowls with two different teams. Are Wade Phillips, Andy Reid, Jason Garrett, or Norv Turner the type of coaches that would make you feel more comfortable hiring than Kelly? Eric Mangini, Raheem Morris, Hue Jackson or Jack Del Rio?

The other main option is to go the hotshot coordinator route, which might leave you salivating over Rob Ryan and Ray Horton, who have coached strong, aggressive defenses in Dallas and Arizona, but have no experience as the top dog. Kyle Shanahan is doing a nice job in Washington with Robert Griffin III and Mike McCoy is succeeding with Peyton Manning in Denver, but does that make them safe bets? Perry Fewell is the Giants defensive coordinator and is well-respected, but does that make him a safe bet?

The debate will rage on for months. Be sure to choose your side before January.

Meanwhile, Joe Banner sat down with the Cleveland Plain-Dealer for a wide-ranging one-on-one interview. Here’s what he said when asked for the qualities he looks for in a head coach:

When we hired Andy Reid in Philadelphia we did a study on every coach who had led a team to two Super Bowls (appearances) to find the common denominator. We went in looking for things like offensive philosophy, did they come from defense, did they come from college? Had they been a coordinator? We found nothing. Then we accidentally realized they were all exactly the same when we took football out of the equation — they were all incredibly strong leaders, they all had hired great staffs, they managed them well and were all very detail-oriented.

As friend of the blog Sam Lynch pointed out on Twitter, Banner worked side-by-side with Lurie for that study. And while Reid has not brought home the Lombardi Trophy, few (sane people, that is) would argue that he was not a good hire. So that last sentence about the qualities Banner’s looking for will likely carry weight this time around for the Eagles.

Banner spoke about a variety of other topics. He said his preference is for the coach to have final say on all personnel matters. He also said he would watch film and be involved in the draft process.

I don’t think the Eagles drafted a guy that I haven’t watched. I’ll watch all of the top guys and any free agent we’re thinking of signing. Later in the draft, they might give me five guys to watch that could be available in the sixth round. I also go to the Senior Bowl and the Indianapolis combine, but I’m also there to develop relationships with agents and people in the league.

And it seems clear that he was probably not on board with the initial Juan Castillo promotion. Banner said a weakness in the league “is people’s inclinations to hire people they know or they feel safe with.” Much more in there that sheds light on Banner’s role in Philadelphia and the Eagles’ organizational philosophy.

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  • Mac

    When I put together the notes on leadership, staff, management, and detail orientation… that sounds like Chip Kelly. Not sure on the staff part, but evidently he has managed his staff in such a way as to teach (what I’m guessing are) old dogs new tricks (with his coaches).

    • Devilock

      Problem I see with Chip Kelly is that he’s a 1 trick pony. 1 trick ponies do well in the league….until someone figures them out.

      • Mac

        Could be… I honestly haven’t studied him or his offense much. Most of what I’ve read is about his “system” of doing things. Single word play calling and audibles to maximize efficiency. Trying to squeeze every ounce out of each minute of practice that is available. etc.

        My expectation would be that he would take those methods and apply them to an offense that is more appropriate for the pro game. Besides, if he really wants to run his Oregon offense in the NFL he is going to select a team with the right QB to run it which would probably mean Carolina (who will also likely be looking for a coach).

        If he is a one trick pony I certainly hope he goes elsewhere. It would be fun to watch some run/throw threat QB have one amazing season like you said until everyone on defense figures out how to deal with it.

  • LostInChiTown

    For all his faults, Andy was great hire. One of the major reasons for his success was his early year hires. Think of the great initial staff he put together – Gruden, Rivera, Johnson. As a guy who’d been in the league a while, he had great connections with really talented coaches waiting for their next move up. Does Chip Kelly come with any of that?

    I like Chicago’s special teams coach Dave Toub. He was Andy’s special teams/quality control coach for three years and now coaches the best special teams in the country in Chicago. He knows how to motivate players and could bring great coaching talent from the Bears defensive staff. He’s also seen how to build a lasting program.

    • In case you didn’t know, Gruden was not on Andy Reids staff. He was the OC for Ray Rhodes and left in 1998 to coach the Raiders. Reid didn’t start coaching the Eagles until 1999 when he hired Brad Childress as his OC.

      • LostInChiTown

        Thanks for the correction. I knew he worked with Gruden, but it was at Green Bay – not Philly. Still, Reid gave John Harbaugh and Leslie Frazier their first NFL coaching gigs and both have turned out to be great NFL coaches, and probably an underrated aspect of Reid’s success in his first years. I think the importance of having a good staff of coaches can’t be overstated. Hopefully whoever the Eagle’s bring in has the same success.

        After his assistants started getting hired away for promotions, Reid started hiring lesser talent with a bigger name or splashier resume – see Bobby April, Special Teams Guru. Nothing was the same after that.

        • GoBirds1

          you are an idiot. Get your facts straight before you shoot your mouth off!

          • LostInChiTown

            Nice. I appreciate your opinion regarding the topic at hand.

        • Warhound

          Hmmm… I remember Brad as the first QB Coach. Wasn’t Pat Shurmur the first OC?

          • LostInChiTown

            Shurmur started as the tight ends position coach, then became quarterbacks. Not sure about Childress. Was he QB coach and OC??

  • Beavis

    The best line in the Grantland article was this:

    “(A) Chip Kelly–coached NFL team would win for the same reasons that the Chip Kelly–coached college team wins. Behind the speed, the spread, the Daft Punk helmets, and the flashy uniforms, Oregon ultimately wins with old-fashioned, fundamental, run-it-up-the-gut football. I think everyone, even fans of the spread offense, can appreciate that.”

  • Big Red Hater

    no, tubby was a great hire if he left 5 years ago, now its down to good, soon it will an ok hire. lets look at his legacy, 1 super bowl appearance in 14 years is not great, can’t stop throwing the ball when he should be running, can’t manage the clock yet, can’t find a d coordinator after johnson, etc.

    Sean Payton was a great hire, Bill Belichek was a great hire…not Reid.

    • FMWarner

      Forgive us if your use of “tubby” as a nickname makes us not take your opinion seriously.

      • Tubby Must Go

        I forgive you my son.

    • Loke2112

      I agree with you and it’s fine with me if you call him Tubby.

  • Darby Township Eagle

    Why have Chip Kelly as coach of the Eagles? Two words: “fastbreak football.” Even the losses would be more exciting.