Is Kelly Closer To Finalizing Coaching Staff?

MOBILE, Ala. – The practice field at Ladd Peebles Stadium was emptying out when Chip Kelly strolled over to a group of reporters.

The Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. is where the different arms of the NFL connect. You’ll see coaches like Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier catching up in the bleachers. Drew Rosenhaus walking around on his cell phone, looking to pick up a new client or two. Scouts and GMs keeping an eye on prospects. And college kids looking to get to the next level.

For Kelly, this marks his first offseason as an NFL head coach. He looked right at home, talking shop with Nick Saban one minute. And catching up with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin the next.

After being officially introduced on Thursday, Kelly’s in the process of finalizing his staff. No names have been announced, but we saw plenty of guys with Philadelphia Eagles credentials hanging from their neck today.

Jerry Azzinaro was one of them. We wrote about the defensive line coach over the weekend. Rick Minter, rumored to be taking over as linebackers coach, also had an Eagles tag on.

The indication Monday was that Kelly would announce his staff all together, once everybody’s in place.

“That’s why the process takes a little time,” Kelly explained. “Because if you haven’t worked with them before and you don’t know people that really have worked with them that you trust, then it’s just more getting a feel for what they’re all about. And that’s a wide range of topics.”

Perhaps the most important hire for Kelly will be defensive coordinator. Giants linebackers coach Jim Herrmann has withdrawn his name from consideration. Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com is reporting that 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell could be a candidate.

Asked for one characteristic he is looking for out of a defensive coordinator, Kelly joked, “Shutout-ability. That would be the one overriding quality. And I have no idea how we can define that, but that’s actually a pretty good word right there.”

Later, he explained that he’s trying to talk to candidates about a number of different things: their core defensive philosophy, what they think about specific situations like red zone and third down and how they would want to use their allotted roster spots.

On the offensive side of the ball, Pat Shurmur was in attendance and appeared to be part of the Eagles’ contingent. On the surface, Shurmur would seem like an odd fit as potential offensive coordinator, given that his background is in the west coast offense. Kelly was asked if he is looking for people similar to himself.

“Oh, God no,” he said, before the reporter had even finished the question. “I think you need a lot of different personalities. I think if not, everything’s the same. And I think for you to flourish, there’s a lot of different things you need. You need really, really smart people. I think you need people that are dedicated. And sometimes, you need people that are just a little bit off too, so it’s a rare combination. But I don’t want everybody to be the same because I don’t think we’d grow as a group. I think we need to challenge each other.”

While many have speculated that the Eagles’ offense under Kelly could resemble what he ran at Oregon, he’s been quick to point out that he plans on adapting to personnel.

“We’re trying to paint everybody with one brush,” Kelly said of potential coordinators. “They’re not all tied to just one scheme. I think you need to have people that have some versatility because your starting quarterback may be able to run your scheme, and your backup quarterback may not. So you don’t just throw your hands up in the first quarter when he ‘s out and say, ‘We’re in trouble now.’ You’ve got to be able to adapt. That’s what I think the fun part of coaching is – being able to identify what your personnel can do, and then play to their strengths.”

Other notes:

* Eagles senior college scout Greg Gabriel, who was hired last June, was in attendance.

* According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, Juan Castillo will join the Ravens as a consultant for the next two weeks and then be their run-game coordinator next season.

* Matthew Harper, an Oregon graduate assistant coach, was also part of the Eagles’ contingent.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • dislikedisqus

    I see on philly.com he said he won’t run NFL practices as he did college ones.

  • UKEagle99

    Gratz Juan! What the hell is a run game co-ordinator? I’m an Iggles fan so clearly that is something you need after you have thrown the ball a gazillion times, we never had or needed one that’s for sure!! If it is what it sounds like then who will be their pass game co-ordinator? Can I get a job as punt co-ordinator? I’m ready… “Oi Koch we’re up, kick the ball as far as you can!”

    • miked718

      OL coach + higher salary = Run Game Cord.

  • docboy75

    Any idea in what capacity is McGovern going to be in? Since he was the LB ciach from BC…

    • docboy75

      Coach**

  • ICDogg

    I see Juan Castillo is working for the Ravens now as a “consultant”… probably will stay next year with them in some capacity.

    • ICDogg

      oops, that’s already written above. Oh well.

      Anyway, good for him.

  • xlGmanlx

    Please be targeting someone from the ravens/49ers staff to run the D.

    • The Guru

      First intelligent thing I’ve heard you say on this site in 6 months. Congrats!

  • Ray

    I see the Ravens romping the Niners, there’s just something about this veteran team…

  • Graham

    Shurmur seems like a good choice for OC, good job so far Chip. Let’s see a DC get put in place and seem how this team looks…… It’s exciting because with a whole new leadership and a whole different motivator for the 53 guys, I’m excited to see what Chip can get out of these young guys, maybe they play more to their potential and really surprise us, as all of us eagles fans imagine. It seems the leadership and motivation had become stale, maybe this new coaching staff will light a fire under a group of guys who, IMO, have a TON of potential

    • Graham

      besides the secondary, but who really knows right? Coaching is so crucial, what if they got more out of NA and KC (doubtful)…. and possible adjusted schemes to suit DRC and let Nnamdi walk

      • Absecon

        I agree and think the secondary may be 100 improved even if there are no changes, just based on coaching and a new start scheme wise. Did anyone else notice all the wide-open receivers and blown coverages so far during the playoffs?! Even this past weekend, and those teams made it to the championship round! Tells you something…..

        • Absecon

          should be “100 percent”

          • Graham

            Yup, lol it will be funny to see if NA and KC turn into players that shouldn’t be on the bench. Who knows right? No one knows what kind of potential those guys have

  • jon h

    Sf dback coach makes sense – have you seen their secondary cover and TACKLE? Hire him on those creds alone

    • Anebriated

      I don’t mind us looking at the guy but to say his safeties can cover might be a tough sell. Did you see goldson get burned vs Atlanta a few times? Still a good name to have in the mix.

  • Bart

    Sheil, you quoted Chip saying “We’re trying to paint everybody with one brush,” if you listen closely to the interview he says “people I think again try to paint everybody with one brush”. So he means the opposite of what you stated.

  • MrEagleNC

    What about Mike Singletary as EAGLES new Defensive Cordinator?

  • Chad

    I like that he says he doesn’t want everyone to think exactly like him. Andy only wanted yes men e.g. Marty