A Chip Kelly Teaching Moment: ‘Both Of You Shut-Up’

MOBILE, Ala. – Kyle Long remembers the teaching moment quite well.

Oregon was getting ready for its Fiesta Bowl matchup against Kansas State. During practice, the Ducks ran a screen, but execution was far from perfect. Long and his buddy, tight end Colt Lyerla, went to block the same defender.

After the play, they started arguing over who screwed up. That’s when Chip Kelly stepped in.

“Chip ran over and said, ‘Both of you shut-up. Get over here,’” Long recalls. “And he had this smirk on his face. I knew something good was coming. He always has this little paper in his back pocket. He pulls it out and draws a square.”

A pizza box, Kelly explained. Then he drew a circle. That was the pie. Kelly divided the pie into slices and wrote Long and Lyerla’s initials on them.

“He says, ‘What happens if I take your pizza, Kyle? Are you going to cry about it? Or are you going to take the other piece of pizza?’” Long said. “And that’s how he explained who to block on this one play.”

The message was simple. Things are not always going to go perfectly on the field. But don’t hesitate. Rely on your instincts and play fast.

“You move on, nothing stops,” Long said. “Go fast, don’t think too much, play football.”

Kelly’s relationship with his players was one reason he was hesitant initially to jump to the NFL. During his introductory press conference, the new Eagles head coach said multiple times that he loves football because it’s about people. Now, he’ll work on getting a new group of people to buy in.

“Coach Kelly is there for his players,” Long, who has had some off-the-field issues, said.

“I feel like a lot of coaches aren’t really present with their players and don’t know what’s going on in the locker room, don’t know what’s going on outside of football. Coach Kelly has a great understanding of what his players are all about.”

Both Long and running back Kenjon Barner described Kelly as a players’ coach. But they made it clear that he could lay down the law when necessary.

“He definitely takes care of that [discipline],” Barner said. “There’s been ample times at Oregon where guys have gotten out of line and they have to answer to him. It’s not usually good. It’s like getting called to the principal’s office when you’re in high school or junior high. You get that call, and you know it’s trouble.”

While both of Oregon’s Senior Bowl representatives are offensive players, Barner said Kelly is far from one-dimensional. The Eagles have yet to name a defensive coordinator. And while Kelly has said that he won’t be looking over the shoulder of his assistants on gamedays, expect him to be involved in all aspects of the team’s game-planning.

“There were plenty of times where he just completely disappeared from the offensive side of the ball,” Barner said. “He was down on the defensive end. We were kind of like ‘Where’s Coach Kelly?’ so he’s very involved.”

Long, meanwhile, was asked about the possibility of playing for Kelly in the NFL.

“That’d be cool,” he said. “But he might have wanted to just be done with me.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • eagles2zc

    I wonder what CK would have thought of King Dunlap jogging up the field without really blocking anyone on stretch plays this past season

    • Myke Lowery

      obviously he’d draw pizzas on defenders and tell Dunlap to eat them up

      • Københavner

        Good one

      • http://www.facebook.com/luke.mrzljak Luke Ivan

        gotheeeeeeeem

      • dislikedisqus

        Every time you say pizza, coach, i don’t know, but my brain just stops working and all I can think about is pizza, pizza, pizza.

      • Run Eagles Run

        best comment ever on 24/7, so far. slow clap.

    • BrickSquadMonopoly

      Probably more than AR would have thought. A thought at all would suffice.

  • eagle fan dwn south

    I believe alot of tempers will fly this year in training camp

    • Myke Lowery

      I get that feeling too.mostly from not buying into the “college” coach

      • PhEaglesPhan

        Agreed, like when Jenkins snapped back at Reid on the sidelines, Reid should have tore him a new Ahole but he took it like a b*tch. I hope CK rips these vets apart, they need to get their heads back in the game and not constantly thinking about their smug paychecks. Rookies will follow after watching a vet get chewed out.

  • Mr. Magee

    “That’d be cool… But he might have wanted to just be done with me.” Good one! Just guessing, but I bet Kelly likes humble players.

    • QuackQuack

      He likes players. He likes characters. But he demands you work your tail off. I went to practices at OR before they were closed to the public and it was something else. He’s a great coach and a great person, but very private. We’ll miss him here in Eugene, but many of the reporters won’t because he wouldn’t massage their egos..

  • xlGmanlx

    Like what I read from both Long and Kelly. I might just join Kelly “all in” and just let myself get swept away by it all

    • The Guru

      Kelly or Mike Nolan? Bahahaha

  • djack10

    going to be the most entertaining camp in a long time. these guys are all playing for jobs this year. well, except maybe mccoy, peters and ryans. they will be laying the wood to make an impression.

  • metaReign

    Somebody who misses their assignments is going to get a piece of the pie, yeah it’s a learning curve. Again, it’s the NFL side of business, those personnel have no choice but to buy in or find themselves below the practice squad. Kelly is not going to care what talents there are, they’re either on his level or not, take your position seriously but don’t sit on the bench, better go under it.

    Idk honestly what happen to the locker room, hell they weren’t on AR level, all year-long. And he doesn’t have a group of a hundred players at his disposal, as Kelly had at Oregon. Alot of factors played in, personnel sees more then 1 person at the helm of command. They have the HC, Coordinators, Assistants, and then there’s representing agents. But we also need to remember, there weren’t any leader(s) to lead the team. Supposedly Vick was the leader, the team looked to. Without that leadership, problems starts to arise, doubts sets in and fear for their safety. At the end of the day, it’s business as usual and there’s a need to have a good leader to keep the business running smoothly.

  • hartyattack

    “uhmmm. I would have punched him in the face if he took my pizza coach. So who am I supposed to block again?”