Reaction To Chip Kelly’s Coaching Staff

There has been plenty of buzz since Chip Kelly officially announced his staff on Friday. We rounded up some of that reaction for your reading pleasure.

First off, if you haven’t already make sure you dive into Sheil’s breakdown (with help from the All-22) of the “4-3 under” that new defensive coordinator Billy Davis has used in the past. In this hybrid scheme there is a position called the Predator, which is essentially an outside linebacker/defensive end that almost exclusively rushes the passer.

Dan Graziano talks about that position and more.

In this arrangement, the Eagles’ “predator” could be either Trent Cole or Brandon Graham. Either one fits the mold as a pure pass-rusher with a great first step and, especially in Graham’s case, a high motor. I’m not sure either of those guys translates to the strong-side linebacker role in this scheme, and Mychal Kendricks seems suited to the weak-side linebacker role. They may need to find a more traditional stand-up linebacker and either rotate or decide between Cole and Graham, since you have to think Cullen Jenkins and Fletcher Cox are the ends and the nose tackle is someone not yet on the roster.

Another interesting aspect has to do with veteran middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who would remain an extremely important player in a scheme such as this. It’s true that one of the reasons the Texans traded Ryans to the Eagles was that he’d become an imperfect fit once they switched to a 3-4, but that had more to do with Ryans’ salary and the emergence of fellow linebacker Brian Cushing as a superior three-down option than it did Ryans’ ability to play the scheme. And if Davis runs a system similar to the one he ran in Arizona, Ryans takes on a vital dirty-work role.

Tommy Lawlor gives a thoughtful take on the new staff, while zoning in on the O-line coach:

Hiring OL coach Jeff Stoutland came as a real surprise.  He did a phenomenal job at Alabama, developing the nation’s best OL this year.  The most interesting tie-in with Stoutland is that he was the OC at Cornell in the early 90′s when their QB was a kid named Bill Lazor.  Getting a coach like Stoutland is a real coup.  He was given Grade-A talent at Alabama and delivered a great O-line.  Some may question how he’ll do with Chip Kelly’s system.  Chris Brown, who runs SmartFootball.com, said on Twitter a while back that “Chip Kelly’s top run plays — inside zone, outside zone & power (guard pull) — are same Trent Richardson ran at Alabama.”  I would say that Stoutland and Kelly will be an excellent match in terms of style and system.

Reuben Frank cautions against jumping to conclusions about Kelly’s assistants simply because they lack star power.

The Eagles’ success from 2000 through 2008 was due in great part to Andy Reid’s original staff. When those guys gradually began leaving for promotions — Ron Rivera, Leslie Frazier, John Harbaugh, Brad Childress, Steve Spagnuolo, Shurmur — on top of the tragic death of Jim Johnson, that’s when the Eagles stopped enjoying the same level of success and gradually turned into a last-place team.

When Reid announced those guys, the names certainly didn’t blow anybody away, and the reaction was much the same as it’s been the last couple weeks, as Kelly’s hires have been revealed one by one.

Shurmur had been an offensive line coach at Stanford. Frazier was head coach at obscure Trinity College, where he started up the program. Spags was coaching in the World League, of all places. Rivera had just returned to the NFL after five years in private business. Harbs was an unknown special teams coach, still 13 years from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.  Offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower was the ultimate journeyman coach, in his 14th job in 28 years. Even the legendary Johnson hadn’t had a unit ranked higher than 18th during his two years as an NFL defensive coordinator, 1996 and 1997 with the Colts.

But put it all together, and it worked.

Much of the talk has been about Navy Seal trainer turned Eagles Sports Science Coordinator Shaun Huls. Lindsay Jones of USA Today looks for the meaning behind the move:

Since the Eagles lured Kelly away from Oregon last month, the NFL world has been wondering how Kelly would implement his innovative college system, with his high-paced practices and up-tempo offense, in the NFL.

Hiring Huls appears to be part of that plan. While other teams have dabbled with alternative training programs — the Denver Broncos, for example, gutted their training room after hiring a new strength coach last year — the Eagles are thought to be the first to add a Sports Science Coordinator in an official capacity.

Kelly has previous experience with Navy SEAL training. In 2011, he put his Oregon team through a program called “Judgment Day” led by a former SEALs trainer, and in 2010 told The New York Times how much he admired military-style training.

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  • The Guru

    People are underwhelmed not because of star power, but because of of the lack of NFL experience. And the guys who do have NFL experience have been down right awful when they’ve had a chance to show what they can do (Shurmur, Davis). All I hear is “wait and see and everything will work out great”….but not to be skeptical of everything since Kelly’s hire is foolish. The track record of coaches with no NFL experience succeeding the the pros in not good. And i truly hope I’m wrong, but so far nothing has been done in the last 5 weeks to prove this team is headed in the right direction….except cutting Demetrius Bell (thank god).

    • Mostel

      Shurmur was FAR from awful. He had Sam Bradford playing the best football of his career as the OC in St. Louis and the Richardson / Weeden / Gordon combo was hitting it’s stride in Cleveland before Shurmur was fired for no reason other than change.

      • The Guru

        9-23 record says otherwise in Cleveland. That’s awful in my book.

        • atvcar

          How well did Bellacheat do in his stint in Cleveland? Think Craft made a good move ignoring his record?

          • The Guru

            36-44 is a FAR CRY from 9-23. And Belichick at least learned under Parcells for most of his career. That’s why the gamble worked.

          • atvcar

            Yeh, and who did Davis study under smart guy? Dom Capers any good??? You’re so full of it… I’d bet every penny you would have slammed Bellacheat being hired had he come here from Cleveland… Though I’m equally sure you won’t admit it!

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

          My god, You’re an annoying little thing.

          • The Guru

            Now that put me in my place. Wow

    • JofreyRice

      It is kind of weird that Kelly turned down the Browns job…so he could hire Browns coaches with the Eagles. The other guys are college coaches with little or no pro experience. It’s not like there were HOF NFL coordinators hanging around there, and as we saw with Spanguolo, or Martz, in the past, sometimes just hiring a big name guy doesn’t mean much; I mean, who would have imagined Jim Caldwell, who everyone largely thought was a figurehead HC in Indy would have been the guy to free Flacco up to play the best ball of his career? Of course, there are some cases where bringing in a big-name “fixer” worked, like Gregg Williams in NO.

      I’m staying optimistic for now, but it all depends on the talent they bring in; I just can’t get over this nagging feeling that Howie is not the right guy for the job. The whole thing should be interesting, at the very least, since it will be radically different than the Reid era.

      • The Guru

        We agree for the most part. But I think more than the promotion of Caldwell was the subtraction of Cam Cameron. Addition by subtraction. How Cameron keeps resurfacing is a complete mystery.

      • Bdawk20

        I am not a Howie fan at this point, but if we are to believe that the 2012 draft his all his, and the only one that is, then he can actually do this job.

        • Zachary Kahn

          I agree but that whole thing seems a little fishy. I think that was Luries way of justifying Roseman to the fans. He has to at least be partly responsible for the 2010 and 2011 drafts, otherwise wtf was he doing? The 2012 draft was a great one, lets hope he can continue to bring in good players.

        • MAC

          I hope it was his but the fact that Reid went to 5 NFC championships and was a solid player evaluator before Howie was here. Also the fact all the Eagles success in drafting and free agency was before Howie then we promote him and drafts and free agents have been questionable at best. It seems improbable that all of a sudden Reid got terrible at personnel evaluation and then last year Howie made all correct picks. Just the fact and time line do not add up to what Eagles are telling us. It’s Lurie’s job to make his decision on Howie look good. I am hoping that Howie really did do best job of talent evaluation like Lurie said, but definitely skeptical.

    • BrickSquadMonopoly

      I agree with MOST of your points and make a point to read a lot of your posts but sarcastic pessimism does not always get your point across in the most effective way. Just some food for thought

      • The Guru

        Noted…thx

    • The Guru

      You couldn’t be more right. I love that these 3-4 people try to single you out for stating your opinion. You’re a frustrated fan like I am and these moves inspire no confidence about this regime or coach. I don’t see your negative comments as a problem. They’re articulate and well thought out and the insults don’t happen until after someone starts the name calling. I don’t understand the school of thought that every move should be golf clapped just because “you’re a fan”. Not only is it permissible to question the team, I think it’s our responsibility.

      • GoBirds1

        Lets be realistic, if you are the an LB coach for the Ravens or DB coach with DC experience from San Fran, are you going to jump at this DC position. It is going to take a lot for the new DC to look good rebuilding this D and to get them to perform.The talent on the defense is minimal. The focus on the team rebuild could be heavily weighted to the offensive side even though need suggests the opposite. Horton moved quick and took the big money and I am sure Howie thought he could land one of the top two or three on their list. Guess what, it did not happen. And I promise you, Billy was not their first, second or third choice. But who knows, maybe he is the right guy. When it comes to Howie, I am hoping for a ton of luck, because we know he is not good.

  • Eaglesfan34

    I’m excited about all the changes it’s only gonna get better once the roster starts to take shape…can’t wait to see that

  • Chris

    I clicked on Tim’s link to Sheil’s All-22 post again and noticed the Safety (#31) in the box on the right side. Remember when one Safety always had run responsibility behind the Wide-9? Anyone else see this and get bad memories of Nnamdi being beaten over the top and then yelling at Allen or Coleman on the sideline?

    I really, really hope that the new coaches either figure this out or get new DBs.

    • JofreyRice

      IMO, there’s no “figuring out” Nnamdi, or the Safeties, they just need to be replaced. Hopefully Roseman is the right guy, or listens to Davis/Kelly’s input in getting the right guys.

  • jaubert

    A new era in NFL and the Eagles can lead the transition with youth, speed and intelligence.Don’t go short term solutions, especially at key positions, draft speed and teach them. Realease players liberally who don’ fit the coming into the new mind set.

  • atvcar

    Matt… Who was available that you wouldn’t have complained about? Answer… No one. When Reid formed his staff there wasn’t much nfl experience either. Did you complain then too? Fact is that you have no crystal ball… Are the odds long on initial success? Yes of course… But that would be true regardless of what coaching staff was hired taking over a 4-12 team. Capeesh?

    • The Guru

      I’ve stated many times the defensive coordinator I’d have gone after is Ray Horton. If you’re going to change to a 3-4, go after a guy who’s actually been successful with it. Or Ted Monachino. Or Jim Tomsula. Any of those 3 would have been good hires. Offensive coordinator I’d have gone after Ben McAdoo.

      You’re right I don’t have a crystal ball, but my complaint is why even bother hiring these stiffs who haven’t proven anything other than being complete failures? All the guys I mentioned could fall flat on their face too, but at least they were successful at one point in their career. I find it hard to believe I’m the only one upset at this. I also have a pretty good idea this time next year (and the year after), everyone will be leaning my direction.

      • atvcar

        But those people have to WANT to come here too… You assume so much. What purpose does complaining none stop serve? So when it fails you get to say “told you so”? That’s so easy… 32 to 1 in being correct… Way to go out on a limb!

        • Atvcar

          And the point was… It matters not WHO they brought in the coach one of the worst D’s in football with a terrible secondary that will take more than one year to fix… Reincarnate Bud Carson… They still won’t be good next year… Nuff said?

          • The Guru

            Actually, it does matter. And that’s the point that seems to fly right over your head.

          • Atvcar

            How can you PROVE that… Easy to say genius… Again, you’ll be right 31 out of 32 times… Want a cookie?

          • The Guru

            You seriously want proof that coordinator hires matter? Haha that’s a joke right?

          • atvcar

            No I want proof that who YOU wanted matters and would work

        • The Guru

          If they don’t WANT to take a promotion to a coordinator in this franchise, then that say more about the hire of Kelly. Did I say Super Bowl or Bust? Way to take a quantum leap there skippy.

          • Atvcar

            By the way for Horton it was a lateral move not a promotion… Nice try

          • The Guru

            Promotion in that he’s the highest paid coordinator in the game. And who WANTS to go to Cleveland?

          • Atvcar

            oh yeah… THAT’s what you meant… HAHA

          • The Guru

            I notice you just keep changing the subject. You going to address any of the points? Or is this just a fake name? Haha I see below, it is fake. How sad chump

      • Bob A

        Ray Horton probably hurt himself with his less than professional reaction to the Cards hiring Bruce Arians. The Browns eventually hired him, but the Cards had games where they gave up 50 points this year, so nothing is guaranteed.The available guys were pretty much, Davis , Ryan, Williams and Horton. Sure, you could hire a position coach from a good team, but that doesn’t mean he can make the jump. After we spent all of the last 2 years whining about Castillo’s credentials, we conveniently ignore the 21 years Davis has on that side of the ball. If Kelly feels that Davis fit his defensive philosophy more closely than anyone else, that’s fine. I’m sure he put more thought into it than any of us.

        • PhEaglesPhan

          Now this is great insight!

        • laeagle

          Ray Horton’s stats on yards and points per game were worse than Juan Castillo’s. So he might have hurt himself with that, too.

    • PhEaglesPhan

      Why in the hell did you have to direct a question to this goof!?

      Stop feeding this troll and hopefully he will go back to Cowboys 24/7 or whatever stank hole he crawled out of.

      • The Guru

        The Eagles are infallible!

        • PhEaglesPhan

          C’mon if you’re truly an Eagles fan you would speak your opinion (which u are certainly entitled to) but then stand by your team afterwards. The route your going sounds like your ready to jump ship and seek out another team, and honestly Eagles dont need that kind of fan. So please move on if you are so fed up with this team.

          • The Guru

            I buy my season tickets and stand by my team. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything they do Sheep

          • PhEaglesPhan

            Oh I don’t doubt you buy your season Cowboy tickets and attend each ad every game. However trolling simply shows your low intelligence and high ignorance. Your words speak loud man, and everyone hears them which is why your comments have more down votes then up votes. This should easily tell someone, even with low intelligence such as yourself, that your trolling is growing old.

            As well, your consistent fetish with sheep is becoming quite concerning.

          • The Guru

            Again, if it bothers you, I suggest you ignore my comments instead of adding to them.

          • D3Keith

            This is not your first wise post, but it’s your wisest post yet.

  • johngiam

    I am soooooooo excited for BILLY DAVIS! Finally we got a competant DC! I know he isnt the sexy name, and many fans dont know about Billy Davis..but WATCH OUT! This guy is LEGIT! I am soooooooo excited and thrilled that we got Billy Davis. Best DC thats been in philly since JJ. I promise you guys will like him,!

    • GoBirds1

      JG, welcome back. I guess it has been difficult for you to get online as you are being investigated for your involvement in the Manti Teo caper and the mad man-love crush you had on him. How did you make your voice sound so feminine over the phone?

      I am sooooooo excited, that you are soooooo excited for the next hot name in the Birds’ news. Please refresh our memory of all the DC you were saying we have to get, none of which were Billy Davis. You crack me up, along with all the other crackheads on here. Now that staff is in place, who do want for QB and #4 pick? Or is it the same guy, MANTI !!!!!!!!!!!

      Aside from the online girlfriend thing, your boy looked equally as foolish in the Championship game. All his great football instincts were non-existent, and his amazing athleticism seemed very pedestrian.

      • JohnGiam

        Unfortunately you are so irrelevant that I cant throw in your face the stuff you say…why?> well cause no one pays attention to begin with. I woulda have shared some really good intel about Billy davis, but you can now go eat a RICHARD! and get off mine. I will try this site again in another 2 months, maybe by then people will stop abusing safely hiding behind a computer screen. because I doubt you would ever speak to me this way. If Im wrong, I would gladly meet up with you for lunch today. I will pay, and you can tell me to my face everything abot me that you have a problem with. interested in taking me up on my offer? hahaha

        • Gobirds1

          talk about hiding behind a computer? You use multiple user names atvcar. Sure I would gladly meet up for a lunch tough guy. Are back from the Maylasia or wherever the heck you supposedly resides. I am sure I ruined it for the rest of the board here depriving them of all your Billy Davis intell. You are a joke.

          • Atvcar

            ???? I have no idea who that guy is…

          • GoBirds1

            Whatever JG…

          • The Guru

            Haha busted!!

    • Graham

      Welcome back johngiam

    • MAC

      Why? I am not asking sarcastically but really am curious about what reasons make you feel so good. His past #’s as defensive coordinator are terrible, but maybe there is some information not aware of. What makes you feel so excited about him?

  • atvcar

    Matt you seem a smart guy… Please tell me what complaining after the fact accomplishes?

    • Guest

      Please tell me what praising the move accomplishes smart guy?

  • atvcar

    Matt… For the record I don’t think many are thrilled with the Shurmur or David hire… Me
    Included… But it’s done… Complaining after the fact serves no purpose except reserving the right to say “I told you so”

  • Atvcar

    Welp… Enjoy your day… If you’re capable

  • Tim McManus

    Appreciate everyone’s passion and insight, as always. We like to think this is a site that stands out for its thoughtful analysis, and the comment section has been a big part of that. So thank you. This is obviously a readership with a high football IQ (and amazing taste).

    In keeping with the spirit of this venture, we ask that you refrain from any posts negatively targeted at another reader, and keep the focus instead on the game we all love. Thanks again.

    – Tim

    • Graham

      Thanks for this post Tim, there are too many disrespectful people on this site that like to insult opinions that are just like their own – skeptical. We need to have more thoughtful and constructive discussions about the team we love, and not a bunch of hooligans throwing hypocritical insults around.

    • Bdawk20

      Great message Tim, but it looks like some people below are not getting it

    • Bob A

      Like most things of this nature , it’s usually just a couple of guys and hopefully, they’ll recognize themselves. I think it’s fun to disagree with somebody’s point of view, but when you do it in such a way that the other guy can’t even enjoy the dialogue, you ruin the whole point of a comments section.

    • Johnny Domino

      Hate the post, not the poster.

      Got it.

    • laeagle

      Thanks, Tim. I think the reason we follow you guys is because your coverage is so much better than the typical nonsense we’re fed, and I’ve always hoped that the comments would continue in that spirit. I’ve gone on rants against people who I felt were damaging to that spirit. Of course, in the process I found myself doing exactly the same kind of direct attack, and while well intentioned, I believe it was wrong of me to do so. So thanks for the call for sanity, and the wake up call it gave me and the rest of us.

  • whattheDEUCE22

    the Shaun Huls signing just screams “were smarter than you” at the rest of the NFL. Hopefully it works out this time…(re:dream team, dynasty, etc)

  • PaoliBulldog

    I hope Kelly’s appointment of Huls means he controls the medical staff as well, and spares us washouts like Steve Smith, Ellis Hobbs & Cornelius Ingram.

  • jaubert

    Some of you carry your personal baggage to a football discussion. Ask yourself why? Kelly must rid the team of deadwood and malcontents. Build throough the draft with youth, speed, character and intelligence. He has hired ” idea” coaches, not retreads. Time to move into the new era.

  • wanesworld

    New here, I think that this staff will want to prove everyone wrong. They will work as one and will surprise a lot of people.It all comes down to the player’s. What if it works? I think it’s going to work, could be fun.

  • $52095436

    I’m a Rick Minter fan. I met him when he was head coach of Cincinnat and heard him speak a number of times.. He’s a great football coach and can X&O with the best of them. He will be exceptional as the interior LB coach–but more than that, he will contribute to the scheme. Minter is solid and he commands the room–as do many of the other hires. Chip is surrounding himself with leaders and football thinkers, not just position guys. The coordinators will be challenged each and everyday by their position coaches. It’s as much of a brain trust as it is a coaching staff. I would love to be a fly on the wall in those strategy meetings! You want out of the box thinking? You got it.

  • knighn

    Not sure I understand the Ray Horton love. Arizona Cardinals defense:
    2011 (18th in yards, 17th in scoring)
    2012 (12th in yards, 17th in scoring)
    From: igglesblitz (http://igglesblitz.com/philadelphia-eagles-2/billy-davis-vs-the-world/)
    I definitely understand why people aren’t so crazy about Billy Davis. I just don’t understand the fandom for Ray Horton.

    • The Guru

      Statistically speaking, those numbers aren’t impressive. But, when you look at what they had at the QB position, and the bad positions that defense was in week after week with guys completing 5-23 passes, Horton did a great job.

      • phillyfan1987

        the same can be said for Davis the next year when Karlos dansby and rolle left and warner retired…one year after his good 2009 defense

        • The Guru

          Perhaps, but if you watched Horton’s defense, you know they were much better than the rankings. Not sure you could say the same about Davis.

      • knighn

        Statistics alone can tell lies. If you throw in “context”, you really take things from objective to opinion. For example: using your combination of Stats and Context, Steve Spagnuolo is now one of the worst Defensive coaches in the NFL. He was only decent with a great defense (Giants) and is absolutely horrible with a below average defensive squad (Saints)… even though his Offense put his defense in position to succeed.
        I, for one, do not buy that. I think that Spags can still be a great coach if put in the right situation. Similarly speaking, Jim Johnson did not become a great coach when the Eagles hired him – he was already a great defensive mind who never had the opportunity to show it when he was with the Colts.
        Am I claiming that Billy Davis is the next coming of Jim Johnson? Hell No! I simply believe that there were slim pickings for Defensive Coordinator this year… especially one that was willing to take over the Eagles mess of a Defense. That is the other part of it: the Eagles had to hire someone who was willing to take the job.
        So, here’s where I am. I am ready to give Billy Davis some time (2 years, max) to make a positive impact on this team and this defense. If he can’t do it, we had better hope the pickings won’t be so slim in a couple of years!

        • The Guru

          For the most part, I agree. I’m not sure why people think the Eagles defensive coordinator position is a job people do not want. Trust me, if you’re a position coach with a chance to jump to a coordinator, you take it. I think there were other better options out there, and for whatever reason, they’re not here. And that’s an issue.

          I completely disagree about Spags however. The NYG defense wasn’t great when he got there. And since he left Philly, have you seen a LB make the pro bowl? And with all the suspensions/turnover in NO, Dick LeBeau wouldn’t have been successful.

  • phillyfan1987

    doesnt seem like people are really tackling the actual post… Bill Davis was not even in my thinking as far as possible coaches, but i also didnt like any of the names out there. I actually thought it would be a darkhorse college coach just because of the delay. Though its not the sexy pick and somewhat skeptical, i will try to be optimistic. Pros: if the 4-3 Under is the base defense the whole defense may not have to be overhauled. The position coaches use to be DC’s for colleges and are now position coaches at there expertise areas so not only will they be able to see the big picture as far as schemeing because of exp. being in charge of the defense, but will also be one on one with their position and the players will get great teaching on what exactly they need to do better explaining how theyre smaller roles fit in the major scheme.Lastly with the 4-3 under the only major needs are NT,OLB, and S as the LBs will take pressure off the CB’s in run coverage. Maybe we can pick up Sean Smith from miami and keep DRC.Cons: Bill Davis hasnt spent enough time with one unit or one stable roster over a two year span to really see if the problem was him or the talent he had. Bill Davis stats are not good other than his 2009 season ( which can be argued with losing Karlos dansby, ROlle and with Kurt Warner retired and no good QB the defense was on the field more often=fatigue and more opportunities for the offense to gain points and yards which could have gassed up stats).Lastly, if Davis fails we will be in search for a DC next year and it would be the 5 DC change since 2008 (Johnson,mcdermott,juan castillo, todd bowles, and Davis) players having to work with so many different coordinators and being in flux is probably what has caused the inconsistancy, the miscommunication, the fights and under the bus throwing. …in conclusion we dont have to have a GREAT DEFENSE to win just a competent one. Anyone know who MAtt Patricia is…….Patriots DC probably not a sexy pick or familiar name and probably didnt give their fans excitement but all they had to do was have the right pieces and competent coaching and they are back where they are every year championship game.