Kelly Sets Tempo During First Eagles’ Practice

Chip Kelly believes in two speeds: game speed and teach speed.

“If you’re going to do something else at any other speed, then why do it?” he said.

Sporting a green and white visor, a black sweatshirt, grey shorts and black Nikes, Kelly stood before a roomful of reporters and explained his philosophy, following his first practice as the Eagles’ head coach.

“We segment our practices in a certain manner,” he explained. “If we’re going to have a full-speed team period, then the next period after that is a teach period because we know we just can’t continue to go for 35 minutes straight of all team.

“Even though you change what the situation is, there still needs to be a break in there. We want our guys to understand to play at a game tempo, we have to kind of gear it like game tempo. Really, it’s short bursts, get in and get out, get your work done, and then let’s go back and teach mode.”

For the most part, it’s the same way Kelly ran practices at Oregon – music playing and maximum reps. The point of the three-day mini-camp is to set the tone for the months ahead. Kelly has players going through about 15 percent of the playbook so that they can move at a fast pace without getting confused. The next step is to watch film of practice, identify teaching points and get back on the field the next day.

In general, Kelly doesn’t anticipate his practices lasting as long as other teams in the NFL. But on the first day, the session started at 12:30 and went more than two hours.

“It’s not how much offense we get in at this point in time, because again, we’re not playing a game, but it’s can we get them out there so they can execute?” he said. “We’re not going to overload them so that we’re not getting any plays run both offensively and defensively. We’re giving them enough where they can execute, enough where we can vary and handle the situations that we’re in, but not so much that we’ve just overloaded ourselves.”

While the first regular-season game will not be played for another five months, this is the start of the build-up. Efficiency and preparation are cornerstones of Kelly’s philosophy. The last thing he wants to do is put a player in an unfamiliar situation during a game.

“I’m just not that confident calling a play that we practiced seven days ago in a walk-through at a critical point of time on 3rd-and-7,” he explained. “We call it, and then turn around and go, ‘I can’t believe we didn’t execute.’ Well, that’s probably on us as a coaching staff because we didn’t get it in.”

Kelly said he’s impressed with the way the players have bought in this offseason. One key element has been the coaching staff’s commitment to explaining why it’s doing things a certain way. That’s something that has resonated with players in the past few weeks.

“We’re not doing it just for the sake of doing it,” Kelly said. “We’re doing it because to me, and philosophically, it’s been proven that it helps you win. I think it’s a real efficient way to practice. We practice a lot shorter than other teams. We get our work done in a quicker amount of time. And that’s part of the whole process. Does that mean that we’re going to play in games like that? No. We certainly understand that, but it’s a tool in our toolbox that if we have to dial it up, we feel pretty comfortable in doing it.”

It’s only one day, but so far, so good.

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

    back in the day I went to school with the kid of the guy who built Randall’s house. the kid would see Cunningham all the time and try to give him plays he drew up. one Monday, the kid comes into school and says, “did you see that play Randall ran on fourth and two?” to which I responded, “you mean the one that failed and cost them the game?” excitedly, he’s like, “yeah, that was my play! I gave Randall that play and he said if he got the chance he’d run it this week and he ran it!” the sad thing is, I don’t doubt that all of that was true. we’ve come a long way baby

  • Corry

    I am so excited for football…AND IT’S ONLY APRIL! GAAAAAAAAAH!

  • Geagle

    Man, I STRONGLY SUGGEST, heading over to the Eagles site and check out Todays Chip Kelly press conference. I couldnt believe what I was watching. “He told us more today, in 25 minutes than Andy Reid did his entire career”.-Merril Reese…
    I was mesmorized. Just not used to seeing a coach, at a podium with the Eagles backdrop, talk like that…Incredible. Was this the first time he had the Eagles Visor on? Just from his press conferences you can tell what a witty, quick thinker he is, compared to the stumbling, mumbling Andy…Even the most pessamistic Philly fans, have to be excited.
    Where do I get my eagles Visor?

    • Geagle

      Awesome to see B-dawk at practice today supporting the chipster

      • UKEagle99

        I miss B-Dawk. Great to see him there on Day #1. Get him a secondary quality control job!!

        • Geagle

          he doesn’t want the job right now because of his kids…but I hear that he will be a special guest of the team often..He even said at some point he will be addressing the guys…when Dawks kids graduate, I think it’s a very real possibly that he will work for the Eagles in some capacity

          • UKEagle99

            I’m sorry, very very honourable (with a u) reasons but I can’t love him anymore ;-)

    • G

      Right with ya there pal. I was caught with my eyes wide open and jaw dropped…. it was SO refreshing…

      • Geagle

        Certainly refreshing. going from Andy last year to chip this year, it just feels we are this new age, cutting edge organization, opposed to last year when we were stale like the stone age…..Interesting that both Gus Bradley(who learned it from Carrol), and Chip playing loud rap/rock music during practices…Read up on it when you get a chance, it’s interesting…they site scientific research that certain beats give more energy…Knowing what we are seeing now, I feel bad for the chiefs fans who hired this dinosaur in 2013….Andy Reid should have hired a new age, young, college OC for his staff

    • UKEagle99

      PS.. I think you get an Eagles visor at an Eagles Poker game! or… if you are in the War Room come draft weekend!

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    How has Andy Reid miraculously maneuvered his way through the National Football League without ever knowing how to make adjustments? My highschool coach knows how to make adjustments. My dad knows how to make adjustments. Was he ever a good coach? Was it all a fluke? Its important to SERIOUSLY consider these questions, it seems so ignorant to just assume things because thats how its supposed to work. Those last 2 years were frustrating and boring as .

    • Phils Goodman

      Of course he made adjustments. But obviously it wasn’t a strength of his.

      • BrickSquadMonopoly

        Of course, obviously.

        • UKEagle99

          He made zero adjustments? Seriously? I mean, I have SERIOUSLY considered replying to your post.

          He did make adjustments to say otherwise is just repetition of an Eagle ‘urban myth’. Are you referring to Defensive adjustments? I’m assuming you are giving him a pass on those during the JJ years? Your statement is far to broad a generalization to take seriously. Yes it may be an over arching media fed theme but without knowing what went on at halftime or on the sidelines in each and every game this is pointless.

          It’s a perceived weakness but unless you were there you don’t know what adjustments were made.

          I for one appreciate everything he did for the Eagles. We didn’t win the big one but with hindsight there are plenty of places to point fingers.

    • knighn

      Andy Reid was a good, smart and extremely flawed coach. I believe his flaws were due to the fact that Reid was NEVER a coordinator or a head coach on any level prior to taking over the Eagles. Because of that: Reid lacked play-calling, roster building and game-day experience. He also lacked someone over his shoulder kicking his butt and straightening him out when he screwed up.

      (When the Eagles began their coaching search this year I was ready to accept anyone who had been a coordinator or Head Coach on some level. I didn’t care if it was a High School coach!)

      Reid was smart enough to succeed in spite of his flaws. Donovan McNabb and Jim Johnson also covered up a lot of those flaws early in Reid’s career. McNabb balanced the offense for Reid (and kept things less predictable) and Johnson helped keep the game close. Ultimately, this has probably doomed Reid in the long run. He has NEVER corrected his flaws and he doesn’t have McNabb and Johnson to bail him out any more.

      I think Reid is still a good man and a smart man, but I’m not sure if he’s a good coach anymore. He has lost a lot of his edge over the years. Reid put up with things in 2012 that he wouldn’t have earlier in his career. We’ll see how he does in KC. I don’t expect much.

      • BrickSquadMonopoly

        Thank you for this post really cleared up a lot for me. We’ll see how he does still not sure how he managed to get a job KC must be playing it “safe?”.

      • devCal

        good post cuzz..

      • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

        Great post. Reid was a good coach but near the end of his time here he got complacent. He made some poor moves, in the draft and in his staff, that utimately led to his demise.

        “He also lacked someone over his shoulder kicking his butt and straightening him out when he screwed up.” Great point too. Same could be said about the guys playing under Reid. He became too much of a players guy and buddy. It’s alright at times but at the end of the day you’re still the boss and they’re still your employees. They didn’t fear him, and it became obvious in their play. Sloppy, lazy and repeating the same mistakes.

        I feel like Andy should have taken a break from football after Garrett’s death. I think he came back way too fast. I think his best course of action would have been to step down as head coach in Philly, serve as an advisory role while taking the proper time to greave and mourn, then start fresh elsewhere this year. With the father/son type of relationship he had with his players, they put Garrett’s loss on their shoulders too. It just wasn’t a healthy environment.

        • knighn

          I agree with much of your post. When I said, “He has lost a lot of his edge over the years. Reid put up with things in 2012 that he wouldn’t have earlier in his career”, I was definitely alluding to Reid’s complacency (as well his players).

          The choice of Juan Castillo as D-Coordinator was interesting too. I don’t know if it was arrogance or laziness but it’s not something Reid would have done earlier in his career. It’s almost like he said, “I’m tired of looking for a D-Coordinator and Juan wants the job soooo… let’s just do that.”

          After his son’s death, I’m just not sure what would have been best for Reid or for the Eagles. The one thing I have learned: people all must grieve in their own way. Some people need time away. Some people need to get back into their routine. Perhaps getting back to “normal” was the best thing for Reid. And perhaps Reid was still the best option for the Eagles at the time (as opposed to a temporary promotion of Marty Mornhinweg). With or without Garrett Reid’s death, I am not sure that the Eagles would have gone anywhere last season.

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            In no way did I mean Andy’s sons death was the reason the Eagles struggled… sorry if it came across like that. I meant for his own sake. He could have still stuck around football but this was a do or die season for Andy and there’s no way his head could have been 100% in it.

          • knighn

            Rereading that I now see what your actual meaning was. Grief is such a complicated subject. Sometimes the person grieving doesn’t even know the best way to grieve. Sometimes they do. Sometimes people need to get away and sometimes people need to throw themselves back into work. I’m pretty sure that Reid will fall apart if he ever has to completely leave football for an extended period of time. If he had to deal with the loss of his son and the loss of football at the same time it might have been truly devastating for him.

  • PaoliBulldog

    Kelly seems so diffident and leaden compared to Andy Reid. Where is the energy?