Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelly Reflects On Staff

kelly_400_102813One of Chip Kelly’s first orders of business after he was named Eagles head coach back in January was to fill out his staff.

While we’re only 11 games in, early returns on that front are positive. On offense, several players – LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Nick Foles – are having career years.

On defense, a unit that looked lost at times during the first month of the season has made steady improvement.


Perhaps most encouraging for Kelly is that individual players are clearly better now than they were in Week 1. There's no debating the progress that's been made with guys like Nate Allen, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton, Foles, Cooper and others.

That's a credit to the assistants who work with the players on a daily basis.

On Monday, Kelly was asked to look back at what he wanted from his staff at the NFL level.

"One of the things that was very important to me was making sure we had the right fit, and from a right fit, it was a personality standpoint," he said. "I thought it was really important to get a diverse group. You get too many people from the same pool, you all think alike and act alike, and that may not be the right way. I think it's important to hear from different voices and different people and how people did it differently. But then you also have to have a bunch of guys that can put their egos aside and say, ‘Now that we have all these ideas on the table, we all have to come to the conclusion of what’s the best one and how are we going to do it.’ And that's hard."

Kelly wanted coordinators with NFL experience, so he brought Pat Shurmur and Billy Davis on board. He found value in keeping Duce Staley (RBs) and Ted Williams (TEs) from the previous regime. Jerry Azzinaro (DL) was the only full-timer who came with Kelly from Oregon. And the others came from a variety of places.

Jeff Stoutland (OL) left Nick Saban's staff at Alabama. Bob Bicknell (WRs) was with the Buffalo Bills. And David Fipp (special teams) was with the Miami Dolphins. Linebackers coaches Bill McGovern (OLBs) and Rick Minter (ILBs) came from college. So did secondary coach John Lovett.

"The players learn from the coaching staff," Kelly said. "If your coaching staff has a bunch of egos on it and they're all acting in different ways, how can you not expect your players to act the same way? They're going to emulate the people that are teaching them. So the biggest thing for us was to get a bunch of guys that really didn't have egos, that were very intelligent, that were great communicators and say, ‘Hey, as a group collectively, let's figure out a way to get this thing done.’

"So far, it's been great. We've got a bunch of guys that I think have all made the next person, the person next to them, better. ...To be able to have the ego to say, ‘That's a good idea. I'm going to listen to it.’ And at the end of the day, who cares whose idea it is? It's our idea when we walk out of this room. We have a bunch of guys that do that. That's what makes working here a lot of fun every single day."

Kelly was also asked about his management style. All NFL coaches are control freaks to a degree. But Kelly indicated that he doesn't keep close tabs on how many hours assistants are spending at the office.

"My philosophy is you have a job, do it," he said. "If I have to watch what time you get in in the morning and watch what time you go home at night, then I hired the wrong person. I think you have to empower the people that work for you. I think you have to empower them to do what they were selected to do.

"If someone watching over you and making sure they know what time you get in here in the morning and making sure they know what time you left here at night, I don't think that's what... we're in professional football. If you have to worry about that... I've never asked that. I never did it when I was in college. Get your work done. You've got a bunch of guys that love it. You have more guys that you have to tell to go home than you do to say, ‘Hey, be around here.’ So if you wake up at 3:55 in the morning and you want to come in to work, come in to work."

WHAT YOU MISSED

Here are 10 observations on the offense after having re-watched Sunday's game.

How much of Nick Foles' success is his own doing, and how much is Kelly's system? T-Mac explores.

Eagles-Redskins, the day after. Find out why selfishness is no longer an issue on defense, how Connor Barwin is making an impact, five thoughts, No-22, game balls and more.

Foles' toughness is getting tested, writes McManus.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

This gem from Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com will make you laugh. He looks at how many INTs Foles would have to throw to have a worse passer rating than various QBs around the NFL:

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com takes a look at what we've seen from Kelly through 11 games:

There is no panic when a starter goes down. The next player steps up and does his job. Good teams have a way of bringing the best out of backups. I think the backups sense the pressure of needing to play well so as not to let their teammates down. It also helps that Kelly has treated them as important pieces since Day One. Kelly has been demanding of them just like he has been with his star players. The backups might have physical limitations, but they are well prepared and should be confident. If Kelly didn’t believe in them, they wouldn’t have a spot on the roster.

COMING UP

We'll hear from Davis, Shurmur and the players before they officially start the bye.

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

    Kemspki vids make me giggle.
    Oh….and what an incredible start to the Kelly Era. Just a smart guy. Refreshing.

    • DirtyWaters

      So refreshing. How different it must be at NovaCare from the days of Washburn calling Castillo “Juanita”.

  • Kevin

    Chip, are you hiring? I make a mean smoothie.
    Seriously, his views are spot on. You hire people to do a job, give them your vision and your expectations and then get out of the way and let them do their job. There are no bad ideas when you are sitting around brainstorming… I’m sure there are moments when Pat is like “Chip, you want to put Lane where?” or “Pat, you want the QB under center?”… but they have put it all together, it has been great to watch and it looks like it has been fun for the players, Offense, Defense and Special Teams.
    Here’s to meaningful December Football!

  • addicted2mula

    My opinion Foles and company in this system is perfect. Are they prefect now NO! Ill admit that. It clearly shows with protection (which he didnt have last year) he is comfortable and throwing with good accuracy. In my eyes he had one “bad” game against Dallas (concussion) but overall “this year” I like what I see out of Foles. And love how he spreads the ball around

    • Ron Swanson

      I think I just had a grammar stroke trying to read this comment.

      • addicted2mula

        Lol I swear yall need to become a English teacher

        • Adam

          ya’ll need to spend some time with one

          • addicted2mula

            This is a website conversations. I dont need to put punctuation everywhere or check for misspelled words nobody gets awards for perfect grammar on this site.

          • Andy124

            Honestly, there’s not a lot of grammar nazi’ing that goes on around here. Sometimes it gets so bad that it is legitimately hard to parse, but beyond that, most of the typos, mispellings, and my comma abuse, goes unremarked.

            And I didn’t really have a problem parsing your orginal statement. Most of it is just good natured joking around.

          • G_WallyHunter

            I’m a self proclaimed grammar nazi of the articles, couldn’t care less about how people want to write on the comments, they are only damaging their own credibility when they don’t take the time to make sure past-tence is proper and make sure elementary words are spelled properly

          • Andy124

            I make an absolutely embarrasing number of typographical errors, and I don’t spell as well as I’d like, so I’m really not in a position to criticize. I also have no qualms about editing my posts to clean up errors I find after having posted them.

            As for proof-reading the articles, I figure we’re providing them a free service when we do that.

          • cliff henny

            i assume most are like me, using site as distraction while working. 99% of time i’m on sales call and some guy is explaining me his situation like it’s first time i’ve heard it…it aint!

          • G_WallyHunter

            Agreed on all accounts, I’ll make a few mistakes here and there as well, but when the mistakes of others are some of the most common words or some of the most common punctuation rules, that’s when it makes a difference I find. I’m not saying one mistake and I completely discredit them, but over 10 mistakes in a small paragraph and things change a little. You naturally question their credit, whether you agree with them or not.. but hey, that’s just me, many would differ on that based on their own literacy or their own values

          • nicksaenz1

            Tense*… grammar nazi my arse.

          • G_WallyHunter

            Lmao….. damn. I’m typing at work try to get it posted as fast as possible haha my excuse

          • G_WallyHunter

            haha Damn…. my excuse is work. Have to type super fast and post super fast, not my usual self

          • nicksaenz1

            breakin’ the rules, eh?

          • G_WallyHunter

            Lol just a little, but it’s for Birds 24/7… well worth it. As long as the IT guys don’t go through my browser history I’ll be alright eh?

          • addicted2mula

            I understand

          • theycallmerob

            It seems the only time Sheil responds to comments is when they’re re: a grammar correction of his. He’s conditioned some readers. Crafty journalist, that one….

          • Andy124

            It’s become pavlovian.

          • Richard Colton

            you do realize that “pavlov” just means a bunch of barking dogs, right?

          • theycallmerob

            Classical conditioning (also Pavlovian conditioning or respondent conditioning) is a form of learning in which the conditioned stimulus or CS, comes to signal the occurrence of a second stimulus, the unconditioned stimulus or US. (A stimulus is a factor that causes a response in an organism.) The conditioned response is the learned response to the previously neutral stimulus.

            and while we’re on the grammar subject, allow me….

            Cherry, Kendra. “What Is a Conditioned Response?”. About. com Guide. About .com. Retrieved 2013-11-19.

          • Richard Colton

            Come on. Please tell me you remember this conversation from two weeks ago! Maggie tried to put me in my place with the above comment when I used Pavlovian in my answer. And the internet shut down with people rushing to correct her?

            shame we won’t see Maggs anymore. I think your 50 shades comment ruined her for life.

          • Andy124

            I was intentionally referencing this.

          • Richard Colton

            I should have TRIED typing out my ANSWER more like MAGGIE. Then you woman-hating “PEOPLE” would have gotten the reference. My bad…

          • theycallmerob

            ?? missed that one, sorry. My eyes kinda gloss over when I see her name attached to a string of posts.

          • Maggie

            String of posts? Someone else must be using my name. I don’t even bother to sign in most of the time. Like the NSA, I just watch and read. And the Pavlovian response I used was “drooling” dogs, because the dogs associated food with ringing bells.

          • theycallmerob

            I can always smell out one of my own.

          • Richard Colton

            Certainly not you. Come on! you walked into that one!

          • Andy124

            badum ch!

          • Richard Colton

            I lived in the South. The “Ya’ll” is annoying. It’s the vocal equivalent of calling yourself an Eagles fan when it’s clear you only like one player. Nails across the chalkboard for me.

          • Andy124

            Regular customer walks in to the store and says, “How y’all doin’?”
            I look around. I’m the only one there. Wtf? You seeing double?

          • BlindChow

            truth. i only use perfect grammer and speeling when theirs an award on the line

          • Andy124

            What you did they’re. I c it.

          • Andy124

            y’all need to learn how to spell y’all.

            I’m good with the word y’all. I just can’t stand when southerners use it to refer to a single person. Makes my skin crawl.

          • addicted2mula

            I say yall because he’s not the only who who grammar check everybody

          • Andy124

            I was replying to Adam, who used it to refer to you. But he’s a loveable Canuk, so it’s all good.

  • Andy124

    So, not long ago I was lamenting how ST was the one part of the team I actually felt confident would be much improved coming in to this season, and that didn’t appear to be the case. Special teams, the punt team in particular, sure looked nice against Washington. I’m assuming Brad Smith can bolster the KR team as well.

    Hooray for all three phases.

    • G_WallyHunter

      not to mention all the punts that have been downed inside the 10, so refreshing, agreed

    • theycallmerob

      Of note, two of the designated ST “specialists” were lost before the season started- ILB Philips and WR Benn.
      There’s still a talent deficit at the back end, but Fipp is doing more with less (compared to the genius April). In fact, that’s the theme with most of the coaches.
      bada bop ba baaaaaaaaaaaa…….I’m lovin’ it

      • G_WallyHunter

        bada ba ba baaaaa is right
        who woulda thunk we’d be sitting here at 6-5 right now?
        I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say no one except maybe CK or players in the locker room

      • nicksaenz1

        mmmmm McDonald’s

  • Cranky Caucasian

    “The players learn from the coaching staff,” Kelly said. “If your coaching staff has a bunch of egos on it and they’re all acting in different ways, how can you not expect your players to act the same way? They’re going to emulate the people that are teaching them.”

    Anyone else think of Jim Washburn when reading this and the problems on defense the last couple years?

    • theycallmerob

      On the flip side, the laissez-faire attitude of Kool Andy made him a player’s favorite but always seemed to relieve them-to a degree- of responsibility and accountability.
      Remember all the flak Kelly took in the summer and early in the year re: trying to get grown men to follow a college coach? turns out, grown men also appreciate reason, rationale, and responsibility.

      • cliff henny

        then you had kelce say something to the effect ‘never felt like he could walk into reid’s office, went by door as quickly as possible’…compared to kelly he’s looking for excuses to talk to him. kelly has a noval idea, you know who people like to be around…people they like, and being a typical tyrranical dictator coach isnt necessary. certainly seems like players respect him, that’s what needed.

      • jabostick

        I hear what you’re saying but, in Andy’s defense, I think he relieved them of responsibility only when it came to the media.

        Having said that, I 100% love Kelly’s approach. I honestly don’t think I’d swap him for any other coach right now. He basically sounds like the perfect boss.

        • Cranky Caucasian

          Exactly. He’s what every manager, in just about any business, should be. He’s all about communication and logic. If people understand why you want something done, they’ll be more likely to want to do it. Just human nature. And my comment to Washburn was more to the way he reportedly treated Castillo. If players see you acting like a selfish jerk, then they’re going to act like selfish jerks.

  • UncleCarm

    How about the power and conditioning, sports science guys and the job they are doing. In the Oakland and Greenbay games the defense was out there most of the game and they never looked tired.

  • Broadcasting Wisdom

    I don’t know who our gunners were last year, but I can tell you watching Boykin in person routinely split the two DB’s that are trying to block him and make it down the field to force a fair catch or down the ball inside the ten is one of my favorite parts of this team.

    • Wilbert31

      Special teams this year have been an immense upgrade! I was calling for that last sputnik to get canned for a looooong time.

    • anon

      It’s the small things that we are doing right. D looks a lot better when opponents are starting inside then 10 than when they are starting at the 40+.

    • Dominik

      Same here. Sometimes I catch myself during the punts to expect them to be downed inside the 10 because Boykin (and Jones, for that matter) are doing such a great job at it.

      We basically have no return game (Hello to you, Mr. Johnson), so you can’t be too happy about ST in general. But covering the punts and kickoffs and downing the punts inside the 10 is fantastic this year.

  • Will

    The Defense is doing just fine and improving each week…

  • Will

    The Offensive shudders or up and downs due to tempo changes needs to be ironed out. Pedal to the Metal till the final whistle. The instant replay issues need to be fixed instantly. The Morris out of bounds was and should be the last straw, the completion is going to be stiffer here on out. Arizona should prove to be an all around good test for the Eagles team. 28-24 Eagles if all goes well…Foles,Foles,Foles,Foles,Foles….

  • Richard Colton

    You have to be impressed with the job Stoutland has done. Been thinking about this: we missed out on his stud Chance Womack last year. But considering where the Eagles may be picking in April, how strong of a possibility is Cyrus Kouandjio?

    • BlindChow

      It would depend on how athletic he is, I would think. Alabama typically focuses more on power than athleticism.

    • anon

      Since we have credible starters and what seems like a credible coach, i’d rather focus on trying to develop more raw talent that we can get UFA / late rounds. I don’t think Herremans or Peters has been so bad that you have to go first round on OL.

      • Richard Colton

        yeah – Peters is a warrior, but I think we’re seeing the early signs of him breaking down. You feel comfortable going into 2014 or ’15 with Bamiro or Kelly or Barbre?

        Would I like a stud OLB first in April? yes. #1 on wish list. Big body WR who can flat out burn? Also yes. Ronnie Lott? wouldn’t we all? But If I’m sitting there at pick 17 and Lewan or Kouandjio is available and Stoutland was singing his praise when they put the board together…I’m saying I’d be cool with it.

        • theycallmerob

          7 OT’s listed in the current top40, that number will surely come down by April. Wouldn’t be surprised if they found one mid-round, maybe a smaller school guy more known for his smarts/athleticism/zone-blocking familiarity.
          http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/prospectrankings/2014/OT
          If there is one thing I feel confident about, it is Stoutland’s eye for talent. That man knows the whole landscape of college OL for the next few years at least.
          I have a feeling the ’14 draft will be the most exciting in years!

          • theycallmerob

            addendum: after looking at that list a bit longer, found my next favorite soon-to-be-eagle: Morgan Moses, OT, UVA, proj. 3-4. 6’6, 325, runs a 5.28 40. RT and LT experience.

            Top high school player? check. Fast, strong to second level? check. Long arms? check. Sweet beard? check. Described as “dancing bear”? double check. I’m calling it now.

            http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1664226/morgan-moses

          • Richard Colton

            “I’ll tell you what Mike Quick, Moses just opened up a hole on the right side wider than the Red Sea”

            “He sure did Merrill”

          • theycallmerob

            We need to draft a Greenberg or Rosenbaum at RB.
            At that point, I’ll know Chip is truly F*ing with us

          • nicksaenz1

            Just put Howie in pads and have him play a few snaps at RB.

          • Richard Colton

            Last year’s was the most fun I remember. Lots of good fights on here too. Much better than the same tired entrenched Vick or Foles debate that happened week after week after week

        • BlindChow

          I would actually be comfortable with Barbre, based on what I’ve seen. He could be the new Mathis!

          • Richard Colton

            good. Cause we’re going to need a guard to replace Toddfather.

        • anon

          Yes — if this year and the off-season allows them to improve and we pick up a project guy. I don’t really know about Dennis Kelly. I think Peters will be better next year than this year. Remember he’s coming off of 2 achilles surgeries — so i’d give him a year to rebuild the power and confidnece in that leg. But technique wise….

          Also given the zone blocking scheme i think it’s easier to take fliers on more athletic guys since you don’t need straight pass blockers which is what everyone else is looking for.