Kelly: ‘There Should Be No Closed Doors’

Chip Kelly

On the day he was introduced as the Eagles new head coach, Chip Kelly was asked whether he planned to be in Philadelphia for the long haul.

“I’m all in,” he said. “I think it was [Hernan] Cortes who burned the boats. I’ve burned the boats so I’m not going back. I’m in. I’m an NFL coach and this is where I want to be. If there was any indecision in terms of [not wanting to be in], I wouldn’t have made the jump. I made the jump and I’m here and I’m excited to be here.”

With that proclamation came a larger implied point: Kelly would closely examine every aspect of the way the Eagles were run, make changes to the organization where he saw fit and mold the entire franchise into his vision. This wasn’t a quick fixer-upper. There would be significant restructuring.

With Year 2 on the horizon, Kelly met with a roomful of reporters at the end of June’s’ minicamp and expanded on many of his philosophies. One topic that came up was his presence, which is felt throughout the NovaCare Complex. While some coaches believe in allowing the locker room to be a players-only sanctuary, Kelly prefers a different approach.

“I’ve never agreed with that,” he said. “We’re all Philadelphia Eagles, so there’s no place that’s [sacred or] not sacred or you’re not allowed to go. And I think sometimes in certain times, that’s where problems occur in the locker room, because coaches aren’t in the locker room enough. I think you shouldn’t have to worry about, ‘Well the coaches are here, we have to act any differently in the locker room.’ They should be able to behave the way we were all taught to behave: to be a good person, to be a good teammate, to be a good neighbor. That’s just part of the deal. Just like if I had my way – there’s obviously I think fire codes to it – there should be no doors on anything because you shouldn’t have to worry about what’s going on behind closed doors if you’re doing things the right way.”

Asked about whether he’s made any changes in the aftermath of the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin situation in Miami, Kelly added: “No. We did that before. We were always in the locker room as coaches since I got here. As I said earlier, I don’’t believe you need to have any doors on anything. We eliminated the door in the back room [from the locker room to the lounge]. There should be no closed doors in terms of how you do it. We’’re just continuing to emphasize what we emphasized a year ago. We don’’t have any rookie shows, never have done that stuff. We just try to be a good person. That’’s what we’re trying to get, a bunch of guys who are good people.”

It’s difficult to look at all the culture talk and not immediately think about the Eagles’ biggest offseason decision: releasing DeSean Jackson. It was the head coach’s call to let Jackson go, and while Kelly termed it a “football decision” there were clearly many factors at work.

Speaking in general terms (not specifically about Jackson), Kelly said: “The more people get along and share the same vision and aspirations, the more you’’re going to get to where you want to get to. If you have people who have different agendas in terms of what they’’re trying to get accomplished, that’’s not going to help the cause.”

The overall picture has become a bit more clear in Year 2. Kelly will surround himself with people he likes and trusts. By all accounts, he believes in collaborating when making decisions and empowering players and assistants. But the vision is his, and going against the grain is encouraged, as long as doing so falls in line with the big picture.

There will be more surprises along the way, and in less than two months, we’ll again continue to monitor the results.

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Pretty sure it was Cortez Kennedy who burned the boats, but I won’t argue with Sheil.

    • DirtyWaters

      I was thinking it was Dan Cortese.

      • John E. Zang

        Haha that is the first time I heard a Dan Cortese reference and most likely the last. It’s the reason this site is far and away the best.

    • paul from nc

      I thought he meant Herman Cain

  • Explorer51

    Not to get too geeky but the “burn the boats” metaphor has been used for at least 2500 years, going back to Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” (which I’m sure Chip Kelly has read). Because generals from Alexander the Great to Hernan Cortes (also spelled Cortez) were reputed to employ this strategy, business leaders and motivational speakers (many of which Kelly has likely also read and heard) have used it to describe a particular type of management approach. Kelly, even in his limited public discourse, has used all kinds of quotes from movie and popular culture references to historical ones; he’s a fascinating guy.

    • DirtyWaters

      I love that he references “Feed the Tuna Mayonnaise” from Night Shift.

    • PhillySean

      I’ll add to said geekyness with the fact that Cortes actually scuttled his vessels as opposed to burning them.

    • Kevin

      I think “read” is an understatement for Chip Kelly with Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”. He probably has it memorized. I have been truly impressed with his team building and organizational philosophies, even more so than his football ideas. He just seems to be at a different level, in football and leadership. It is truly impressive.

  • Bullwinkle

    Kelly is trying to build a team in the strongest/truest sense of the word. It will be interesting to see how well the Eagles respond as a team when the chips are down. (Accidental pun.)

  • MagatBrackendale

    “The single most important thing we had in the Steelers of the 1970s was an ability to work together,”
    “I can’t tell you how much you gain, how much progress you can make, by working together as a team, by helping one another. You get much more done that way. If there’s anything the Steelers of the ’70s epitomized, I think it was that teamwork.”
    “Right now you hear about teamwork and it’s defined as 50-50, and that is a falsehood. There’s no such thing as 50-50. You do whatever you have to do as part of the team. You may have to carry somebody.” – Chuck Noll.

    There are so many similarities between Noll and Kelly,especially as teachers. It’s a good thing I don’t believe in reincarnation.

    • John E. Zang

      Spot on Maggie. Although if I had to pick one coach he most emulates I’d say Paul Brown just for the fact that he behaves more like a professor and facilitator of ideas first and foremost. It’s not just X’s and O’s but communicating to a group of people efficiently. There’s nothing this guy doesn’t soak in. And that is such a change from the stubborn rock head Andy Reid was.

    • GiveMeABreak

      Puhleeze. We can canonize him when he wins an SB.

  • Andy Six Score and Four

    Awesome birthday present for this guy. Hell yeah!

    • Happy birthday Andy.

      I’m in the middle of taking a class in Virginia. One of the other guys is Luke Kuechly’s brother. Seriously thought about trying to recruit him for the Birds, but I didn’t want to go full-GEAGLE.

      • Andy Six Score and Four


        And yeah, usually the brother isn’t the best recruiting conduit. You need to get to him through a woman.

      • Brennan Hildebrandt

        No more lineage, and football bloodlines talk because it will not guarantee us a good player it hasn’t worked out for us…….it’s a curse I tell you we seem to always get the short end of the stick. Unless your blessed with Jordan Matthews who is related to arguably one of if not the greatest football players of all time in Jerry Rice. If he’s half the player he is then he will be a stud.

        • dnabrice

          Jaylen Watkins? There’s still hope!

    • paul from nc

      Happy Birthday. How did they know you liked him?

      • Andy Six Score and Four

        Thanks. And my whole family knows of, and shares my Foles love (mainly because when it comes to the Eagles, they take their cues from me).

    • DirtyWaters

      Too bad they couldn’t do FOles on your jersey.

    • Dominik

      Happy birthday. There seems to be someone who knows your passion. ;)

    • Eagles1018…Please no more du

      Happy bday dude