How Gruden, Reid Helped the Eagles Land Kelly

Chip Kelly had been speaking for fewer than three minutes when he brought up a familiar, albeit surprising, name: Andy Reid.

“One person that I really want to thank in terms of advice with this whole thing was Andy Reid,” Kelly said, sitting next to Jeffrey Lurie in the Novacare auditorium Thursday afternoon. “And the fact that Andy reached out to me and told me about his experience here just told me what this organization is all about. There’s not a classier guy. When Andy texted me yesterday when I accepted the job, I told him I had really, really, really big shoes to fill, and in typical Andy fashion, he said, ‘Just be yourself and you’ll be fine.’ So I want to just publicly thank Andy, because that really right there spoke to me about what this organization is all about.”

But Reid wasn’t the only person who Kelly talked to during the last couple weeks.

A concern with Kelly is that he has no NFL experience. He’s never been a head coach, coordinator or position coach at the professional level. Has he made enough connections to put together a staff? Does he know enough people?

Kelly alleviated some of that concern when asked who in the league helped him during the information-gathering process.

“Everybody was great,” Kelly said. “I didn’t talk to anybody that was coaching because they’ve got jobs to do. Jon Gruden’s a good friend, and Jon spent time here. Tony Dungy’s son was on my team at Oregon. I’ve always had a chance to talk to Tony. Dick Vermeil and Andy. …And a lot of times, it was questions about the NFL. Other times, with Gru and Dick and Andy, it was questions about Philadelphia.”

The grouped served as an intermediary of sorts. Lurie thought Kelly was definitely a fit after the nine-hour meeting in Arizona. And Kelly liked the Eagles. But during the process, both were speaking to third parties to make sure they were making educated decisions.

“It’s ironic,” Lurie said. “We spoke to a lot of the same people, not knowing the other one’s talking to the same people. I know he’s close with Tony Dungy. I know he’s close with Jon Gruden, and we all are. I talked to Jon a lot and am very close to Tony as well.”

If you’re wondering whether Lurie interviewed Gruden himself for the coaching job…

“No, I don’t think Jon’s coming back to the NFL this year at all,” he said. “But I respect him and his opinion and we talk a lot.”

Gruden stays in the broadcast booth. Reid moves on to Kansas City. Dungy is in studio for NBC. And Vermeil is enjoying retirement.

But all played a role in the Eagles landing Kelly.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Chip Kelly “Thin-Skinned” When Criticized By Media

According to a sports reporter in Oregon, brand new Eagles coach Chip Kelly is “very sharp,” “quick on his feet,” and “he will say something pretty interesting lots of times.” So, the opposite of Andy Reid. Great! Not all is smooth on the horizon, however: “He does have a little bit of thin skin when he’s criticized, especially if he thinks it is unfair criticism, and I suspect he’ll get some of that in Philadelphia.” Not for a few days, at least. [CBS 3]

It’s Finally Over! Eagles Hire Chip Kelly

Nearly two weeks after first courting Oregon coach Chip Kelly (and after nearly two weeks of thinking Chip Kelly had rejected the Eagles), Lurie and co. have brought the Duck to Philly.

Jeffrey LurieHowie Roseman and Don Smolenski took their best shot at Kelly back on January 5, as a scheduled lunch spilled well into the night and lasted some eight hours. Oregon booster and Nike co-founder Phil Knight reportedly made a strong push to keep Kelly with the Ducks, and it looked like it had worked. Not so fast.

“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” said Lurie, as the Eagles made the move official. “He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh energetic approach to our team.”

This will be Kelly’s first head coaching job in the NFL.

Let the media narrative shift immediately from “Why Won’t Chip Kelly Coach in Philly?” to “Is Chip Kelly Any Good?” [Birds 24/7]

 

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s this week’s roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano recently offered his take on the Eagles’ coaching search after the Ken Whisenhunt interview:

What it says to me is that the Eagles don’t have a clear preference among their remaining available candidates and are interviewing as many people as possible to make sure they make the right decision. Some have expressed frustration that the process is taking so long and appears to lack focus, but I don’t think either of those is a valid criticism. I think there’s no harm in casting a wide net, especially when you don’t have a clear top choice (or when your top choice, who in this case I believe was Oregon’s Chip Kelly, has already passed). If nothing else, in talking to men who’ve done the job at the NFL level, the Eagles’ decision-makers can get a sense of the different approaches people take to the job and maybe educate themselves about what they like and don’t like in a candidate.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper re-drafts the 2007 class. The Eagles traded out of the first round (the Kevin Kolb year). They did get Brent Celek in the fifth round though. Kiper thinks Celek would have been a first-round pick (28th) if teams had it to do all over again:

With 280 catches for his career, he’s second to Olsen in the class among tight ends, and could end up on top, because he has proved himself to be a reliable pass-catcher and a guy who knows how to find and create space as a route runner. The Eagles got a steal down the board.

SI.com’s Peter King caught up with Andy Reid:

Q: What’s the one overriding thing you take from Philadelphia into this job?

Reid: “I learned to embrace a city in Philadelphia. They’ll take you from boyhood to manhood, which they did with me, and that’s okay. It’s a results business. I got that. As far as the team goes, it’s imperative that everybody’s pulling in the same direction. That’s the only way you can succeed.”

King also looks at the teams that passed on Colin Kaepernick:

Buffalo passed on him twice, and Arizona, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Miami, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Kansas City and the Jets once apiece. Buddy Nix, Rod Graves, Mike Reinfeldt, Gene Smith, Rick Spielman, Jeff Ireland, Tom Heckert, Howie Roseman, Scott Pioli and Mike Tannenbaum — the GMs who passed on Kaepernick in the 2010 draft — must be asking themselves, “Maybe we should have seen this trend coming.”

Notice one thing about those 10 draft-day deciders: Six have been fired since the day Kaepernick was chosen 36th overall by the Niners in April 2011.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com has the Eagles taking Alabama guard Chance Warmack at No. 4. If you’re wondering about quarterbacks, he’s got Geno Smith going third and Matt Barkley going seventh.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has the Birds taking Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel:

It is time for the Eagles to address their offensive line woes by selecting the top offensive lineman in the draft.

And Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has the Eagles taking Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.

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Ten Observations: An Eagles Slant To the Playoffs

Like many of you, I spent 12-plus hours in front of the TV this weekend, watching what turned out to be a great divisional round.

Here are 10 observations from the four games, many of which have an Eagles slant:

1. In one game, the Denver Broncos had more defense/special teams touchdowns than the Eagles had all season. Trindon Holiday took a punt 90 yards for a score for the first touchdown of the weekend. He later had a 104-yard kickoff return to start the second half. On the other side, Ravens cornerback Corey Graham intercepted Peyton Manning and took it 39 yards for a TD. In the next game, Sam Shields intercepted Colin Kaepernick for a 52-yard touchdown. In all, four non-offensive touchdowns in four games. During the 2012 season, the Eagles had ONE non-offensive touchdown – a Damaris Johnson punt return. Only two teams -  the Raiders and Lions – had fewer (0). We know about the issues with turnovers on offense, but the defense was tied for a league-worst 13 takeaways. And the Eagles almost never had a field-position advantage. Special teams has to be a focus for the next head coach.

2. It was 3:23 p.m. when Reuben Frank broke the news that the Eagles had interviewed Brian Billick for their head-coaching position. The timing was almost too much to handle. Billick was in the middle of calling the Falcons-Seahawks game for Fox. As I mentioned on Twitter, if there’s a drinking game associated with Billick-called games, I hope there’s a rule for every time he starts a sentence with “I’m not so sure that…”. And when I mentioned that Billick’s interview lasted nearly eight hours, I got a variety of responses like this one:

Now, broadcasting and coaching are two different things. But if Billick ends up being the guy, the one-liners among Eagles fans who were in front of their TVs yesterday will be plentiful.

3. Last week, we played the Russell Wilson what-if game. Andy Reid has admitted that he was high on Wilson. Adam Caplan mentioned over the weekend that the Eagles tried to move up for Wilson. Of course, Seattle ended up taking him 13 spots ahead of the Birds, who selected Nick Foles. But there’s another what-if scenario involving a quarterback that played over the weekend: Peyton Manning. Many will remember the Los Angeles Times report last March, indicating that Reid wanted to jump in on the Manning sweepstakes, but Manning didn’t want to be in the same division as his brother. ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently looked at Manning’s “failed suitors” and included the Birds among his six teams. So, what if the Eagles had landed Manning? Would they have made the playoffs? They certainly would have won more games, but then again, Manning can’t play cornerback. Would Reid be coming back for a 15th season? Just another factor to consider as the franchise heads in a new direction.

4. The Ravens ran 74 offensive plays on Saturday. Torrey Smith touched the ball just four times (three catches and a run). Yet he had a huge impact on the game, coming up with a 59-yard touchdown and a 32-yard touchdown. During the regular season, Smith’s catches, on average, came 13.1 yards downfield. That ranked third in the NFL. The Eagles have a vertical threat of their own, but they were unable to get him the ball downfield this season – partly because of defenses playing their safeties deep, partly because of a leaky offensive line and partly because of inconsistent quarterback play. DeSean Jackson’s average length of reception this year was 10.37, the lowest number of his career and 16th in the NFL. Last year, it was 12.66. The year before, 15.23. The Eagles need to find a way to get big plays out of Jackson in 2013 and beyond.

5. I don’t know who first mentioned it, but the Colin Kaepernick/Randall Cunningham comp works for me. Kaepernick measured in at 6-5, 233 at the combine. Cunningham was listed at 6-4, 215. In an electrifying performance, Kaepernick set an NFL playoff record (for a QB) with 181 rushing yards against the Packers Saturday night. He got it done with his arm too, fitting the ball into tight windows all game long. Between Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the future at quarterback in the NFL is bright. And watching Kaepernick, I couldn’t help but wonder how Cunningham would look in this era with a coach like Jim Harbaugh, a line like the 49ers’ and a system that fully utilized his athleticism.

6. Not sure where Marty Mornhinweg watched this weekend’s games, but I’m guessing that when the Falcons had the ball in the red zone, went with a split backfield and Jason Snelling scored on a shovel pass from 5 yards out, the former Eagles offensive coordinator stood up and started a slow-clap. Of course, that play should look familiar to the Eagles not only because they’ve run it so much, but because the Falcons scored the same way against them earlier this season.

7. Count me among the many who were confused by the Broncos taking a knee at the end of regulation. Manning and the offense had the ball at the Denver 20 with 31 seconds remaining. They also had two timeouts. Don’t you have to at least try to take a shot there? It was fitting that the next day, the Falcons had the ball at their own 28 with 31 seconds left and drove to the Seattle 31 on two plays. They kicked the game-winning field goal with eight seconds left. The situations were not exactly the same. Denver and Baltimore were tied. Atlanta was trailing. But you get the point. Have to take a shot there.

8. It’s 2013, and coaches still have to commonly race down the sideline to get referees’ to call timeout. We saw it from Pete Carroll in the Seahawks-Falcons game. Don’t we have the technology to come up with a better method than this? Same goes for spotting the ball. Can’t we put a chip or something in a football that automatically tells us where the line of scrimmage is, rather than having the official arbitrarily spot it? These are the things that keep me up at night.

9. So, what Super Bowl storylines are setting up? If the 49ers and Ravens win, we’ll have to deal with two straight weeks of Harbaugh family stories. Don’t get me wrong. It’s amazing that two brothers could potentially face each other for the title. But that might be a bit much. I don’t think anyone would complain about 49ers-Patriots in New Orleans. That Sunday night game was one of the most entertaining matchups of the year. Falcons-Ravens would take us back to the 2008 draft class when Matt Ryan was picked third and Joe Flacco 18th. And Falcons-Patriots wouldn’t be bad either. It’ll be tough to top this past weekend, but hopefully we still have a classic or two left.

10. Random notes to close it out: When they introduced the Punt, Pass and Kick winners yesterday, there was a kid from Hoover, Alabama who had the exact same haircut as the kids from the MTV show Two-A-Days. For those unfamiliar, the series followed the Hoover High football program. Highly recommended NetFlix viewing this offseason if you’ve never seen it. …There was so much skepticism last month about whether Chip Kelly would be successful in the NFL, but you see elements of his offense in the 49ers and Patriots, two of the last four teams alive. …And finally, I can’t believe it took me this long to discover @PhilSimmsQuotes. Pure genius.

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“Drunk with Power,” Howie Roseman Is Dooming Eagles Coaching Search

CBS football reporter Jason La Canfora is mostly flabbergasted by the Eagles aimless quest for a head coach, which has them “chasing every hot college coach, scrambling to the media to confirm some coaching interviews, obscure others; releasing skewed information about your whereabouts and resorting to day-late spin tactics after being repeatedly left at the altar.” But he does have one theory for why the Birds haven’t been able to land an HC, after knowing for months Andy Reid wouldn’t be back.

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me one esteemed coach or another advised one of the Eagles’ top candidates not to take the job precisely because of [Eagles GM Howie] Roseman’s presence there. Roseman isn’t the general manager they should tie their wagon to. It’s clear Chip Kelly wasn’t leaving Oregon for anywhere unless he had a large measure of control over the organization, and owner Jeffrey Lurie has already entrusted that to Roseman. There has been trepidation by some candidates to go all-in given the questions about this existing power structure.

And there’s more:

The rumblings about Roseman lacking nuance and foresight, about him turning people off with how drunk with power he’s become, only grow louder as his coaching search grows stranger.

Be wary of journalists bearing anonymous sources, especially coming from those in a losing, frustrated organization. But at least this is an explanation, which is more than Brian Billick (the Birds latest head coaching candidate) could offer yesterday on Fox, as he bumbled incoherently through the Seahawks-Falcons broadcast. [CBS Sports]

 

Andy Reid’s Son, Britt, Named To KC Coaching Staff

Andy Reid unveiled his new coaching staff on Friday. It includes plenty of familiar names, and even a member of his own family.

His son, Britt Reid, will serve as a quality control coach. The press release reads:

Reid enters his first season in the NFL after spending three seasons with the Temple University Owls. At Temple, Reid served as a graduate assistant, working with the offensive side of the ball after a two-year stint as an offensive assistant while he completed his degree. In addition to his three years at Temple, Reid has worked the Steve Addazio football camp for the past two years and in 2008, he served as an assistant offensive line coach at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia. He got his first taste of NFL experience as a training camp coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009. Reid is the son of Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid.

As expected, Doug Pederson was named offensive coordinator. Reid also hired former Eagles quality control coach Matt Nagy to be his quarterbacks coach; named former receivers coach David Culley assistant head coach/wide receivers; and also brought over Tommy Brasher (defensive line), Tom Melvin (tight ends) and strength and conditioning men Barry Rubin and Travis Crittenden from his staff in Philadelphia.

“I’m pleased we were able to get all of these coaches on board,” Reid said. “I have relationships with each of them, and I know their past experiences, work ethics and coaching styles. These are high-character coaches, and each one brings something different to the table for us.”

Jets linebackers coach Bob Sutton has reportedly been tabbed to be Reid’s defensive coordinator, but was not named in the press release.

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Coaching Buzz: Chargers Interview Gus Bradley

The Eagles aren’t the only team showing interest in Gus Bradley.

The Chargers interviewed the Seahawks defensive coordinator last night, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network. The Eagles, meanwhile, have yet to meet with him, as Tim explained this morning. No other teams have expressed public interest in Bradley.

Per NFL rules, assistants whose teams stay alive this weekend cannot interview next week. In other words, if the Seahawks beat the Falcons, the Eagles would have to wait until after the NFC championship game to interview Bradley.

The Eagles are also expected to still interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

There are currently five job openings available: Philadelphia, San Diego, Chicago, Jacksonville and Arizona. The Chargers are also interviewing Lovie Smith, who met with the Eagles yesterday.

REID FINDS HIS COORDINATOR

Andy Reid has found his next defensive coordinator, and it’s not Juan Castillo or Todd Bowles.

Reid will have Jets linebackers coach Bob Sutton run his D, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder. Sutton, 61, spent 13 seasons with the Jets, including three (2006-2008) as defensive coordinator.

Per the report, Monte Kiffin was Reid’s top choice, but Kiffin is headed to Dallas to become the Cowboys defensive coordinator. As we’ve pointed out, Bradley coached under Kiffin for three years under in Tampa. The 72-year-old thinks highly of his protege, but there’s now no possibility of the two coaching together in 2013.

The Eagles are clearly being thorough in their coaching search, but the one downside to that philosophy is they could miss out on some top-level assistants who sign on with other teams.

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Poll: 10 Percent of Masochistic Pennsylvanians Unhappy with Andy Reid Firing

Who are the 10 percent? According to a recent poll, one in every ten residents still pines for the bygone Andy Reid era, meaning they’re either eager to inflict more pain and heartbreak on themselves, or they haven’t followed football for half a decade. 60 percent are pleased, and 30 percent (a higher number than I would have imagined) don’t care either way that Reid was fired. [Harper Polling]

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