There are a bunch of questions when it comes to Chip Kelly as a potential fit for the Eagles, not the least of which is how his style would match the Eagles’ current quarterback situation.
While the eventual head coach will have to be consulted, the Eagles sound ready to move on from Michael Vick. And from what I can gather, Vick is more than ready to move on from the Eagles. That leaves Nick Foles for the moment. Jeffrey Lurie in particular sounds high on the young signal-caller, and it was suggested that Foles will have every opportunity to compete for the starting job.
But Kelly’s system at Oregon is not a match for what Foles brings to the table.
“I think you know the answer — I have never ran the zone read; I’m more of a dropback [QB], but I’ve been under center, I’ve been in the gun,” said Foles. “If I can adapt I want to, but I’m not a zone read quarterback. Some people are gifted with different things, that’s just not one of my skill sets. I mean I can work on my speed in the offseason and get better at that, but I’ve always been a dropback in the pocket, been able to make plays on my feet, throwing the ball or running for a first down.”
A Kelly/Foles union could not work unless Kelly is willing to adjust his approach. On Wednesday, he suggested that he is open to change. From the Daily News:
“Anything you do has to be personnel-driven. You’ve gotta be able to adapt to the personnel that you have. There’s a lot of great offenses out there, but does it fit with the personnel you have? I think the key is being sure what you’re doing is giving your players the chance to be successful.”
It has been noted that Kelly helped influence how the Patriots run their offense. Obviously Tom Brady is not fleet-footed, so that offers some hope that Kelly can adjust to the situation.
“Nick can’t run the option?” joked Casey Matthews, who played for two years under Kelly at Oregon. The Eagles linebacker became a popular man at the end of the season as reporters searched for nuggets on his old college coach. Matthews has the unique perspective of being a defensive player under Kelly, and being on the other side of the fast-pace, no-huddle offensive approach that Kelly deploys.
“It was tough,” said Matthews. “Especially in practice, he’s going full speed, no-huddle. You never have to condition because practices are conditioning. I think it could work. Obviously it would be a change — we would be going fast-tempo, and a lot of these guys aren’t used to that.”
Oregon runs what Matthews described as a hybrid 3-4 under Kelly with a heavy emphasis on sending pressure. Was Kelly hands-on with the defense?
“Tried to be,” said Matthews. “At first he was strictly with the offense then he started to come over and talking to the defense. He knew what we were doing — obviously as a head coach he should know — but he would come over and at first it was kind of weird, he would come over and start talking about what you need to do, but he did a good job of knowing the game plan.”
Matthews indicated that Kelly, a New England native, wants to end up back on the East Coast and would have no issue operating in a big media market like Philadelphia. He also believes the players would enjoy working under him.
“He is a players coach. He can relate you,” said Matthews. “He is always up-tempo, you listen to music at practice, stuff like that. He was a fun coach to play for. He’s a great motivator and I think players really respect him. He’s very feisty, and he’s just a fun guy to play for.”
Even if he’s a little different.
“When you walk by his office it is completely dark. He’s pretty quiet,” said Matthews. “But when you talk to him he’ll crack jokes, at practice he’s always running around. He’s not a scream type of guy but he’ll get on you. He’s very passionate about what he does.”
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