Kelly: The Worst Thing About the NFL Is…
Peter King was in Philadelphia over the weekend as part of his training camp travels for Monday Morning Quarterback. He sat down with Chip Kelly while he was in town, and called his time with the head coach “the most impressive 20 minutes I spent in Week 1 on the Training Camp Tour.”
Some highlights of their conversation:
— Kelly called the draft — more specifically, the hype surrounding the draft — the worst thing about about the league.
“The biggest thing for me is that everybody thinks whoever you drafted or whoever you signed is now gonna be a savior. They come in just like me and you come in as freshmen in high school or freshmen in college, or your first year on the job at Sports Illustrated—you’re not telling people what to do, you’re just trying to figure out what room to go to…
“I think the byproduct to the hype that bothers me, is that to some guys it’s overwhelming for them. The NFL has their Rookie Premiere and they’re out there getting all these pictures taken and they’re missing practice time to go out to California and they’re treated like gods, and I’m like, I don’t know if he’s going to start. That’s not fair.”
While Kelly did not mention Jordan Matthews specifically, the rookie receiver did attend the Rookie Premiere out in California in June and had to miss a little practice time. And he’s definitely being hyped up.
Kelly’s message was that even the top prospects need some time to grow.
— On not seeming emotional:
“Oh, I get pissed off. Yeah. I have a lot of friends who are Navy SEALs, and I respect what they do. Part of their ethos is ‘I don’t advertise the nature of my work, nor do I seek recognition for my actions.’ We all have jobs to do. We’re not in this to see our names in the paper or have people say good things about you. Or we shouldn’t be. I love practice. I love being out on the field. I love game day. The sound bytes and ESPN and all those other things, that’s not of any interest to me.”
— On the team’s development:
“Last year,’’ he said, “we grew as the season went on. We started off at 3-5 in the first eight, then finished 7-1. It was evident to us as coaches that we were growing weekly. It started to show up on the scoreboard. Just guys getting more comfortable in what we’re doing. Guys being able to finish other guys’ sentences, instead of turning to look to somebody that has to tell them what to do, and then having to do the thinking they have to do themselves. In the short time that we have them, it’s hard. We knew there were going to be growing pains, because it was a total new offense, defense, and special teams system than the existing guys had ever had. What excites me is these guys are very invested in what we’re doing and really, really want to be good. They don’t just say it. Their actions back that up.”
King reiterates that Kelly reminds him of Jimmy Johnson when he first came into the league. About this Eagles team, he concludes:
If the Eagles continue the fast-track of the last two months of last season, Seattle, San Francisco, Green Bay and New Orleans are going to have competition for late January football in the NFC.
The entire article is worth a read.