High school football recruit Nico Falah heard the startling news that Chip Kelly is headed to the Philadelphia Eagles. He immediately did what any youngster would: he went to social media.
Chip Kelly left?!?! He was at my house 2 days ago ????— Nics ??? (@NicoFalah) January 16, 2013
Yeah, things moved fast. They moved so fast it caught an NFL, one that normally prides itself on knowing everything, totally in the dark. Nobody saw this coming. Perhaps not even the
How this deal came together doesn't exactly show the Eagles at their best. This was a flailing, desperate hire. Various league sources say the Eagles caved in terms of money and power. They will deny this, but it's absolutely true. Kelly got massive say in personnel.
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Despite the desperate nature of the move, it's still the right one. Flailing or not, Kelly is an extremely bright coach. He won't be able to move his entire offense to the NFL, but he can move sizable chunks of it to the pros. How do I know this? The New England Patriots use some of Kelly's philosophies to great success.
The Patriots have increased to an up-tempo style that involves setting their offense, seeing what the defense does and then adjusting on the fly. This is not a new thing, but the Patriots, inspired by some of Kelly's thinking, have refined it.
Coach Bill Belichick said this to the Boston Globe about Kelly: “I was interested to hear how he did it (ran his system). I would say he expanded it to a different level, and it was very interesting to understand what he was doing. Certainly, I've learned a lot from talking to Chip about his experiences with it and how he does it and his procedure and all that.”
Kelly's overall message to the Patriots, as the Globe reported: Don't put a limit on your players' minds. They will learn whatever you teach them.
Now, the Patriots do have Tom Brady. Worth repeating: They have Tom Brady. He's an eternal great, and it's unlikely Kelly will find a Brady. But he just needs to find someone solid. Not great. Not eternal. Just good. Someone who possesses a mind that can absorb all of Kelly's philosophies and do so quickly. That may not be as difficult as it seems.
Russell Wilson might have been the best rookie in the entire NFL this season and he was a third-round draft pick. You can find a thrower not named Mike Vick to run that offense. It can work. It can even be a rookie.
So the Eagles were desperate. They likely gave up too much to get Kelly. But, in the end, they got the right guy.