There’s no telling how much longer the Chip Kelly Era will last in Philadelphia. Could be a month. Could be a decade or more. Clearly, his approval rating has never been lower than it is now with his Eagles having lost three in a row and four out of five, the latest being the Thanksgiving Day Massacre at the hands of the Lions.
Personally, I’ll be disappointed if the gig’s up at the end of the year. Kelly is not just innovative but amusingly hostile to those who question his methods using the “but nobody else does it that way” rationale. He’s funny. Not like Rex Ryan, who seems as if he’d resort to making fart noises with his armpit if that’s what it took to amuse in a press conference. More like Bill Belichick – funny in what he doesn’t say, in the cadence of what he does or simply in facial expression.
On Thursday, a Philly media member posed an interesting question to Kelly.
How would the Eagles defense feel about itself if it performed well against Tom Brady this weekend?
I said interesting, not insightful.
Kelly didn’t even try to hide his bemusement. He seized on the syntax.
“You're asking me to talk about an outcome of something that hasn't happened?” Kelly stated in a lemme-get-this-straight tone.
“We've just got to get ready to play against a really good quarterback,” Kelly redirected. “So I'm not trying to prepare for what our guys' mindset is going to be like after they have success against a guy. That's not how I'm thinking.”
Also on Wednesday, Kelly was asked if his time spent visiting with Belichick could be of use to him when the two teams meet.
“In talking to Bill, it was more philosophical. I don't come out of there and say, ‘I had a conversation with Bill seven years ago and I know that this blitz's name is ‘this’ and that they run it on third down.’ When you look at the tape, he changes. A lot of the conversations with Coach were more philosophical of, ‘What do you think here? What are you doing here? What's your thought process here?’ So it's not a game-plan specific thing that you can apply to what's going to go on this Sunday.”
I’m not saying he’s Chip Kelly, comic genius. Only that he’s authentically amusing.
Asked on Wednesday if he saw the Patriots being affected offensively by the players they’ve lost, Kelly asked, “Did they lose [Tom] Brady? Because that I think would really, truly affect them. And I think it really just speaks to how good of a football player Tom is and the fact that they have had a lot of moving pieces around him. For them, it's that next-man-up mentality, which it really helps when [Brady’s] the guy pulling the trigger because he really is an orchestra leader out there in terms of directing protections, changing routes and changing everything. He's been in that offense since he's been in the league, so he's got an unbelievable command of it. Then they find a way to find players that kind of fit and they know what the individual player can do and they try to maximize that. It all starts and ends with [Brady]. He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer and it's a huge challenge for us to have to go up and defend him because he's running the whole show.”
The whole show in Philly for the past three seasons has been Kelly. He does come off as brusque, impatient, a bit of a hard-assed. But it was enlightening as well to learn that, in Philly, the fellas are everywhere with the hover boards around the facility.
“Malcolm [Jenkins] started it,” Kelly said. “I think he teaches a class on it. We haven't had any injuries and it hasn’t been a big [issue] -- but there are, there's a lot of (the hover boards). It's a little bit like ‘Back to the Future’ with guys flying around the hallways here. If we had an injury, we would address it, but they have been doing it I think since back in preseason camp, maybe even back to [OTAs] and we have not had any" -- knocking on wood -- "hover board injuries. I don't even know how you would put that on the injury report. Would you have to list that as hover board, Grade One or Grade Two? We haven't had anything yet.”