Chip Kelly

DeSean Jackson latest to rip Chip Kelly

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DeSean Jackson latest to rip Chip Kelly

Four years after his Eagles release, DeSean Jackson still bears the scar from his rift with Chip Kelly. The veteran wide receiver won’t even mention his former head coach.

Other than to point out he’s a major crackpot.

TMZ Sports ambushed Jackson at an airport this week, where they conducted a wide-ranging interview in less than 60 seconds. Among the topics broached was Kelly’s new job as head coach at UCLA, but the three-time Pro Bowl selection wasn’t hearing it.

“Oh, no, we don’t even talk about that dude,” Jackson says, cutting the interviewer off. “He’s a weirdo. He’s a big-time weirdo.”

It wasn’t the first time Jackson declined to discuss the controversial coach. Whatever issues that existed between the two, he’s generally kept Kelly’s name out of his mouth since his Eagles departure.

Jackson doesn’t really need to comment. Since his release in 2014 – a move that was reportedly made at Kelly’s insistence – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving twice, and signed two expensive contracts.

After pushing for Jackson’s release, Kelly amassed an 18-29 record, got fired from two jobs, and left the NFL with his tail between his legs, returning to college football.

Jackson clearly came out of this feud on top, and he’s not the only former Eagle pushed out by Kelly who feels vindicated.

Never one to shy away from criticizing Kelly, running back LeSean McCoy – traded to the Buffalo Bills in 2015 – likely summed up the feelings of Jackson and several others back in January.

“I got a lot of love for Philadelphia now that the little short coach is with the kids where he belongs,” McCoy said on NFL Network, via ProFootballTalk.

Doug Pederson doesn't want the power Andy Reid, Chip Kelly had

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Doug Pederson doesn't want the power Andy Reid, Chip Kelly had

It was Bill Parcells in the late-90s, relaying a message from a friend, who first coined the phrase that has become synonymous with coaches wanting more personnel power. 

You remember the line. 

"If they want you to cook the dinner," Parcells said, "at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries." 

It turns out, Doug Pederson is just fine being head chef at the NovaCare Complex. 

Just about a day before he and his team flew to Minnesota for the week of practices and obligations leading up to Super Bowl LII, Pederson was asked in a small media session if he'd ever want to gain more personnel control. Pederson thought about the question pretty briefly. 

"Right now, I kind of like the way it's going," he answered. "It's going to take you away from football. If you do more personnel, you can't coach football."

If there was ever a time for Pederson to ask for more power, it's now, fresh off a brilliant season that ended with the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl title. But there's something so simple about Pederson that just seems to work for him. He'll let Howie Roseman and the front office handle that other stuff. He's a football coach and he wants to coach football. 

Anything else would just get in the way of that. 

The Eagles, of course, have a history of muddling these waters. During Andy Reid's 14-year run in Philadelphia, he gained more and more personnel control. He basically became head coach and GM, which isn't all that uncommon in the NFL. Just look up a little North toward New England, where Bill Belichick runs the entire operation. But even Reid grew tired of all that power and when he went to Kansas City, he told his new owner he was looking forward to getting back to simply coaching. 

And then there was the Chip Kelly fiasco. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie has basically said that he gave Kelly personnel control because he thought it was the only way to maximize Kelly and it was the only way to place all the blame at his feet when it blew up. Of course, we're paraphrasing a little here, but that's basically what happened. And did it ever blow up. Kelly the personnel man was largely to blame for Kelly the coach getting fired. 

Which brings us to Pederson. It would have been laughable if a couple years ago Pederson had walked into the NovaCare Complex and told them he wanted any personnel control. Back then, he was a head coaching candidate whom the Eagles liked, but wasn't thought of very highly around the league. He had a thin resume and there had to be plenty of skeptics inside and outside of the building about his coaching ability. But now, those questions have been answered and it would no longer be laughable if Pederson marched up to Lurie and said he wanted to play a bigger role in the front office. 

It just doesn't seem like he wants that. 

"I wanted to coach football," Pederson said. "We hire professionals to do personnel, with our input, as coaches. I get that. The personnel department and Howie can make the final decision, and I get that, but not without having extensive conversations with us first." 

Those conversations are key. Because as much as Pederson doesn't have the power, he's still involved with the power. Roseman's personnel department has done a good job of keeping Pederson and his coaching staff (specifically Jim Schwartz) involved. The word "collaboration" is a favorite of Lurie's and for good reason. It really wouldn't make much sense for a front office to go out and get players the coaching staff didn't agree with. To keep Parcells' analogy going, the guy who buys the groceries better know what his chef's specialties are. If he's an Italian cook, maybe keep the soy sauce on the shelf. 

The working relationship between the front office, coaching staff and scouting staff is incredibly important for the future of the franchise. All three parts need to be on the same page and when they're not, they need to be able to dialogue about it. 

"Our communication is extremely good," Pederson said. "If he has something, he comes right down to my office, or vice-versa and I go down to his. It goes back to the players, if you're not communicating even with your personnel staff and staying abreast of everything, that's when things can kind of put a little chink in your armor, but it's been great so far."

Pederson is just entering Year 3 as the Eagles' head coach and that's enough for him right now. Will it be in another five years? There's not really a way to tell. Some of his mentors — Reid, Don Shula and Mike Holmgren — all ended up wading into the waters of personnel control. But for now, that doesn't seem to be Pederson's plan. 

He's happy just cooking the dinner. And he's pretty good at it too.

All the ways Eagles proved Chip Kelly wrong

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All the ways Eagles proved Chip Kelly wrong

The Eagles are well past the mostly disastrous days of Chip Kelly, but it's astonishing to look at how often they proved him wrong this season en route to their first Super Bowl title.

Time of possession does actually matter
Remember all those times Chip said time of possession didn't matter? 

Well, the Eagles just led the NFL in time of possession, dominated all three playoff opponents in time of possession and won the Super Bowl.

Think it helped that their fourth-quarter, game-winning drive lasted over seven minutes? Or that they set the tone against the Patriots' defense with an opening drive that lasted nearly half of the first quarter?

Eerily, the Eagles held the ball for exactly 34:04 against the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game and the Patriots in the Super Bowl. For the season, they controlled the ball for 32:48 per game.

In some convoluted way, you wonder if the grueling nature of practices and games under Kelly inevitably helped the Eagles' defense. These guys were used to being on the field 35 minutes a game, so they built up that stamina and energy reserve, then didn't need as much of it. 

Foles > Bradford
Remember how frustrated Eagles fans were initially when Chip traded Nick Foles and a second-round pick to the Rams for Sam Bradford?

Sure looks like another talent misevaluation.

Bradford has had trouble staying healthy, missing nearly all of 2017 with a knee injury.

Foles just won a Super Bowl and became the only QB ever to have three TDs, 350-plus yards and 65-plus percent accuracy in consecutive postseason weeks.

There's also this:

As for Bradford, he's still yet to attempt a playoff pass.

Empowering players works ... who'da thunk it?
Jeff Lurie's "emotional intelligence" quote after the firing of Kelly got a ton of attention. It's not a phrase you often hear uttered in sports.

Know what? Lurie got that aspect of his coaching search 100 percent right. Super Bowl or not, innovative play-calling or not, aggressiveness or not, Pederson connected with these players from Day 1. 

The veterans' council he set up went a very long way in creating a harmonious link between locker room and coaching staff. Guys got to rest when they needed to. They got to ramp up practice aggression and hit more when they needed to. Under Chip, the Eagles never hit in practice.

And, maybe most importantly, they got to be themselves. One of the best quotes after the Super Bowl came from Malcolm Jenkins in his postgame message to the locker room. 

If only Chip had past evidence that democracies work better than dictatorships.

'Big people beat up little people'
Not always the case.

Know who's undersized for his position? Mychal Kendricks, who fell out of favor under Kelly and just had by far the best season of his career.

Jordan Matthews is a big receiver Kelly loved playing in the slot, but the Eagles traded Matthews and took their slot production to another level this season with the smaller, shiftier, speedier Nelson Agholor.

On the flipside of that equation is Eric Rowe, a cornerback with good size drafted under the Kelly regime and traded by Howie Roseman. Rowe has been an OK pro, but he was overmatched in the first half of the Super Bowl against Alshon Jeffery and was in coverage on Jeffery's 34-yard touchdown catch. It wasn't until the Patriots moved Stephon Gilmore onto Jeffery that he slowed down.

Interchangeable running backs
Another common refrain from Kelly during his time here was that all of his running backs were interchangeable and capable of doing the same things on the field.

That claim from Kelly defied logic considering he said it about a group of DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, three very different running backs.

Pederson this season divvied up playing time among his RBs in a strategic, effective way. Darren Sproles, then Kenjon Barner and eventually Corey Clement played well in the James White role. LeGarrette Blount was money in short yardage more often than not. Jay Ajayi's fresh legs provided runs of 71, 46, 30, 22 and 19 yards down the stretch.

Leonard Fournette was the only running back in the NFL this season who had more rushing first downs than Blount and Ajayi.

One thing Chip was right about? Culture does indeed beat scheme. Just not his culture.