After a very exhaustive coaching search this offseason the Philadelphia Eagles finally got their man. Their first target was Chip Kelly. It initially appeared that Kelly made the decision to return to Oregon. But somehow, in one last attempt to lure Kelly away from college football, Philadelphia found a way to bring in the top coach available this offseason. Here’s Kelly’s first sports radio interview in Philadelphia. The “mastermind” of the spread offense addresses his plans to fix the Eagles. Chip Kelly joined WIP in Philadelphia with Angelo Cataldi and The Morning to discuss where his obsession for football came from, his coaching style of taking more risks on fourth down, bringing in a defensive coordinator with NFL experience, the type of quarterback he wants to lead the Eagles and bringing a Super Bowl to Philadelphia.
Where does your obsession for football come from?
“I’ve always believed it is the quintessential team sport. There’s so many different players and you have to have so many different players. Unlike basketball, where you have one dominant player and kind surround him with four guys, you got a shot. In football, you got a 46-man roster; you need all 46 guys. It’s everybody moving in the right direction, and that part I love. The other thing I’ve always said, you get out of football exactly what you put into it. You can’t fake this sport. It’s a sport that you can have a kid that’s 5-foot-7, you can have someone that’s 6-foot-7, but if they put their time in and they’ve got a little bit of a skill set, they’re going to find something out of it.”
Does taking more risks as a head coach put a bull’s eye on your back?
“I’m just trying to win, and if that puts a bull’s eye on my back then put a bull’s eye on my back. I’ve always operated, and I want our players to operate, from a desire to excel, not a fear of failure. If you’re going to be a guy that’s afraid, that’s not how I live my life, that’s not how I’m going to be. I’ve heard that coming to Philly, ‘Oh my God, Chip, their fans have high expectations; that’s a tough place to win.’ Well, the people in Philly think the same way I think: They want to win and they don’t care. We want to take any challenge on; we want to play anybody. We got an unbelievable division — gotta go play the Giants twice, gotta go play the Cowboys twice, gotta go play the Redskins twice. You’ve got to embrace that. You’ve go to be excited about that, and this city is filled with people like that and I’m just happy to be here, but I’m always going to be a guy that’s going to go for it, because you can’t stand there with a bat on your shoulder and take a called third strike. We may miss, but we’re swinging. And we’re going to swing from our ankles.”
You are a college head coach coming into the NFL now. How do you put together a coaching staff? Do you need a defensive coordinator with NFL experience?
“Yes. We’ve got to have the right blend. First off, they’ve got to be great teachers and we’ve got to be on the same page in terms of our vision in how this game is being played. There’s a lot of guys that have great experience and a great wealth of knowledge in this league, and those are the guys, certainly in position like coordinators, that I am going to bring in here.”
What’s the most important thing to be a quarterback in your system?
“You have to be a great decision-maker. Our job as a coaching staff is to then put you in a position where you can do that. Some of the decisions may be all throw-decisions, if that’s where your strengths are. I’m not tied to one type of quarterback. If you have an opportunity to coach somebody — Tommy Brady — you tailor your offense to him. If you’ve got a Peyton Manning, you tailor your offense to Peyton Manning. If you’ve got a more athletic guy that has a chance to beat you with his feet, then you tailor your offense to him. The biggest thing in any quarterback has always been having a decision-maker and having a quick mind and being able to diagnose things at a very rapid rate and make sure the ball is getting in the hands of our playmakers.”
What would it mean to you to come to Philadelphia and get a Super Bowl?
“Could you imagine that? It would be like 1,000 wing bowls Angelo. My bucket list is a check off there; I finally got to talk to Angelo Cataldi.”