Get with it or get out…that’s the tone that Philadelphia Eagles second year head coach Chip Kelly is setting. The rookie NFL head coach helped the Eagles close the 2013 regular season out winning seven of their last eight, a 10-6 record, a NFC East title and a home playoff game. Safe to say that Kelly already has accomplished a fair amount in his first season at the helm, and with that comes more credibility as a head coach.
With the added credibility, it has given Kelly more confidence in what he is doing, in doing so, setting the tone of how the team is going to operate under his watch on a daily basis. Earlier this offseason, lots of rumors were going around about former Eagle DeSean Jackson being released because of his alleged gang affiliations. The team broke silence not long after saying that he wasn’t a “team player”.
The team is looking to build chemistry, and part of that is the entire team being on the same page. Eagles RB LeSean McCoy spoke to NFL Network Albert Breer about Jackson and him fitting in with the team “no matter how good you are, you gotta follow these guidelines. And if you don’t, you could be gone. … You gotta buy in.”
Kelly is changing the culture in Philly, doing things his way. While the rest of the competition in the NFC East wrapped up minicamps earlier last week, Kelly held camp one day longer than the rest. He is also trying to send messages to his guys to let them know that your work, the time and effort you put in will be noticed.
“We all have 24 hours in the same day and it’s what you want to do. If you want to go play video games and watch TV and do all those other things, you’re going to get beat out by the guy that is doing the little things that are going to make the difference between making the team and not making the team” Kelly told reporters. “When we talk about investing in yourself we are challenging them to understand every action you have that has consequences to it. They can be positive or they can be negative. If at the end of the day your goal is to make this football team or your goal is to be a starter or your goal is to be an all pro, you have a say in that matter and that’s what we are trying to get across to our guys in terms of that.”
It seems as though that Kelly is looking for the mature players on his roster, how well they handle themselves as a player on and off the field. Kelly mentioned following the last day of minicamp that “I don’t send messages to other players by how I deal with other players” referring to McCoy commenting on his thoughts to the Jacksons release.
Kelly is dropping subliminal messages to his players, letting them know that he’s not going to tell them what to do; rather you know what you have to do. The Eagles currently have 90 players on the roster, and in Kelly’s eyes, every one of them has the chance to make the team. You’re in Philadelphia to compete for a roster spot, and no one player is immune from being cut. Jackson was a clear example of this, an All-Pro wide receiver that was entering his prime. He wasn’t adjusting to the way Kelly wanted his guys to approach and focus on the game, so Kelly parted ways with the talented player.
Yes, talent is every bit important to Kelly, but he wants his team to play as one unit, not 22 players that make up a team. If you happen to be one of the 22 players and not part of the “one unit” that is working together to help everyone get better on and off the field, Kelly is not afraid to show any one player the door.