Chip Kelly oversaw one of the most dramatic turnarounds in recent NFL history last season. The Philadelphia Eagles finished 4-12 and last place in their division during the 2012 campaign. Over the following offseason they didn’t make any major personnel changes; no big name free agents were signed and no future hall of famers were taken in the draft.
The big acquisition came at head coach. Andy Reid had been at the position since 1999 and the team played great during that stretch, going 130-93-1. However, the Eagles had little playoff success; despite making the postseason nine times they failed to win a Super bowl.
And so Reid was shown the door and the Eagles hired Pac-12 offensive guru Chip Kelly as their new head coach in January of 2013.
Kelly made an instant impact, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The Eagles jumped from 29th to 4th in scoring, and from 15th to 2nd in total yards. They did so by installing a furious pace and shifting philosophies from passing to running. In 2012 Philly ran for 1,874 rushing yards – in 2013 it was 2,566. For more on just how stark the difference was between the two years I’d recommend reading Dan Klausner’s great piece over at Bleeding Green Nation.
All of that extra firepower flipped the script in the NFC East: Philly reeled off seven wins in their last eight games and won the division with a 10-6 record. You would think that Kelly might be satisfied with that performance, but you would be wrong.
Kelly recently told Bob Grotz of the Delaware County Daily Times that the team is not content and hasn’t even arrived yet:
“I think if you’re content with 10 wins and winning the division you’re probably shortchanging yourself and the team. We did that. What’s the next step? How can we improve upon that? We’re trying to get a bunch of guys that are never complacent in terms of, ‘All right, we’ve arrived.’ We haven’t arrived. We’re looking to work and strive to get better and better and better. That’s part of the deal…”
If the Eagles can continue their offensive onslaught and improve defensively, they have as good a chance as any team to make the Super bowl.