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5 Things To Know Today: December 21

Posted Dec 21, 2013

Is Sunday night here yet? It almost is, Eagles fans. In this Saturday edition of 5 Things To Know Today, check out the Best of Chip Kelly and find out what Sunday Night Football's Cris Collinsworth thinks of the Eagles' first-year head coach as well as what it's like to broadcast games in Philadelphia.

1. THE BEST OF CHIP

Head coach Chip Kelly delivers entertainment in each and every one of his press conferences. Here are the best quotes from the past week ...

1. On the prospect of the Eagles controlling their own destiny: “You know you can't control destiny? Destiny is a predetermined set of events, therefore if it's predetermined, you can't control it.”

2. On how the Eagles responded to being heavy favorites against Minnesota: “I think you should go into every game with the same mentality whether it's people from the outside that consider you the favorite or don't consider you the favorite. I think if you're paying attention to that type of stuff, you're not focusing in on what you can control. The message I give and the message I've always lived with is worry about what you can control.”

3. On Bennie Logan’s continued improvement and boost in playing time: “The one thing with Bennie that you love is each week he seems to get a little bit better, a little bit more comfortable in what we're trying to do, getting a lot of production out of him. That's why he warrants playing time.”

4. On team’s mentality after a tough, humbling loss: “I think our guys are very consistent in their approach. It was the same way when we were 3-5. That's why I knew we had a good group of guys that are very serious in terms of what we're trying to get accomplished here.”

5. On biggest difference between college and pros: “I had a good understanding of what the league was all about, was prepared for it. I think the difference between the college and the pros is that every single week is a challenge. You can look at some of the games you've played in college and you may hype them up that way. But in the back of your mind, you know what the outcome of the game will be before it's played because there is such a big discrepancy. In this league, there is no discrepancy. You've got to come to play every week. The team that executes the best usually ends up the team that's on top.”

2. COLLINSWORTH: KELLY WILLING TO BUCK THE SYSTEM

Sunday marks the first time that the Eagles will be featured on NBC's Sunday Night Football. Analyst Cris Collinsworth offered high praise for head coach Chip Kelly.

"We don't see teams or coaches willing to buck the system the way that he has," Collinsworth said.

The Eagles offense has been very successful this season ranking second in yards per game.

"When you're doing something that forces the defense to defend the square footage that his offense forces you to defend, you're going to get people in space and you're going to get athletes that are going to be able to make plays in that space," Collinsworth said.

Collinsworth thought that after playing in Sam Wyche's no-huddle offense in Cincinnati that Kelly's offense wouldn't be all that different. Well, Collinsworth was wrong.

"He's forcing me to think about the game of football in ways that I haven't before," Collinsworth said.

Collinsworth also shared memories of broadcasting games in Philadelphia. When he used to work at FOX, Collinsworth said that he and Troy Aikman used to keep count of how many times they would get heckled during the game. It's now much different with Al Michaels in the booth.

"I clearly dominate Al Michaels on the heckle front," he said. "They love Al, so that works out."

3. UNCLE CHIP: LONG NOT SURPRISED BY KELLY'S SUCCESS

Chip Kelly wanted to see Kyle Long.

Long and tight end Colt Lyerla botched the blocking on a screen pass during a practice at Oregon. Kelly called them over and pulled out a piece of paper. On the paper, Kelly drew a square and a circle within the square. The head coach said that the circle was a pizza, which he divided into two slices - one belonged to Long, the other to Lyerla. Kelly told Lyerla that Long just stole his slice and ate it. What should Lyerla do? Complain, or go steal Long's slice in return?

Just like that, Kelly explained the concept of blocking on a screen play in such a simple way that Long vividly recalled the story. If Long blocks Lyerla's man, then Lyerla should go take out Long's player and vice versa.

"Those of us who have played for Chip understand the kind of person he is and the kind of coach he is," said Long, who is the Bears' starting right guard. "Coach Kelly is like an uncle to me. He almost seems like one of my relatives. It was a different kind of dynamic that we had."

The son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, Kyle Long chose to play for Kelly at Oregon because the coach wasn't enamored by his last name.

"I love to earn things on my own and I feel like Coach Kelly made me earn everything that I got there," Long said. "I think it's made me a better man and a better competitor because of that."

Long has watched Eagles games this season when he can to check out the offense. The Monday night opener against Washington made Long feel like he was at Oregon as he was calling out the plays while watching the blistering offensive pace.

"Step one is getting people on the ship," said Long of Kelly's NFL transition. "Step two is getting people moving ... After that first game, I said, 'Well, he's got that figured out.'"

4. OFFENSIVE LINE AMONG THE LEAGUE'S BEST

After a year in which injuries dismantled the Eagles offensive line, this year's unit ranks as one of the best in the league.

Rotoworld's Lance Zierlein sorted out the best and worst offensive lines in the league and ranked the Eagles offensive line as the fifth-best based on the unit's performance in both the run and the pass game.

"The Eagles are sleek, athletic and able to beat defenders to the spot no matter how wide they have to run," Zierlein wrote. "Granted, the sack numbers are still a problem in Philadelphia, but Nick Foles has definitely had enough time to become a very dangerous quarterback in this offense."

The Eagles are the league's No. 1 rushing team and boast the NFL's top rusher in LeSean McCoy. Zierlein noted head coach Chip Kelly's offensive design makes it tough to figure out the Eagles' run game.

"Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles running game has taken off as expected, however, what has impressed me the most is that the results aren’t based just on tempo, but rather on scheme and play-calling," Zierlein wrote. "Most teams run their zone plays (outside and inside) from behind the quarterback, and the running back’s first step indicates whether it is an outside or inside zone play.

"Kelly runs his zone plays out of the shotgun with an offset back, which allows the running back to have the same first two steps whether it is inside or outside zone. By disguising this footwork, Kelly is able to use his inside zone calls as a counter when teams start flowing too hard to the outside to stop LeSean McCoy. It looks like the play will flow outside and then BAM - McCoy cuts inside where the Eagles are setting up the inside zone play."

5. HOW TRESTMAN MANAGED HIS QB SITUATION

Like Chip Kelly, Marc Trestman is in his first year as head coach of the Chicago Bears. And like Kelly, Trestman had to make an important decision regarding the quarterback position.

Kelly awarded Nick Foles the starting job for the next 1,000 years after he led the Eagles to three straight wins in place of an injured Michael Vick, which included a seven-touchdown performance in Oakland. Foles is 6-2 as the starter this season and has the Eagles in first place in the NFC East.

Trestman's starting quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a high-ankle sprain and missed four games. Enter Josh McCown. He won two of his four starts and had three games with at least 348 passing yards and a 100 quarterback rating. He threw nine touchdowns against just one interception in that span. His final game, a 45-28 rout of Dallas, featured five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) and a 141.9 passer rating.

However, Trestman decided to go back to Cutler instead of ride the hot hand.

"I made a decision after he got hurt that he was going to play as soon as he was ready to play," Trestman said. "I don't think I was adamant about it. I was just doing what I said we were going to do."

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