Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly knew there was one thing that he didn't have on his resume when he interviewed for his current job - NFL experience. That is why the highly successful college coach wanted to make sure that he had plenty of NFL experience in his coordinators and assistants.
"For me, personally, it was important to get guys that had NFL experience because that's the one thing that I didn't have coming into this," Kelly said on Monday as he discussed his first staff as head coach in the NFL. "So if I don't have it, I've got a bunch of guys on staff that can help me out from an experience standpoint. But it wasn't a rule as much as it was more of a guideline for me and kind of putting this thing together."
Kelly's three coordinators - Pat Shurmur on offense, Bill Davis on defense and Dave Fipp on special teams - have a combined 40 years of NFL experience. That does not even include veteran position coaches such as wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell (six seasons), quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor (seven seasons) and tight ends coach Ted Williams (18 seasons). That experience allows Kelly to discuss situations with his coaches who have worked through them in different settings with with other coaches.
"I want to be challenged. I think we want to be challenged as a group," Kelly said. "You want a guy to say we did it this way, and it makes you think of a different way to do it. It's the ability to create what is the best identity for this football team moving forward? Not this is how I did it at Oregon, and this is how we're going to do it here. That's not what I wanted.
"I think all of us understand we don't have the game cornered. We don't have the game and know this is the way it's got to be done and please do it this way. It's let's put together an idea, and if we can't learn from each other, then that's shame on us."
Kelly did not just assemble his coaching staff from the NFL ranks. As the NFL has started to borrow more and more from the college game, there are a lot of coaches on Kelly's staff with extensive college experience - defensive backs coach John Lovett has nearly four decades in the college game and inside linebackers coach Rick Minter is the winningest head coach in the University of Cincinnati's history, for example.
Kelly also pulled five coaches from his staff at Oregon including assistant head coach/defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro. Kelly wanted to reward those who helped him build the program at Oregon, plus they can help communicate to those who are unfamiliar with Kelly how he operates.
"I think those guys are outstanding coaches and they're going to be rising stars in this profession, and they're smart, they're intelligent," Kelly said. "I don't have to worry about what time you're supposed to be in the office, because we all challenge each other and compete with each other to who can get in first in the morning and who can leave last."
In the end, Kelly wanted to put together a staff with one common goal - to map out the best plan for the 2013 Eagles.
"We put together some great minds, very sharp, tons of energy, and willing to listen," Kelly said. "At the end of the day, it's what we do as a group, and that collaborative effort is going to show up on the field in 2013."
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