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Kelly's Culture About Investing, Not Spending

Posted Jun 18, 2014

Ever since Chip Kelly took over as head coach a little over 17 months ago, he has been hard at work establishing a certain culture to govern the Philadelphia Eagles. Prior to Kelly’s hire, the perception was that the locker room had fractured into a group of individuals that lacked cohesion and camaraderie. However, as last season showed, this Eagles team bought in to Kelly’s program and showed the kind of resiliency and togetherness necessary to turn a 1-3 start into a 10-6 finish and an NFC East title.

"It just depends on what model of organization you want," Kelly said. "Do you want blind obedience or informed acquiescence or self-governance? I think if you have self-governance, the individuals have more invested in what’s going on because they have a say and they have a stake in it. I think we’re moving towards that model, but I don’t know if we’re totally there right now."

The head coach elaborated further and meticulously spelled out what he meant.

"Everybody has the same amount of time during the day," Kelly said, "and you can either spend your time or invest your time and that’s what we are trying to get our players to understand. It’s how you allocate your time. 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.

"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."

Kelly is bullish on self-governance and individual accountability. He values the macro over the micro and has no time for those who choose to march to the beat of their own drum instead of abiding by what his program demands. Kelly means business, and the message has been received loud and clear.

"No matter how good a player is, it’s about the team, and if you can’t buy in, anything is possible," running back LeSean McCoy said. "Some players, some teams might think that producing on the field is the only thing that matters."

One offseason acquisition in particular, Jordan Matthews, has been lauded as the quintessential embodiment of what Kelly wants from players when it comes to buying into his program and investing their time instead of spending it.

"I think the biggest thing when you invest is, when you talk about money, you put it somewhere, you’re not going to see it get better," the rookie wide receiver said. "But you just have to know. You’ve just got to believe in yourself. You come out each day here and you’re working and it’s hot. You’re not going to see the instant success and all of those things. You’ve got to keep working, keep beating down that door and then the results are going to take care of themselves on Sundays. That’s what I feel like Coach is saying. Everybody here has bought into that philosophy and that’s what we’re trying to do."

Fellow rookie Josh Huff echoed Matthews’ sentiments during Organized Team Activities when he relayed what it was like adjusting to football as a profession instead of juggling academic responsibilities like he did in college. He has so much more free time on his hands now, and he can either spend it watching TV or playing video games, or he can invest it in studying his playbook or doing extra training. Only one of those choices will lead to tangible results that enhance his abilities as a football player.

The culture of the Philadelphia Eagles has done a total 180 under Chip Kelly. Given how the veterans have bought in and the type of player the organization has emphasized acquiring, expect that culture to keep growing and refining until it reaches its optimum level.

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