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Chip Kelly Wins On Day One

Posted Jan 17, 2013

Chip Kelly's mantra is "win today," and on his first full day as the head coaching of the Philadelphia Eagles, Kelly killed it. Won it going away ...

If you watched any of Chip Kelly's 33-minute interview as he was introduced as the 21st head coach of the franchise, you came away impressed. Blown away, even. He was charming, he was funny and he was thoughtful. He touched on some of the particulars to Philadelphia -- Vince Papale and his movie "Invincible," 94 WIP's Wing Bowl and the "passionate" Eagles fans and the "iconic" Eagles franchise and some of its great all-time players, and then Kelly launched into his philosophy.

And what is the basis of that philosophy, one that won 46 games at Oregon in the last four seasons? It's as simple as it is complex: Find a way to win. Score more points, no matter how you do it, than the other team.

The idea that Kelly is a "one-trick pony" with his offensive scheme or his approach to the many other parts of the game seemed to fade away as quickly as it took Kelly to meet the media. He was engaging and forthright and honest.

Kelly was awesome, and it's easy to see why the Eagles wanted him so much in the first place.

He approaches the game of football with an earnest obsession, something that caught the attention of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie way back when. Lurie watched Oregon's offense score all of those points and use all of those innovations and, geez, he was impressed just like all of us. Who wasn't?

When it came time to sit down with Kelly and discuss coaching ideas and schemes and all of the X's and O's, Kelly made it very clear that he intends to put points on the board in any fashion imaginable.

"I’m an equal opportunity scorer, and we’ll score any way we can. It’s all based on what our personnel is," said Kelly. "I’m not married to try to take a quarterback who can’t run and make him run, and a quarterback who can’t throw and make him throw. It’s putting your players in the best position you can to be successful, and how you can score points.

"That’s what the offensive game of football is all about -- scoring points-- and how they get the ball across the line isn’t the deal. It’s not about style, it’s about substance and how we score points.”

Kelly didn't get into any particular details on personnel, or defensive scheme or what he wants other than he's here to win football games and get to the Super Bowl and, of course, win it. He is already moving a million miles an hour and he has just started. His coaching staff will be finalized, likely, in the next couple of days. Then it's off to Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl. Kelly has game film to watch from the 2012 season and he has to become familiar with the surroundings and what he has, and does not have, to work with.

One thing is clear through all of this: Kelly's arrival brings a jolt of energy and urgency to this football team. I see Kelly as a man with a lot of confidence, a lot of enthusiasm and great commitment to winning.

"It's about winning, not having the most Twitter followers," he said at one point during the day filled with interviews and sound bites and, late at night, a surprise visit to the Chickie's and Pete's in South Philadelphia to say hello to former Eagles great Brian Dawkins, who was being honored in a local ceremony.

Kelly knows that b.s. doesn't float in Philadelphia, and he knows that the ultimate judge of his performance will be his winning record. All of that is going to come in time. On Day 1, Kelly wowed, and then he got down to the business of building the Eagles into contenders and improving the roster.

“I’m still in the process of evaluating that. The one thing that attracts me about the roster is the youth," he said. "It’s one of the youngest teams in the league. You have to watch about three plays to understand the speed. Youth and speed are two things you can’t coach. I’m excited about that.

"I believe we can win, but I’m not a guy who can make any predictions, I can tell you that. I’m not giving you a number or where you are going. I’m about the process and going through everything deliberately. I enjoy the process and I embrace the process – really taking our time to evaluate who is on our roster, what we can do to upgrade this roster. I can’t wait to get these guys into OTAs and get going.”

Kelly showed a good feel for Philadelphia and for the media and, of course, for knowing that he's accomplished absolutely nothing on the field. The games don't count until September, so there is a lot of time to get the franchise pointed in the right direction after last season's 4-12 struggle.

It's about putting one foot in front of the other, winning one day after another, and going on from there.

"I have a saying that I learned a long time ago that is, ‘We can see farther than other people right now because we stand on the shoulders of the people who came before us,’ " said Kelly. "When you just walk into this building and you see these pictures, it really makes you do a double take.

"But it also makes you understand that every time you come to work there’s a standard of excellence that this organization stands for. And I’ve got to hold that up and I’ve got to live up to that every single day. It kind of keeps you on your toes and it makes you understand what this place is all about. That’s what excites me.

"I don’t know what the future holds from that standpoint but I know that this organization is one of the top organizations in all of sports, not just football. I don’t take that responsibility lightly.”

Day one, then, is in the books. Day 2 is here to be won as Kelly moves at his pace assembling a team that can make us all proud.

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