Philadelphia Eagles News

Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie and Head Coach Chip Kelly



Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie

Opening Remarks: "This is a very, very exciting day for the Philadelphia Eagles, exciting day for our city and I think a very exciting day for the millions of Eagles fans across the country. It's been a really excellent process. (We) conducted a two-week search for really the person that's going to lead the football team for a long time. A careful, targeted process. I want to say one thing: We had an amazing experience interviewing some incredible football minds that are dedicated to this business. I can't tell you how impressed I was with so many candidates that we interviewed and we leave it with tremendous respect.

"I also want to thank (general manager) Howie (Roseman) and (president) Don (Smolenski) because to have two very experienced and savvy NFL people around me throughout this process where you're trying to conduct really incisive and lengthy and detailed interviews to really make great decisions and at the same time to have patience. As I said when we entered this process, the whole key was to try to find the right leader, not to make the fastest decision. As it stands in the NFL anyway, you take two weeks and some people think that's a long time. That's a very, very short time when you're trying to decide on who the leader of your football organization is going to be.

"So, that being said, we really were able to circle back with Coach Chip Kelly. We had an outstanding interview with him on January 5th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Scottsdale. It lasted, I think, about nine hours and it was just incredibly impressive. We had, of course, studied Chip for a long, long time, as many I'm sure in this room have and everything we had ever heard was just so true, but you never know until you really meet the person and understand their personality and their obsession with football and their football intellect, their overall intellect and their strategy and vision going forward. It was an outstanding nine hours. We learned a lot and we always had the idea that we were going to maintain a strong relationship with Chip, no matter what.

"We were told that by the end of the same day that it was really a simple question for Chip; he was either going to come to the Philadelphia Eagles or he was going to go back to Oregon and that was really it. At that point, we learned, I think the next day, he was probably going to go back to the University of Oregon, but we kept in touch. I've got to give Howie a lot of credit because Howie and Chip have mutual friends and they kind of alerted us to the fact that this was a great match and Chip was really torn. Things kind of reached a crescendo in some fashion about 48 hours ago and we were really committed to seeing whether we could welcome Chip as our new head coach.

"So, with that, I'm going to allow you all to welcome Chip as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles."

Head Coach Chip Kelly

Opening Remarks: "Thank you, Jeffrey. It's a really exciting time for me. It was a difficult decision, but when I first met with Jeffrey and Don and Howie in Phoenix, the passion for this franchise was very, very evident to me. Obviously, there's not many opportunities to coach in the National Football League. There's 32 opportunities and it's a special situation. But I think in meeting with these three guys, it was very evident to me (that) it's an iconic franchise with a passionate, passionate owner and great, great people in this company and that's the thing that struck me. I probably took a long time with this decision and probably a lot longer than some other people probably wanted me to take, but I think for me, I've always coached and I've always been involved in this game because of the people. I knew what this place was all about and it's where I wanted to be. But I love my players.

"We had a great culture at Oregon, have an unbelievable coaching staff that has been together since I took over as a head coach and it was really knowns versus unknowns. For me, it was just very, very difficult to say goodbye to a bunch of men that I truly love and respect. The way our players handled it when I talked to them the other day was nothing short of amazing to me. I probably cried more than they did, but they just wanted the best for me just (like) what I wanted for them. I knew this was the place for me; it was just trying to figure out a way to do it the right way and I wanted to be the first to tell my players. I think a lot of guys want to know how this came out of left field, but again, I want to tell you how impressed I was with both Howie and Jeffrey that allowed me to do this in a manner where my players were going to find out from me first-hand and it wasn't going to be something that they saw on a Twitter account or saw on a local TV station. That part's extremely important to me.

"The game of football to me is always about relationships and the game of football to me is about people and you win because you have great people. I had great people at Oregon and it took a real special opportunity for me to leave them. I'm excited about it. I think, from the top on down, every person I've met in the last about 24 hours since I've been here has been nothing short of amazing. I had the chance to visit with a couple of players already today. I'm excited. I know about the fan base in Philadelphia and that excites me. When I was at the University of New Hampshire, I recruited (the area). I had from South Jersey to Harrisburg. I spent every December, January, and May in this area. I know that the second-most important bowl beside the Super Bowl, which is my goal, is the Wing Bowl. I am not going to participate, but I understand what this city's all about and I'm just glad that I got an opportunity to be here.

"One person that I really want to thank, in terms of advice in this whole thing, was Andy Reid and the fact that Andy reached out to me and told me about his experience here just told me what this organization's all about. There's not a classier guy. When Andy texted me yesterday when I accepted the job, I told him that I had really, really, really big shoes to fill and in typical Andy fashion, he said, 'Just be yourself and you'll be fine.' I want to publically thank Andy because that really right there spoke to me about what this organization is all about.

"I'm excited to be an Eagle and excited to get started and we're ready to go."

On what confidence he has that he can succeed in the NFL with no prior experience in the league: "Football is football, and this is football at its highest level. But it's still a game and it's played 11 on 11. It's about putting together a great coaching staff, having a great organization behind you, and having great players. Ultimately, whether it's in high school football, college football or professional football, it's a personnel driven operation. I know in the experience that I've had is trying to figure out any way we can to put our players in the best situation when they have an opportunity to be successful. That's what this game comes down to. Are there a lot more cameras around? Yes, but that's what this deal is all about. It's still the game of football. It's X's and O's and I understand that aspect of it."

On how far along he is in the process of putting together a coaching staff: "Right in the middle of it. Started making some phone calls last night. There is obviously a lot of protocol that goes on in terms of asking for permission from other organizations for people that are under contract. We're right in the middle of that. That's really been my first order of business since I arrived here."

On whether he envisioned himself being a head coach of a NFL franchise during the early stages of his college career: "I actually did. No, I'm joking. Absolutely no idea that this was going to happen. I believe, and I had a head coach, who is actually the head coach at Allegheny College, Mark Matlack, and something he told me a long, long time ago was, 'The big time is where you're at.' If you just do your job every single day (and) come with a passion, appreciate where you are, (then) good things are going to happen to you. I don't think anybody envisioned this. I didn't. I'm excited about the opportunity and I'm here so you're stuck with me."

On his confidence level of continuing the tradition of successful football with the Philadelphia Eagles: "That's a great question. And I think that's something that is extremely important to me because of the history and the tradition here. From Tommy McDonald to Chuck Bednarik to Reggie (White), there (have) been some unbelievable people here. 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.' 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."

On transitioning his offense to work in the NFL and whether QB Nick Foles is able to execute it: "I think there (are) two things. There's perception and then there's reality. The perception is we run our quarterback all the time and this is what we do. The reality is that's not the case. One of the best qualities in a quarterback is durability and a lot of that has to do with play calling. Our quarterback is not going to get the direct snap like Dick Kazmaier did at Princeton in the single wing and have him run it 25 times, I can tell you that.

"Part of what we do offensively has always been understanding what personnel is and then how do we maximize that, and what are their best traits. If you're going to ask someone to do something that they're not capable of doing then obviously that's a recipe for disaster. Then I analyze everyone that's in our program (and) in our scheme offensively, defensively and special teams-wise, it's going to be personnel driven. A lot of coaches have great ideas but we're not playing the game. The players are playing the game. It's about putting them in position where they can be successful. Our offense is always going to be tailored to who's playing.

"In terms of Nick, I know him because we played against him. I'm a huge fan of his. He's tough. It's an attribute that I think a lot of people don't understand of how hard it is and what toughness means to the quarterback spot. To just be able to stand in the pocket and throw the football (is tough). We hit him as many times as we could hit him and he just kept getting up and making plays. He completed a 13-yard pass left handed against us once and I remember just standing on the sideline shaking my head (saying), 'What do we have to do to stop him?'

"He's a competitor, he's accurate, so I'm excited about that. And I'm excited for everyone in this program. I want to take a look at all of our personnel and try to make an opinion of what I think of them after seeing them on tape. I don't have any preconceived notions because I don't think that's the way to go about it. So I'm at a process of studying everybody that we've got on the team right now (and) looking at the film and making and evaluation of everybody we've got here."

On whether QB Michael Vick has a place in his offense: "Yeah. I'm going to look at everybody. If you can throw the ball and run, I'm going to take you out there (joking). I don't know if you're the next Vince Papale but I'll tell you right now, we're going to look at everything we can do to put the best product on the field and that's what it's all about. I've followed Michael's career and I understand what a talent he is. But there is nothing that's on the board right now, there's nothing that's off the board right now. Our sole focus and goal is that we're going to put an offense on the field that's going to score points. That's basically what we're going to do and whoever that is, I don't know that. I have to get our staff together and make an evaluation of who it is and how we get that personnel out there. There's nobody ruled in, there's nobody ruled out at this point in time."

On his message to the players and how he will change the culture in the locker room: "I can't speak to anything that went on before (I got) here. I wasn't here so my message to our players, and I've gotten a chance to meet a few of them, is we have one goal and our goal is to get to the Super Bowl. We're going to find a bunch of guys who are likeminded individuals that understand that the game of football is played by everybody. It's not an 'I' deal, it's a team deal. And that's the thing that wins. Whether it's at the high school level, the collegiate level, or in the National Football League, the best team wins. Not the team with the most talented players. We're going to surround ourselves with the best team. That's our charge as a coaching staff and we understand that (and) our players will certainly understand that when I get an opportunity to meet those guys."

On what aspects of the Eagles organization helped him make his move to the NFL: "The people in the organization. As I said earlier, the reason it was so hard to leave Oregon was because of the people. For me to leave, there had to be people here. In the time I met with Jeffrey and Howie and Don, it was very evident to me of their passion, very evident to me of their commitment. That was a no-brainer. I knew it was a great fit. From the Saturday that we had the meeting it was just, 'Can I leave what I have?' Sometimes you have to leave the nest to better yourself or leave one nest as a duck and go to another nest as an eagle.

"I think the people in this organization, and when an Andy Reid tells me what it's like here and Dick Vermeil, who I had the chance to speak with, there's a lot of people I spoke with, every single person just came back and kept saying the same things about the organization. Again, my decision was based on nothing to do with any trepidation about this organization. I wanted to be here. It was just my players, and I'm going to get emotional again, I love those guys and I love my staff. The people at Oregon gave me an opportunity when I was at New Hampshire and that meant a lot to me so it had to be something special for me to leave."

On the concern of the trend of some college coaches coming to the NFL and leaving their teams soon after to return to the college ranks: "I'm all in. I think it was Cortez who burned the boats. I've burned the boats so I'm not going back. I'm in. I'm a NFL coach and this is where I want to be. If there was any indecision in terms of (not wanting to be in), I wouldn't have made the jump. I made the jump and I'm here and I'm excited to be here."

On whether he will have final say over personnel matters: "My role right now is clearly defining what we want. What is a cornerback? What are we looking for? What's the height? What's the weight? What's the speed? What's the makeup of each individual position here? Then in collaboration with everybody here, not one person can do it all. I've heard questions (indicating) that I want control over this, control over that. That has never been an issue, never is an issue for me. I'm a football coach. I'm not a general manager. I'm not a salary cap guy. I coach football. I need people who can go out there and say, 'Hey this is what you want. These are the people.' And it's going to be a collaboration. We're all going to be on the same page. I've got no delusions of saying that I want all these different titles. I just want to coach football."

On whether Kelly thinks that he has the personnel to win now despite the team's struggles: "I'm still in the process of evaluating that. The one thing that attracts me about the roster is the youth. 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."

On his defensive philosophy and how involved he will be in the defense: "I'm involved in everything in this football program from a football standpoint. What do we do on defense? What do we do on special teams? What are we doing offensively? Who we're putting in situations to make plays? That is all part of it. Specifically on game day, I don't believe you can have someone micromanage it. When I was an offensive coordinator, I was fortunate that the two head coaches that I coached for allowed me to work. We'll have discussions during the week about where we're going with things, but on game day, those guys have to be able to not worry about who is second guessing them and who is over there shoulder. If I do have to second guess them and I do have to look over their shoulder, than I hired the wrong person. In terms of what we want to be, we're going to be an attacking style defense. It's going to be a group of people who dictates the tempo of the game. What that spacing is in terms of is it a 4-3 spacing or 3-4 spacing, I think it's, again, looking at our roster and understanding who I have the opportunity to bring here. I can't tell you that we're going to be this or going to be that, but I know the style of football that we're going to play and I know the style of players that I want to have out there. We're going to play fast, we're going to play hard, and we're going to finish plays."

On how much he had to convince the search committee about how much he knows about defenses: "I started out in college on the defensive side of the ball. I think it helps you to get a great feel for what goes on on that side of the ball and on the offensive side of the ball. I was fortunate enough early on in my career to coach a lot of different positions. It wasn't totally by design, but I just didn't want to get pigeon holed as I'm this in terms of being a football coach. I have a passion for the game and I have a thirst for the game. It helped me. The better that I understand the offense as a defensive coach, it made me a better offensive coach because I understand better what's being taught over there. I have a well-rounded background from the standpoint of offense, defense, and special teams."

On his feeling on going away to training camp: "We're already in training camp? I'm getting through Thursday (joking). There are a lot of pluses to it. I know how to get to my office, and I know how to turn my computer on to watch film. I'm going step-by-step. How that works, where that works, and what that whole operation is, there are obviously things we have to do. It's kind of like Smoky and the Bandit, there is a lot of work to do and a short time to get there. We're going to figure all of that stuff out but we haven't had any discussions about that yet."

On how long it took him to realize he wanted to come to the NFL: "First off, it was a very difficult decision for me. Playing in the Fiesta Bowl, I made a commitment that I was not going to talk to anybody until after we play the game. My ultimate goal was to not get distracted by that and I think our players handled it really well. In 36 hours, I met with three great organizations. It was more my timetable than anyone else's timetable. I'm sure Jeffrey obviously would've given me a little more time to think about it, and I actually would. I'm not stringing anybody along. This thing was a very public thing and I'm not a very public guy, so part of that was a very interesting thing. I made my decision and was comfortable in terms of it because of what I'm going back to. If the worse thing in my life was that I was going to be the head coach of the University of Oregon, I think a lot of people would trade places with me because it's a really, really special place. I was going back, working, and doing those things. I know Jeffrey and Howie had reached out and talked with my agent and just said they'd still be interested, and all I said at that point in time was that I'd think about it. I think actually, in hindsight, it benefitted me because I wasn't under the microscope and it wasn't, 'Do I have to make a decision now or what's the timetable?'

"When I did talk to Jeffrey, I said, 'For me, I want to come but I want to do this the right way.' To me, it was about how do I handle the people back at the University of Oregon and, as I go through this process and if I'm going to leave, what is the scenario that my players hear it from me and not from somebody else. I think people used to say that we live in the information age, and maybe we live in the information overload age. There is a very human side to the game of football, and that's what attracts me to it. It's more of me making a human decision of looking my players in eye and that I'd be the first to tell them how much they meant to me and the reason I got this job is because of them. I certainly understand that if we were 7-46 over the past couple of years, people aren't talking to me. I've never taken a snap and I've never played a down, I had a group of kids there that I really cared about. It says a lot about this organization that they let me do that. The fact that no one knew and it gave me time to think told me what a special place this was and this is why I want to be in this organization because they do things the right way."

On whether the ongoing NCAA investigation into the Oregon football program factored into his decision to leave: "No, not at all. We fully cooperated with them and will continue to fully cooperate with them. That had no factor into my decision."

On what transpired in the nine hour meeting to make up Lurie's mind that he was the right guy: Jeffrey Lurie: "Several factors. Our meeting was memorable. Tremendous obsession of football, an outstanding work ethic, ability to relate and communicate, intellect off the charts, forward thinking not just about what he is running at Oregon but where the league is headed and where college is headed, how there are going to be current trends and how there would be trends off of these current trends. Just somebody who is on the cutting edge of football today, but saw that there are going to be reactions to that and what to do going way past that. Also, someone who was a program builder. That's important because it shows the best possible leader. Chip brings everyone together at Oregon culturally in preparing themselves to be the best football players they can be. Organizationally, he just had it all. After those nine hours, it was pretty clear what we had in Chip Kelly."

On how current success of running quarterbacks effected Kelly's decision: Chip Kelly: "That didn't – we played against Russell (Wilson) in the Rose Bowl a year ago and we know what kind of player he is. I have a couple of my former players in LaMichael James and Will Tukuafu on the 49ers team and I know (San Francisco head coach) Jim (Harbaugh) really well, so I follow their organization. That's not the determining factor for me and I'm not married to whether we have to do this. I'm an equal opportunity scorer, and we'll score any way we can. It's all based on what our personnel is. 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 is 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."

On whether there is added pressure to win soon based off of the fast turnaround of Indianapolis: "I don't compare myself to anyone else. There is no more pressure that anyone can put on me than me. I've always been that way. I've always been really good at outside influences not affecting me from the standpoint of because if someone tries to do something, then I actually have to try harder. I try to take this term that praise and blame are all the same. If you pay attention to outside expectations, it means that you value their opinion more than you value your own. No one has more expectations for me than me, but I also know it's not me so I don't like using me and I and those things. It's we's. That's what makes this game great is it takes everybody. It's just evident that everyone has an energy to him and has a bounce to him. The four guys that I have met so far, I've been very, very impressed with. It's a we deal, and it's about us getting our mind and our attention focused in the right direction."

On what makes the spread offense such a viable option in the NFL: "It's a good question. The one thing is that people want to paint a brush and a label an offense with one word. What Bill (Belichick) does in New England with Tom Brady is not a spread option offense. If someone tried to make (Patriots QB) Tommy (Brady) run the zone read, I think he'd get fired to be honest with you. You need him to sit back in the pocket and throw the ball because he's one of the all-time greatest quarterbacks ever. There are a lot of different facets. For us, it's about what tools do we have in our toolbox and what tools can we use based on the players that we have. I think what Jim Harbaugh has done in San Francisco and Pete Carroll did in Seattle is that they identified the strengths they had in Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, and they played to them. Mike Shanahan did the same thing with RG III, played to his strengths.

"It's no different than what the Colts did with Andrew Luck and what Denver is doing with Peyton Manning and what the Patriots did with Tom Brady. Any great coach identifies what their personnel is and puts them in positions to be successful. You have a wide variety of talent at the quarterback spot, like those guys I have just mentioned. I think every team, when you sit down and really study them, is they are putting them in positions where they can be successful. What they do in one offense is drastically different from what they do in another. I guess it's trying to paint a brush and say what they're doing is the same and it's not. With some teams, it's a run scheme and with some teams, it's a throw scheme. For us and how we'll approach it here, we'll put our players in the best position to score points."

On what Kelly will look for from his coaching staff: "For me, (my goal is) to put the best staff possible together with the same vision that I have. I believe that the value of that is huge, and we all have to understand what our vision is, and how we want this football team to look like, and then coach like that every single day. You have to rely on people that have been there before, and we understand that. Is there one particular person? No, it's a collaborative group. We're in the middle of the process of putting that together right now, and what in my opinion, and what has to be my opinion, the best staff that I have to have to be successful."

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