As the off-season ended with one final flourish last week, the Eagles are now a team in the truest sense, with no real stars except for the architect of this unique culture – coach Chip Kelly. In one season, Kelly has become the Eagles, and they have become him.
Through a full calendar of OTAs and a mini-camp, not one healthy player missed a single practice. This time around, Cary Williams wasn’t shopping for light fixtures; he was working. So were the self-proclaimed best running back in football, LeSean McCoy, and newly respected quarterback Nick Foles.
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And unlike their rivals in the NFC East, Kelly took no shortcuts. He called 50 plays for every 20 in other teams’ camps, according to new safety Malcolm Jenkins. He inserted every new wrinkle, every new formation, during practices run at the same warp speed in which Kelly speaks. If they were a 10-win team while learning Kelly’s ways, how will they do now that they understand him so well?
So many things can derail the optimism of June, but sometimes a fan just has to embrace a moment like this. Kelly cut a Pro Bowler, DeSean Jackson, and all it seems to have done is enhance the coach’s reputation. Think about that. This is not your average NFL coach, and this is most definitely not a time for restraint.
Last week, the ever-engaging Kelly made references to the Oscar-winning movie “A Beautiful Mind” at one point, and at another, he compared his work ethic to the iconic cartoon family the Flintstones. He scoffed at just about every notion except the need for work, work, work. Meanwhile, Eagles fans began the countdown (it’s 32 days) until the opening of training camp.
In fact, recalling the Flintstones, how’s this for a 2014 slogan?
“Yabba Dabba Do.”