Friday, January 18, 2013

Kelly breathes new life into moribund Eagles franchise

It’s a new era in Philadelphia Eagles football.

That much could not be more evident after the Birds rolled out the 21st coach in their history yesterday at the Nova Care Center.

Forget the suit, folks. Chip Kelly, dressed in a polo shirt and sweater vest, was ready to get  to work.

But first he dazzled the collected Philly media.

No grumbling about “injuries.” No gruff “time’s yours.” No lame refrain of "having to do a better job."

The difference was palpable. There was a buzz in the place, replacing the ugly death watch that marked the last two years of the Andy Reid Era.

Suddenly the Eagles have a youthful energy, a guy who looks like a straight shooter, a coach who says it’s not up to him to “put the players in a better position.” Kelly, just hours removed from Oregon, hit all the right notes in his Philly debut. He insisted that the players make the depth chart by the way the perform in practice. How’s that for putting people in position?

Hell, he even acknowledged the quintessential Philly event. Kelly quipped that he knows the second most important Bowl in Philly. That, of course, would be Wing Bowl.

He also knows part of the Wing Bowl lure is the fact that we so often find ourselves on the outside looking in for Super Bowl weekend. He hopes to change that.

There were plenty of other questions yesterday, about how much control he has over the operation and how he plans to share those duties with Howie Roseman, about his much-talked-about hurry-up offensive philosophy and whether it will translate to the NFL game, and of course about who will be his quarterback and if that person is currently on the Eagles’ roster.

All of that will be answered in time.

Yesterday, it was like a breath of fresh air had arrived at the Nova Care Center and blown away all the old, stale images that have dogged this franchise now for a couple of years.

This is now Chip Kelly’s team. We’ll see if he can make it Chip Kelly’s town.

Winning a champion-Chip would help.

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