And The Rains Came
Chip Kelly is the captain of the ship now. He is the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles football team, yes. But he’s also the captain of the crew on a journey to success. A journey which we all want to be a part of, and to have everyone on the team accompany us. But like a tale from long ago, despite the warnings and admonishments, not everyone will willingly take their place for the journey. There will not be room for everyone on Chip’s Ark.
We have had over twelve months to examine, test, inquire, poke, prod, and second guess the efforts of Chip Kelly. We chortled when he declared a quarterback competition between Nick Foles and Michael Vick – “He HAS to declare one of them the starter now!” cried the voices of conventional football wisdom. And the fans listened, and Chip ignored. By the end of the season, with Nick Foles tying NFL records and placing numbers that clearly marks him as the starting quarterback, Chip Kelly never paused to say “I told you so.”.
We gasped in horror when the Philadelphia Eagles learned that wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn had both suffered season ending injuries long before the season ever took place. And before we could comprehend the impact, we learned that Riley Cooper was filmed inebriated and caught at a very dark place with stupid judgement on film. Before the season started, Chip Kelly’s offense was down to wide receiver DeSean Jackson, running back LeSean McCoy, and a hope for someone to step up, and we began to disbelieve. But Chip Kelly did not panic, and managed the crisis in such a way that the team became stronger for it. By the end of the season, we had an offense that was second in the NFL, with career years out of both Jackson and McCoy.
We threw up our hands in despair when the Birds were literally picked apart by the surgical precision of Denver Bronco’s quarterback Peyton Manning in mile-high stadium, declaring our defense to be even worse than the version that literally laid down in 2012. But Chip Kelly stood behind them and did not panic. He reassured fans that the tape was improving each week, by the time the season ended, the defense was one of the more stalwart defenses to score against in the NFL.
Each challenge was a cloud burst, a sign that Chip had a route to navigate dangerous waters to get us to high ground. Each occasion was a sign that everyone on the team would need to pull together, to willingly do what is right for the team, to sacrifice.
Unfortunately, not all players seemed to understand that message.