Eagles coach Chip Kelly wants his team to practice the same way they play, which will mean a pace that most NFL teams aren’t used to keeping during their workouts.
Kelly doesn’t want that to become a problem in his first season in the NFL, so he brought five assistants with him from Oregon. Kelly explained that defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro, assistant defensive line coach Erik Chinander, assistant special teams coach Matt Harper, assistant defensive backs coach Todd Lyght and assistant offensive line coach Greg Austin are all in Philadelphia in part because they’ll be able to act as interpreters for other coaches and players unfamiliar with what Kelly is looking for.
“I knew I was going to hire coordinators that were NFL guys that haven’t had the opportunity to work with me before. I have a tendency to talk really fast and I want things to be efficient,” Kelly said, via Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com. “But I also know that I may forget to say something, and (offensive coordinator) Pat Shurmur can go to Greg Austin and say, ‘What did he mean by that?’ Or the same thing with (special teams coach) Dave Fipp and Matt Harper for those young guys. Now I can put together guys with NFL experience coming here, and those guys can say, ‘This is what coach means, this is how we operate.'”
There isn’t a very long list of successful NFL coaches without prior coaching or playing experience in the NFL. Kelly’s approach to bucking that trend makes as much sense as any we can think of when it comes to tackling the transition.