College coaches don’t always succeed at the NFL level. For college coaches with no prior connection to the NFL, the challenge can be even steeper.
After years of being the king of a college town, with a largely toothless media and full control over the football program and no one in the institution with the power to push him around, it’s not easy to walk into a locker room full of men, some of whom are making more money than the coach.
Chip Kelly is making the transition, despite having no prior NFL connection. Apart from adjusting his approach to offense to fit the skills of his players (a smart move) and loosening up the blind insistence on a pedal-to-the-metal approach at all times, Kelly has found a way to connect with his players at the professional level.
As explained by Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kelly has found a way to reach common ground with running back LeSean McCoy. On Sunday at Tampa, Kelly and McCoy engaged in a brief yelling match regarding whether McCoy should have hit the hole on a running play. McCoy said there was no hole; Kelly insisted otherwise.
Per McLane, Kelly later realized McCoy was right — and Kelly apologized to McCoy in the presence of the team.
“He’s gives me a different approach than other coaches because he wants me to be great,” McCoy added. “There’s times he’ll ask me, ‘How great do you want to be?’ . . . .
“We talk all the time. It’s never a negative thing,” McCoy said. “We never have a problem with each other. I love Coach Kelly, and I’m so happy he’s here.”
As the Eagles start winning more games, others will be feeling the same way. And if Kelly can beat the Cowboys on Sunday, ending an eight-game home losing streak, folks in Philly will be downright ecstatic.