The first draft pick of the Chip Kelly era in Philadelphia has revealed his views on playing for the team’s recently-former coach.
Tackle Lane Johnson, taken fourth overall in 2013, said that the players were aware of the power struggle between Kelly and former G.M. Howie Roseman, who became executive V.P. of football operations once Kelly secured control of the team.
“[T]hat’s what I think the biggest thing was,” Johnson said Wednesday, via Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com. “The power struggle, the front office, I don’t think they were happy. Chip and Howie weren’t happy together, didn’t deal well. Just a lot of tension up there that didn’t need to happen, because when you throw it up there it does trickle down to the team, and the team knows what’s going on. It’s just a negative energy that doesn’t need to exist.”
Johnson also believed that the intense work ethic instilled by Kelly didn’t need to exist.
“We practice pretty much the same from OTAs until the end of the season,” Johnson said. “There’s not a lot of the guys in the league that do that, continuous. It takes a toll on you, especially me, I expect a lot from myself so I’ve hit it hard since January, go out with [Jason Peters], bust some ass, and by the end of the year I feel like I’m gonna fall apart.”
Johnson also said that Kelly sometimes “came off a little bit standoffish,” and that complaints from players like running back LeSean McCoy “did open up some eyes.”
Johnson ultimately compared Kelly’s situation to the struggles of another former college coach who failed at the next level.
“It’s kind of like Nick Saban when he went to the pros and he tried to do the same stuff he does to college kids to professional athletes,” Johnson said. “It’s the way it is for everybody, a live and learn process for everybody, including Chip.”
It remains to be seen whether Kelly will learn from his experience in Philadelphia, and whether he’ll change his ways the next time around.