As a sports blogger/writer, I love to read all that I can on my beloved Philadelphia teams. Today I came across an article by Tommy Lawlor over at IgglesBlitz.com that really got me steamed. Not steamed at Tommy, of course. I like Tommy’s stuff. He’s an Eagles fan but is objective in his views and opinions and I respect that. What had me steamed is this judgemental comparison of Chip Kelly to Steve Spurrier that Tommy pointed out, written by CBS Sports writer Mike Freeman in his training camp preview for the Eagles.
“For the first time since 1999, Andy Reid will not be coaching the Eagles. Think about that for a moment. This is a landmark year for the organization and it is also potentially a chaotic one. Chip Kelly is the coach now and he promises a more up-tempo style of offense. But many a college coach has promised to transform the NFL with their college-y ideas and many have failed. See: Spurrier, Steve, among others.” – Mike Freeman, CBS Sports
Now just a little research can go a long way. It’s very easy to just point out the facts, if you look for them. It’s apparent that Freeman did not. Chip Kelly has gone on record numerous times stating that he will tailor his offense to his QB, and to the NFL. It’s in print, recorded on both audio and video for all to see and hear. I think Kelly proved that as well in the team’s selection of USC QB Matt Barkley in this years’ draft.
Freeman did manage to get a few things right in that, yes, for the first time since 1999, Andy Reid will not be coaching the Eagles and Chip Kelly is the coach now (just in case you weren’t aware). Also, he has promised to run a more up-tempo style of offense. But the fact that he pigeon-holes Kelly with Spurrier is just all too easy to be considered valid researched journalism. The similarities between Kelly and Spurrier start and end with them both being collegiate coaches with dynamic offenses and an affinity for a visor. Oh, and let’s also go as far as them both being male in gender.
Anyone that tries to compare the two beyond that should go straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200. While you’re at it, throw on a dunce cap and sit in front of the class or put yourself in time out from writing for the next decade. As juvenile as that may sound, it’s highly deserved when you make a half-hearted statement once you hit the publish button. You then become as open to criticism of your writing, just as much as the criticism in your writing. To put that plainly, if you’re going to publish your opinion and criticize in public forum, you’re open to receive criticism of that opinion. I knowingly expect the same as I write this. But as a sports writer/blogger, I don’t want to state fiction as fact or just wing it for the sake of putting out something because my editor is pushing me for deadlines before the holiday weekend.
While we’re on the subject of that column, here is another excerpt to ponder over…
“The quarterback spot. That’s the biggest. There are players on the Eagles who believe that Kelly will do everything in his power to name Barkley the starter.” – Mike Freeman, CBS Sports
Hmm, last time I checked the majority of reps in mini camps were split pretty evenly between Vick and Foles, with them getting the majority of snaps followed then by Barkley. Now I’m personally a big supporter of Barkley, but I’m also a rational individual and I haven’t seen or heard anything that would support Freeman’s statement there. If that were the case, you’d think that Barkley’s reps would’ve been on par with both Vick and Foles. I also find it confusing how he states that the quarterback spot is the biggest factor and then makes a bold statement as to actual players believing that Kelly is hell-bent to name Barkley the starter, but then doesn’t elaborate further on the subject. So, if you’re reading this and you know something that I don’t on this subject, please clue me in. Maybe Kelly would prefer that Barkley emerge as the guy, but I just can’t see it being as much as a conspiracy theory as made it’s made out to be by Freeman without hearing about it.
In closing, as pointed several times, the ol’ ball coach Spurrier was more interested in hitting the greens and in hiring those close to him from his Florida staff when he was brought on by the ‘Skins than watching film and finding ways of adjusting his offense to compete at the NFL level. I think we as Eagles fans can see and agree that Chip Kelly, in no way, shape, or form, has drawn any resemblance here. He hired a diversified staff from the NFL and collegiate ranks, eats/sleeps/breathes football, and has enough common sense to understand that while “football is football,” the rules are very much different in the NFL and will adapt his brand as necessary to best compete at this level. How do we know all of this? We took the time to research it before we hit the publish button.