What are the Philadelphia Eagles trying to do?
Their coach end runs the entire administration to gain the final say on personnel.
Chip Kelly trades or releases the sort of players other coaches clamor after. And he does it more often then common sense says is sensible.
Didn't someone explain to him that he's a coach. He's the field guy, not the football business mind. No one trades 'skill position' guys for lug nuts.
He was hired to coach the team. Now he coaches the coaches and back office and probably the owner.
Not everyone in the organization agrees with him. The trail leaving town is full of people who didn't.
The old saw about 'my way or the highway' gets a workout in Philly. For some the highway looks appealing.
Imagine grown men monitored like reform school lock-ins. Diet, hydration, sleep. He's not there to make better citizens to keep your garage safe. He's making football players, forming them from a new mold.
Veterans who've made their mark in the league go about their business the way they always have. Their habits and training have made them All-Pro. Why should they change for some cocky college coach?
That's just the sort of attitude that sends players down the road.
Coach Kelly wants his guys to understand and accept what he's doing for them.
Want to feel better in the late season? Want to succeed beyond your personal goals? Most important, want to win a Super Bowl?
Guys that answer yes to these questions need Chip's way. Marginal players looking for a roster spot on the NFL gravy train need to see him as the guy who'll add more high earning years to their work life.
Follow Chip Kelly's plan and you might even leave the league without a limp, a knee replacement in the near future, and the shortened lifespan NFL players now expect.
The game takes a toll on the best of the best. After their playing days age kicks in with a more exacting toll. Staying healthy early creates a better life later.
Unless we're under doctor's orders do we focus on hydration? Calories? Rest? I don't think so, and the state of health in America backs it up. Most of us trust our belt holes to explain weight gains and losses.
If you were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, or millions of dollars like the big stars, would it be too much to ask that you be prepared to play up to your potential? The money league says yes, but guys are so good they can coast along without the intrusion Kelly makes with the Eagles.
In a league of big strong men how does one man make them conform to his ideas?
Apparently they don't all conform. That's another ticket out of town. Instead of changing his message and turning into the sort of coach littering the NFL recycle bins, Kelly takes another angle.
He seeks and signs guys he coached in college at the University of Oregon.
"Former Ducks now with the Eagles are: Brandon Bair, Kenjon Barner, Taylor Hart, Josh Huff, Josh Kaddu, Wade Keliikipi, Jeff Maehl, Casey Matthews (on the roster before Kelly came in) and Will Murphy."
Add the strange trade-in-the-making of Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso for LeSean McCoy, a top running back.
Kiko is a Kelly guy. He was suspended twice at Oregon. The last one was an indefinite suspension, the kind that sounds like a career killer. But Kiko did his time and came back to earn the Defensive MVP of the Rose Bowl win against the Wisconsin Badgers led by Russell Wilson, now with the Seattle Seahawks.
Kelly pulls strings on players to make them better. Instead of resentment, he wants guys like Kiko who know how lucky they are to be there. Prima donnas with a bad attitude shuffle off to Buffalo.
Before tagging McCoy so harshly, do the numbers. He's owed millions, Alonso not so much on his rookie deal. On top of that, Kelly has seen what Alonso does to opponents.
If big plans come to fruition the Eagles land Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and Kelly won't have to watch his former players rack each other.
He will have guys who play for the name on the front of their jerseys, not the name on the back.
David Gillaspie is an active researcher, skills he honed during twenty years with the Oregon Historical Society. His education wavered between English major/Fiction writer at the University of Oregon where he met Ken Kesey, to a BS in History from Portland State with news writing. Married, with two millennial sons, he connects sports and fitness to the realities of baby boomer life, with no mention ever of skydiving or base-jumping. David covers a wide variety of fascinating topics on his boomer-centric blog, Boomer PDX. Check it out -- you'll be glad you did.