Every now and then, Chip Kelly does or says something that underscores how he looks at football and the world, always willing to take a fresh look at something others take for granted.
This came up in Kelly's Monday news conference, before the first Lincoln Financial Field practice of training camp, when Kelly was asked about some comments he made over the weekend to Sports Illustrated's Peter King. In King's Monday Morning Quarterback feature, Kelly said his biggest surprise, a year and a half into the job, is "the hype."
He went on to talk about the draft, and how strange it is to him that NFL novices are touted as "saviors," when very few can live up to that billing, and most certainly won't play starring roles as rookies. It was tempting to read into Kelly's words a rationale for the fact that the Eagles took an unpolished edge rusher, Marcus Smith, in the first round and have made it clear Smith is something of a project. In fact, Kelly even talked about people's perceptions of Smith and of second-round wideout Jordan Matthews.
But Kelly made it clear Monday that he had a wider focus.
"He asked me what surprised me -- the hype that surrounds the draft in general. The fact that people would watch the combine. There's times at the combine when I fall asleep..You guys are in the newspaper business. If somebody is a rookie coming into the newspaper thing, I don't think you all just start applauding and say, 'Oh my God, our paper's saved, because we just signed a kid out of Northwestern that has really good prose.'
"It seems that (the draft) is the biggest thing in the world. If a guy isn't an All-Pro his first year, but he was drafted in the first five picks, then obviously he's a bust, and I don't think that's the case."
Speaking of hype, Kelly also addressed the scuffle between LeSean McCoy and Trent Cole Sunday that enlivened camp for bored reporters.
"Their emotions got the better part of them. Those things happen. It's no different than, sometimes little kids don't get along very well and throw Tonka trucks at each other ... The fact that it made SportsCenter must have meant it was a real slow sports day, I can tell you that," Kelly said. "The fact that two kids push each other in practice, not a real big deal."