Sunday, December 21, 2014

Casey Matthews plugs Chip Kelly

Having played two seasons under Chip Kelly at Oregon and his next two seasons in Philadelphia, Casey Matthews has a unique perspective on whether his former coach would make a good fit with the Eagles.

Casey Matthews plugs Chip Kelly

Oregon head coach Chip Kelly calls to his team during an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Oregon head coach Chip Kelly calls to his team during an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) ASSOCIATED PRESS

Having played two seasons under Chip Kelly at Oregon and his next two seasons in Philadelphia, Casey Matthews has a unique perspective on whether his former coach would make a good fit with the Eagles.

"I think the fans here would love him," Matthews said Thursday. "They would love his attitude, his go-get-it mentality."

Matthews was neither advocating for the Eagles to fire Andy Reid nor was he suggesting that Reid would be gone sometime soon. But when he was asked about Kelly – considered the most likely college coach to make the jump to the NFL -- and whether he would mesh with the Philly sports world, Matthews gave the affirmative.

"The way he carries himself, the way his mindset is, I think they'll really like him here," the Eagles linebacker said. "He would crack jokes. When he would talk to reporters at halftime he would give the most sarcastic answers."

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Matthews then gave a few examples of how Kelly would respond to general questions:

Interviewer: "Why do you think it's not working?"

Kelly: "Because they stopped it."

Interviewer: "What do you think you did wrong?"

Kelly: "I don't know. I got to go in a check it out."

Kelly, 49, was offered the Buccaneers job in January, but he turned it down. Many believe he won't spurn offers this time around. He's expected to have quite a few. The Eagles are likely to be one of his pursuers.

There are doubts about his readiness, however. Kelly has never coached in the NFL. He first made his name on the national level as the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire from 1999-2006. Oregon stole him away in 2007 and had him run the Oregon offense for two seasons.

Matthews, who was a freshman when Kelly arrived, said he didn't know what to make of the new offensive coordinator initially.

"I try not to worry about the offense, but he set offensive records at New Hampshire," Matthews said. "You just didn't know how it was going to work out at the D-I level. But it was crazy how fast that offense took off. You see teams around the NCAA try to pick it up. Even [Jon] Gruden came and met with him to learn it back when I was there."

Kelly's spread offense set a number of PAC-10 records when he was coordinator. He was promoted to head coach in 2009. The Ducks have gone 45-7 in his four seasons in charge. Kelly's scheme requires lots of speed on the edges, and no college team runs the no-huddle as fast.

Bill Belichick had Kelly up to Foxboro during the summer and now the Patriots run a similar-type no-huddle.

"You got to have the right personnel," Matthews said. "I think it could work [in the NFL]. I don't see why it couldn't. It's pretty tough to stop. Even when you have it down teams will start getting tired quick. They're not used to that pace."

Matthews said that Kelly was a perfectionist when it came to his practices.

"They're so unbelievably fast," Matthews said. "Say, if it was a defensive period, he'd have two offenses lined up. When they'd do one play, they'd run off and the other team would come on. It was just rapid fire. His mindset was 100 plays in 100 minutes. You didn't ever have to condition."

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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