From the instant Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly made the jump from Oregon to Philadelphia, and from college football to the NFL, a watchful eye scrutinized his every move both on and off the field.
But it’s hard to argue with an offensive philosophy that was second in the entire league, (the Broncos were first), in total offense and yards per play and that led the league in rushing by more than 250 yards.
Most of all, it’s hard not to be validated by a 6-win increase in just one season and a division title.
“The first time I met them I knew it was a special group,” Kelly told reporters following the Eagles’ 24-22 playoff clinching win over the Cowboys Sunday. “I can’t tell you how much they made this transition for me from college to the pros, it was those guys.”
After an abysmal 3-5 start, the Eagles found rhythm with Kelly’s offense showcased by outstanding seasons from LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Nick Foles, each posting career best numbers by a convincing margin.
McCoy led the league in rushing and total yards, Jackson was ninth in the league in receiving and Foles posted the best touchdown to interception ratio in NFL history, 27 touchdowns to just two interceptions.
“Everything we asked them to do as a staff from the first day we came in as a staff on April 1st,” Kelly said of the Eagles, who have won seven of their last eight games, “they bought in and it’s an awesome feeling to have worked as hard as they worked. And to see it pay off, we are 10-6 and division champs.”
There is little time for celebration and reflection however, as the Eagles have a short week with the Saints looking Saturday night. But there is no doubt that Kelly has proven himself an NFL head coach. Now it’s up to the squad to determine just how good they and their leader can be.