The Philadelphia Eagles are having a minicamp this week. They get to have an extra one because they have a new head coach. And while this is the first time Chip Kelly will get to work with his new players on the field, those players have been hearing an awful lot about how up-tempo and fast everything's going to be in the Kelly program. Per Zach Berman:
Even Kelly has conceded that game film provides only so much information. So for every player - those who excelled under Andy Reid, those who struggled, and those who are new to Philadelphia - their true first impression will be made this week.
"First impressions are always big," safety Nate Allen said. "But at the same time, they realize we're putting in a whole new system. There's going to be mistakes. It's going to be going 100 miles per hour."
"Andy Reid always wanted everything to be quick, but this is going to take it to a whole new level," safety Kurt Coleman said. "I noticed that's the way we've been training with our strength staff. We've been doing a lot of running - a lot of running."
Well, that's Kelly's reputation, right? Everything he did at the University of Oregon was based on speed, speed, speed. He recruited super-fast players, ran as many offensive plays as possible in the time allotted and looked for fast players on defense as well. If you're going to run a program like that, you need to make sure your players are conditioned for it. So if the goal is to run their legs off in April so they'll be in shape to go faster than everyone else in September, well, then the Eagles' players had better get ready to stretch out those hamstring this week.
In all seriousness, this is an exciting time for the Eagles, Kelly and the fans of the team. Much of the anticipation of 2013 will still have to be rooted in speculation until we see the team on the field in the regular season, so close does Kelly like to play things to the vest. But the fact that the players and coaches are on the field together this week means that the team (and to a certain extent the rest of us) can start to find some clues about how things are going to look in Philadelphia with Kelly as the coach.
Kelly appears to be trying to orchestrate a significant culture change and installation of a lot of new ideas. He appears to see himself at the beginning of a long-range project. Those kinds of plans have the potential to frustrate fans in the short term. But even if the Eagles can't contend in 2013, anything that shows a sign of a bright, exciting future to come will be appreciated by a fan base that had grown weary of the previous regime's way of doing things.