Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Copy Seattle? Eagles should stay course
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA -- It is as inevitable as the sun rising. In the days after the Super Bowl, there are thousands of words written about how the other 31 teams in the NFL can emulate the success of the new champions.
Chip Kelly has shown that his way can work in Philadelphia.
Answer: They shouldn't. The Eagles should do exactly what they're doing: Let Chip Kelly build his team his way.
There is no sure-fire formula for winning a championship. There is no one right way to do it. For proof, look no further than the teams that have won the Super Bowl in recent years.
Surely, the Green Bay Packers had the Green Bay Packers' secret formula after winning the Super Bowl three years ago. The Giants had it all figured out two years ago and, last year, the Baltimore Ravens were the model for everyone else.
None of these teams returned to the Super Bowl, of course. More to the point, the Packers didn't win by suddenly emulating the 2009 New Orleans Saints, the Giants didn't copy the Packers, the Ravens didn't copy the Giants and Pete Carroll most certainly didn't copy John Harbaugh's Ravens.
If there is a lesson to be learned from the Seahawks' rout of the Broncos, it is to follow your own blueprint.
Much has been made of Seattle's success finding talent, especially on defense, in the later rounds of the draft. And yes, that certainly can't hurt. But it's not as if Eagles general manager Howie Roseman hasn't thought of doing that. If the Eagles are in the Super Bowl in a year or two or three, maybe one of the big stories will be how they found Pro Bowl safety Earl Wolff in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. Who knows?
One of the underrated keys to success in the draft is coaching. It may be that all of those late-round Seattle picks would have become stars anywhere they wound up. But it is certain they have benefited greatly from a sound scheme, continuity and coaches who maximize their strengths and cover up their weaknesses.
That is one of Kelly's key attributes. He coaches the players he has, not the players he wishes he had. And he demands that from his staff. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis demonstrated that he can build a sound foundation and then adjust his scheme as his players learned it and, just as important, as he learned his players.
The progress made in less than a calendar year was promising. When you add players who better fit what Kelly and Davis want to do, that progress should accelerate each year. That is how you get from 4-12 to the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks certainly look like a team that will be a factor for the next few years. They are young, they have a quarterback that is just coming into his own and their defense is capable of taking over games.
Most of that applied to the Packers three years ago and the Ravens last year. They were the teams with the secret formula for winning. And you know what? The Seattle Seahawks didn't try to copy their formulas. They wrote their own, and that's what the Eagles are trying to do.