March 08, 2013

THE 12: #4 SHOOT STRAIGHT

 

AFTER Jim Washburn was fired last year we learned that he had openly referred to Juan Castillo as “Jaunita”. As Castillo was the Defensive Coordinator and Washburn was a position coach, this was technically a guy openly mocking his supervisor. I don’t know about how your job works, but in most cases that’s a write-up, a suspension, and even a firing.

When nothing was done about it, or worse when the subordinate was fired weeks after the supervisor over something not related to that matter, it said something loud and clear to anyone who saw or heard about it. It said that there is no leader, or chain of accountability.

Now it’s easy to say “Yeah um... Well…that was under Reid! We got us a new coach now.” While that’s true, there’s already been a pattern of dysfunctional communication, and murky leadership since we got our new coach in Chip Kelly.

First he’s not interested, then he comes back and signs up. He keeps secret his choice for Offensive Coordinator even though it’s clear that it’s Pat Shurmur, because Shurmur is the guy representing the Eagles while scouting players. There’s the holding out past the Super Bowl for a new DC, only to sign a guy who’d been available since December. There’s the 5 QB’s in a 3 way race for starter. The FA bust who’s been given an ultimatum, who so far hasn’t blinked, but hasn’t been cut.

It’s gotten so that by comparison the words of last year’s Eagles were easier for us to believe than this year’s model. And that’s a problem.

****************************************************************************

THE MEAT:

Poor communication can ruin almost anything. So can nebulous leadership. Coupled together there is no way to surmount those obstacles. Right now this team needs a direction. They need a rally point. Like an emotional leader in a huddle, having a central idea, a shared big picture, can act as something that everybody can go back to when the **** hits the fan. You can have a Brian Dawkins or Ray Lewis to preach to the troops, but those guys need something to preach. They need a central message. They also need a leadership structure behind them that gives weight to what they say.

 

THE MOVE:

 Define the boundaries. Players won’t respect a staff that isn’t on the same page. If Michael Vick comes to the sideline with his shoulders slumped, and DC Billy Davis says to him “Fix your body language!” Vick needs to know that snapping at Davis will get him into hot water with Shurmur AND Kelly. Because a coach is a coach. Period. If the rookies see that even the starting QB is accountable, they will know they are accountable, and it will become culture here.

On the other hand coaches need to know that childish infighting is a way to find themselves watching the game from home, unless they get a job with another team. If the people at the top don’t foster the team concept, it can’t be handed down to the players.

If Kelly is clear and straight with his team, and if he punishes and rewards accordingly, the rest will take care of itself. It’s been true of Pop Warner, High School, College, Semi-pro, and we’ve even seen it work in the NFL.

Just shoot straight.

 

15 Comments:
  • I agree about shooting straight and holding everyone accountable but to say that they already aren't doing it because of the coaching moves is a stretch. Not announcing his coaching staff was because he wanted to announce everyone all at once. I've said it time and time again, the eagles were hoping to get better coordinators especially on the defensive side but that didn't pan out because there was no interest. As for Kelly being out and then in none of us have a clear source as to what was happening there unless you're sleeping with Jeffrey Lurie. As far as we know he was Lurie's guy from the start and it was the media saying he was out. Or maybe Laurie wanted to interview X number of candidates before making and offer. Who knows. As for the QB situation and Nnamdi, the more QBs he brings in to compete only heightens the message that EVERYONE has to earn a spot on this team. Nnamdi is all but out of here they could be hopelessly shopping him for all we know. GIVE THE GUY A CHANCE!!! FA hasn't even hit yet, the draft isn't complete, the guy hasn't even coached a regular season game. I've agreed all along that some of the moves are head scratches but I've also been behind giving Kelly at least two season to put his mark on this team. It's far to early to say Kelly isn't setting the tone because there is no tone to set as long as all the players are still on vacation!
  • I believe Kelly is shooting straight, but he's just not telling us his plan. People are frustrated, because they assume they know what he's doing. The players don't know what's happening just yet. Chip Kelly has given small insights on some of his plans. In reality it's more than what Andy Reid has given up to anyone ever. The truth is all of that crap did happen on Reid's watch and I don't see any correlation with those situations and now. Andy Reid and all of his years of talking and actually saying nothing or his blatant lies has made people believe every coach is that way. I'm not going to assume Reid's failures will be Chip Kelly's as well, because Kelly didn't assemble a coaching staff to my liking or he didn't tell me who they were when I thought he should. Reid's last staff showed that sometimes known commodity coaches working together can be a terrible idea.
  • Agreed! plus we are only fed what we hear through rumors, reports and sportscenter. I'm sure a lot is misinformation or just hype. That along with the fact that NOTHING is really going on right now is driving eagles fans nuts. this happens the same time every season with us. We are on of the most critical fan bases in sports. I like everyone else want to see the eagles win the big one but i'm not going to put the pressure of what Andy promised us on Kelly in his first year. What I expect form kelly is to make smart roster decisions this year, to continue to look for a signal caller for the future and by the end of his second season be a team that people are talking about as a superbowl contender. Kinda like what Pete Carroll has done in Seattle. I know I know they made the playoffs his first year but the did so with a 7-9 record (never been done before) and nothing to really boast about just means they played in a terrible division that year. After two season though Carroll was able to make his mark on the team, found a QB and the team is not a legit contender in a competitive division. The eagles can do the same!
  • Exactly. There is no need to make a big deal out of this and assume Kelly can't communicate with his players. He's not legally allowed to even give them play books! None of them know what's happening , because they aren't allowed to know and not because Kelly wants to keep them in the dark. It's not like Kelly was suddenly dropped on Earth, speaks another language, and just started coaching. A guy who in most cases has only four years to work with a kid with all kinds of crazy priorities (school, girls, parties, fraternities, etc) I'm sure will be an effective communicator to his players. Especially when he gets HIS PLAYERS.
  • You guys don't listen at all. Re-read what I wrote. It's not about communicating with the FANS, it's about communicating and getting on the same page with his ROSTER.

    When Vick's status as an Eagle was still up in the air, didn't DeSean Jackson (through the media no less) put in his two cents about who he thought should be the QB?

    Even AFTER Kelly brought in Dennis Dixon and OPENLY SAID that there would be a competition for starting QB, didn't LeSean McCoy (through the media no less) say who HE thought the starter should be?

    The team's two most dangerous offensive weapons have already made a point of telling the world how THEY think it should be. Their minds are made up! No playerspeak. No gamesmanship. They said what was on their minds like men. Still on vacation (as bnugent says), and yet they take the time to stake a claim which counters what the fans wanted AND what the coach said.

    We're all grown men here and we know how the world works. If your children did that, everyone would gossip that you don't have your house in order. If your employees did that, folks would say "the inmates are running the asylum".

    Kelly is not immune to reality. He still is working with human beings, who will seek to exert as much control over their situation as they can. His whole "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" act won't fly at this level.

    Vince Lombardi. Bill Belichick. Bill Parcells. Jimmy Johnson. Joe Gibbs. Don Shula. Mike Ditka. Tom Coughlin. Mike Holmgren. Bill Walsh.

    See a pattern?

    I'm cool with winning even if we don't bring home a Lombardi. The rest of you aren't. The great and powerful Oz never won a Super Bowl. You need a Head Coach for that.
  • But Kelly hasn't had a chance to even work with those guys. It's been no secret that Vick, Jackson, and McCoy have been bros over the past few seasons and so when the media asks them who they think or want the stating QB to be of course they are gonna say Vick. Kelly is going to have to take control of his team no doubt but that's hard to do from a distance with no history with any of these guys. Right now Jackson and McCoy are at home doing their own offseason work out and who do you think they are calling/texting more Chip Kelly or Mike Vick?
  • It's hilarious! You're making my point EXACTLY but you're acting like you disagree. You said "Kelly is going to have to take control of his team no doubt but that's hard to do from a distance".

    It is hard. Especially with no allowed contact yet. The best way for him to do this would be to declare not his STRATEGY, but his philosophy and where he wants his team to go could be broadcast quite easily.

    That would set the tone for when he CAN assemble his team. They would know what they were going to hear, what to expect, and could set right to work. They could come in with intelligent questions from Day 1 and the ball would get rolling faster.

    Communication. Leadership.
  • no what i'm saying is what is he supposed to do without being able to talk to his guys yet? hold a press conference where he says what his philosophy is. what is he going to say that any other coach in the nfl wouldn't say. Players with heart, guys who want to win, determination, smart play blah blah blah. Just because he hasn't publicly broadcast this doesn't mean that no one has gotten the message to at least a few key players... say mike vick when they redid his deal. My point was there is nothing right now that he can do that's going to have any real impact. all we can do is wait till otas and training camp come around.
  • YES!!! That's it exactly! Get the word to a few KEY players and let the information disseminate throughout the team. With that he could signal who he saw as his leaders.

    And by philosophy no I don't mean coachspeak. We're up to our eyes in coachspeak! No more coachspeak! At least for a while.

    By broadcasting his philosophy I simply mean when doing his normal media rounds it wouldn't take a lot of effort to say things like:

    "I'm not wasting ANY time on players who report out of shape" (Since his system is fast paced and requires physical endurance)

    "I'm new, so everybody has everything to prove from where I sit" (No loyalty to the old regimes sacred cows)

    "People lose their spot to injury all the time in this league. I need guys I can rely on to be in the line-up" (Hey Maclin!)

    It's no extra effort really, but it sends the message that a new day has dawned, and what attitude you're to show up with on Day One.
  • I think a lot of that is probably happening behind the scenes. Redoing vick's contract was a huge statement that players are going to have to earn their contracts/spots. I think everyone knows that with a new coach they are basically staring over no one has immunity. I think going to the media and stating these things would undermine the development of relationships between kelly and the players. He's got the back channels to get whatever message he wants to the the players out there.
  • As long as he's IS doing it, it doesn't matter if WE see it or not. I just hope he sends the message early as opposed to trying to wait until OTA's. By then if guys are out of shape or show up thinking they're going to steer the rookie, it's already too late.
  • this might be the most important thing to do in the offseason. establish the dominant figure in the organization. if vick comes to the sideline mouthing off or desean is throwing a hissy fit and a coach any coach tries to straighten them out they need to know to listen cause what the coaches say goes. not roseman or lurie. the coaches, all of them. when ur a kid n u mouth off u gotta run more laps. idk what they can do to multi million dollar grown men, but fines i think would work. all lurie needs to do is come down n say u mouthed off to a coach ur fined 10,000. do it again it doubles. after the first time people will learn to respect the coach.
  • Exactly.

    I think if they set a tone for accountability FROM THE DOOR, set expectations FROM THE DOOR, set the tone and philosophy FROM THE DOOR, everyone can't help but be on the same page.
  • Benching works too. If a guy is mouthing off and dogging it like Nnamdi did last year they should just bench him.
  • So much for shooting straight.
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