Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and quarterback Nick Foles made quite the tandem in 2014. They orchestrated one of the most innovative and highest-scoring offenses in the league. Despite their inexperience in their jobs, they helped the team pull an improbable 180 degree turnaround last year.
The two have created quite the coach-quarterback tandem. This is a common denominator in the NFL’s success formula. The most prominent of these tandems would be none other than New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.
There are a number of similarities between these two tandems. Kelly is a coach with an unorthodox coaching style, who is very passive when talking to the press, much like Belichick. In comparison to Brady, Foles entered the league as a tall, raw and unathletic system quarterback who was drafted in the later rounds.
Their stories may paint different pictures, but there is a strong connection between the two. Brady and Foles don’t have the best arm strength or mobility, but are dead accurate passers who get rid of the ball quickly. Kelly and Belichick both have unique coaching methods. Belichick commands his troops with a stern and stoic demeanor, while Kelly rewrites the definition of a no-huddle offense by reeling off plays at an average time of 15 seconds or less.
The only stark difference between the duos are the three Lombardi trophies on Brady and Belichick’s resumes. Foles and Kelly on the other hand, have yet to secure their first playoff win. However, their timeline is only twelve games old, which is microscopic when compared to Brady and Belichick’s tenure together.
Nonetheless, Kelly and Foles are just getting started, and have cleared some of the fog that clouded the future of the Eagles after their abysmal 4-12 2012 season.
Kelly made a forceful impact in his first year as an NFL coach and he revitalized the way we look at offensive football. After just one year, he asserted himself as the offensive mad scientist of the NFL. Despite his success in 2013, Kelly doesn’t even believe that there was anything to celebrate about. When asked about his thoughts on last season, Kelly said that it was “just ok.”
This is the right mindset as an NFL head coach. Your job is always on death row when you coach a professional football team. When he first arrived as head coach last year, he opened up nearly every position to a training camp battle. He branded a powerful message to his roster that no one will be grandfathered into a starting role. This is a prime example of why Kelly focuses on the present. This is what distinguishes the alphas from the betas in the coaching profession.
It sounds like I am talking about Belichick’s approach, doesn’t it? Kelly is almost completely mirroring his coaching methods.
Additionally, Kelly laid out the red carpet for one of the league’s newest stars. Despite his immobile 6-foot-6, 240-pound frame, Foles flourished in Kelly’s zone-read offense, and ended a season that rewrote multiple record books. In only his third start of the season, he began a series of brushes with football immortality by tying the NFL record for touchdown passes in a game with seven. To add to his accolades, Foles had the highest passer rating in the entire league.
Cumulatively, he ended the year with the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in league history. The craziest stat here is that this all took place in just ten games. Only Peyton Manning had more touchdown passes over that span. Fans can only wonder what Foles can do in 16 games.
With his first full season on the horizon, Foles can suppress his critics by discarding the “half-year wonder” tag. He may have lost offensive coordinator Bill Lazor to the Miami Dolphins, but he still has the mastermind behind the whole offense on the sidelines with him. The conductor may be gone, but the composer is still in town.
The only question mark here is if Foles’ extraordinary numbers were a byproduct of a quarterback-friendly system. The birds led the league in chunk pass plays in 2013. Individually, Foles led all NFL quarterbacks with 17.4 percent of his passes surpassing 20 yards.
Although Kelly and Foles may not match up with Brady and Belichick’s credentials, they have proved there is some camaraderie between the two, and have laid the grounds for a propitious future.