Innovative Eagles coach Chip Kelly once turned down Giants
PHOENIX -- There's a new offense in the NFC East. It could have been the Giants'.
"He should have been coaching for me!" Tom Coughlin huffed playfully while pointing to the adjacent table at the NFC coaches breakfast at the league meetings Wednesday. "We offered him a job at one time."
Yes, new Eagles coach Chip Kelly -- the mad scientist of offense whose hurry-up system ran college defenses ragged at Oregon and who is expected to bring many elements of that dynamic, frantic philosophy to the NFL -- had an opportunity to work with the Giants.
Before you start picturing him as Igor to Coughlin's Dr. Frankenstein, with Eli Manning as the monster they both experimented on, realize that had Kelly taken the offensive quality control position that was offered to him in 2006, he likely would not have gone on to become the innovator he is.
"I'm sure that part of the reason that he remained at New Hampshire then and made the move out to Oregon was because he wanted to continue his thoughts," Coughlin said. "We weren't going [to change]. We had our quarterback."
Still, had Kelly jumped at the opportunity then he might not now be inflicting his type of anxiety on the Giants, the rest of the division, and the rest of the league. No one really knows what a Chip Kelly offense will look like on Sundays.
"We're going to prepare for what the young coach has done so very, very well," Coughlin said. "You'll have preseason games and you'll have to do some speculating, I'm sure."
Coughlin even turned to members of the media to do some snooping for him, perhaps the last resort for him. "I'll be interested after you guys go talk to them to see where they're at, see how fast they think they can go," he said. "Come on back and I'm going to read your stuff. Give me a scouting report."
Kelly, who was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire at the time of his Giants interview, said he turned down the job because he wanted to be a position coach. But he thought he would have worked well under Coughlin. "I was very tempted to go because I have the utmost respect for Coach," Kelly said. "Philosophically we were very similar in terms of being disciplined, not making mistakes, taking advantage of what the defense gives you . . . I felt at that time I just wanted to grow as a coach, coaching my own guys."
Now his own guys will be facing Coughlin's guys at least twice a year. And the Giants will have to face the Redskins and their RG3-molded system too. The face of offense in the NFC East is definitely changing, but Coughlin believes the Giants' defense -- and defenses around the league -- will be ready.
"Some of these defensive coaches, now, they're not sitting around looking out the window having coffee," Coughlin said. "They're into it."