Chip Kelly faces transition to NFL game

A new era for the Philadelphia Eagles has begun. Chip Kelly was hired Wednesday to be the 21st coach in team history, ending an exhaustive search to replace Andy Reid. (Jan. 17)

Chip Kelly finally decided to take the plunge, reversing course about staying at the University of Oregon and accepting the job as the Eagles’ head coach. Kelly doesn’t think the adjustment will be all that tough, even though he doesn’t have a single day’s worth of experience in the NFL.

“Football is football,” Kelly told reporters at his introductory news conference on Thursday. “This is football at its highest level, but it’s still a game that’s played 11-on-11. Ultimately, whether it’s high school, college or professional football, it’s a personnel-driven operation.”

But at least one NFL coach who has experience at the college level believes Kelly will experience culture shock in his new role.

“It’s a difficult transition for someone who hasn’t been in the NFL,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who took over in Seattle in 2010 after leaving USC. “Guys who have been in the NFL, either coaching or playing, it helps. Certainly, if you’ve coached in the NFL, the transition doesn’t need to be a big deal. But there is some stuff about it that calls for savvy and understanding of what the league is all about.”

The Eagles clearly aren’t worried about Kelly’s transition, and believe he’ll energize the offense in Philadelphia the way he did at Oregon, where the Ducks were 46-7 and used an up-tempo offense, elements of which are now being used in the NFL.

Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason is excited about the possibilities for Kelly.

“He’s a football lifer, a football junkie,” said Esiason, a weekday host on WFAN and CBS television analyst. “I think he’s going to be great for the league. Everybody always resists change, but look at what teams with modified offenses have done, like the Redskins with RGIII and the 49ers with Colin Kaepernick. I think he’s going to be a breath of fresh air. His biggest challenge is going to be communicating with these players. You have to treat them like men. It’s not like college any more.”

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